Gordon Fox

Ian Donnis / RIPR

UPDATE: 3:46 pm Sunday. Factions led by Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello and Michael Marcello are meeting today in an attempt to win enough votes for the speakership. Mattiello is holding a 5 pm caucus at the Providence Marriott on Orms Street. A vote to choose a successor to Gordon Fox could happen as soon as Tuesday. I'll have more details later. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

--------

This just in: Gordon Fox has resigned as RI House Speaker. Here's why in a post that predicted this and was posted several hours before the Fox announcement:

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Island is attracting national attention for all the wrong reasons. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts about the federal raid on Speaker Gordon Fox’s office.

The specter of corruption in high political office haunts Rhode Island. As it has seemingly forever. For a state still in the grip of the recession, there are few things worse than the scene at the Statehouse Friday.

RIPR FILE

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, `it ain’t over till its over.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why that’s the case with the latest twist in Rhode Island’s public employee pension settlement.

In many a long legal  battle, a settlement reached out of court marks the end of a contentious lawsuit. The opposing parties shake hands and sometimes share an odd drop. Then they put the dispute behind them.

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, `it ain’t over till its over.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why that’s the case with the latest twist in Rhode Island’s public employee pension settlement.

In many a long legal  battle, a settlement reached out of court marks the end of a contentious lawsuit. The opposing parties shake hands and sometimes share an odd drop. Then they put the dispute behind them.

In most protracted court battles, a settlement reached after tortuous year-long negotiations marks the end of a lawsuit and allows the parties to move forward. Often the lawyers celebrate and perhaps even share an odd drop together.

That wasn’t the case Friday. The  proposed legal settlement between the state and the unions that represent public school teachers and state employees and retirees is just the beginning of a cumbersome ratification process that is sure to become ensnared in what is shaping up as a contentious political campaign season in Rhode Island.

What everyone in the Rhode Island political swirl should understand about the state pension overhaul settlement details that are due for release tomorrow: This is very likely to be only the beginning of a protracted process.

One thing we know for sure. Even if it is fair and reasonable, not everyone is going to like it. Some unionized state employees and teachers will not be satisfied with anything less than a full restoration of the pension benefits that were sliced dramatically in the 2011 special General Assembly pension session.

This just in from RIPR's Ian Donnis:

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, State  Treasurer Gina Raimondo, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Tersea  Paiva Weed met privately at the State House this afternoon for  a 90-minute closed-door briefing on the proposed state pension overhaul legal settlement.

The settlement details are scheduled to be released on Wednesday.  The parties to the pension lawsuit have been under a gag order by Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter for more than a year. None of the state officials in today’s meeting disclosed any settlement details.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit with my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week long on the twitters.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

House Speaker Gordon Fox welcomed lawmakers back Tuesday by hoping the new legislative session is more civil than the one that stretched into last July.

Debate in the House turned prickly over parts of the budget during the last legislative year. In his opening speech on the first day of the new session, Fox called for a different approach.

“I hope that we strengthen the lines of communication, so hopefully we end this session earlier than last session and end it nice. Welcome back to 2014, let’s get to work," said Fox.

The General Assembly starts action Tuesday afternoon in a year marked by politically complicated issues -- the possible fallout of pension mediation and the rising tab for 38 Studios, for starters -- and a high-profile race for governor.

In case you've missed it, here are some ways to get up to speed on the new legislative session.

My interview with House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

One of the key issues facing the General Assembly in the new year is the fate of a significant overhaul of the state pension system in 2011.  The new legislative session starts Tuesday.

State officials and public employee unions have held closed-door talks for more than a year in an attempt to settle a lawsuit over the pension overhaul. House Speaker Gordon Fox said he opposes any dramatic changes, because the overhaul alleviated pressure on the state budget.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With the General Assembly set to start its new session Tuesday, House Speaker Gordon Fox sat down to discuss the issues facing the legislature, including the latest budget deficit; fallout from 38 Studios; the possible impact of a settlement over the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system; tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge; and more.

The 2014 political year kicks off in earnest with the start of a new legislative session Tuesday (and the lingering shadow of the unresolved closed-door pension mediation). Thanks for stopping by for my (slightly delinquent, slightly abbreviated) weekly column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Let's get to it.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s General Assembly convenes a new session Tuesday. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why this year’s legislature may sound a lot like last year’s.

By now, most of us have cleared our heads of those New Year’s  hangovers. That’s not the case for Rhode Island’s 113 lawmakers.

The 2014 Assembly that convenes tomorrow will resemble nothing so much as the …2013 Assembly. The reason for this is all too evident:  As has too often been the case, the Smith Hill Crowd decided not to decide some big, prickly issues last session.

Pages