Welcome back to my weekly column. The news doldrums of summer are getting left behind (see item 1), So hang on to your hat, it's going to be quite a ride, Rhode Island. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me throughout the week on Twitter. Let's head in.
State Republican chairman Mark Smiley issued a news release Monday, taking to task Rhode Island's Democratic legislative leaders for the moribund condition of the local economy. Smiley's message -- if we can borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential run -- is: It's (still) the economy, stupid.
Pablo Rodriguez joins the Roundtable this week as we discuss ongoing mediation over Rhode Island's pension lawsuit; the start next week of a 10-cent toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge; Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin's decision to become a Republican; and the US Justice Department stepping away from mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.
A conservative group is praising Rhode Island for overhauling its state pension plan in 2011. The changes made to the plan remain the subject of a lawsuit in Superior Court.
In a new report, the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, praises Rhode Island for making significant changes to reduce its long-term pension obligations. The Virginia-based group calls the changes a contrast from states that hold hearings and organize study groups without taking action.
Four groups are calling on state Treasurer Gina Raimondo to release more information about hedge fund investments in Rhode Island’s pension plan.
The groups say they’re troubled by how Raimondo’s office, in a recent response to the Providence Journal, heavily redacted some details about the hedge fund investments. The four organizations are Common Cause of Rhode Island, the RI Press Association, and the state chapters of the ACLU and the League of Women Voters.