Gordon Fox

Rhode Island voters can expect to decide next year whether to organize a constitutional convention.  Voters are supposed to be asked that question once every 10 years.

The question of whether to stage a constitutional convention can be put on the ballot by either the General Assembly or the secretary of state. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis said if the legislature doesn’t pose the question for voters, he’ll put it on the ballot next year.

As same-sex marriage becomes legal in Rhode Island Thursday, state Representative Frank Ferri and his longtime partner are among those planning to mark the day by tying the knot.  It took almost 20 years to legalize same-sex marriage in the Ocean State.

Ferri and his partner, Tony Caparco, plan to marry in Warwick this evening with about 300 friends and family members on hand. House Speaker Gordon Fox will perform the ceremony. Ferri, a Warwick Democrat, says the newfound ability of gays and lesbians to marry in Rhode Island will lend special meaning to the nuptials.

Thanks to a cost of living adjustment mandated by the state Constitution, 111 state lawmakers are entitled to get a $307 boost in their annual pay, bringing the yearly amount to $14,947. The pay hike is doubled for House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, who get twice the salary of other lawmakers.

What all these means depends whom you ask.

Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Block has hired a veteran of Rhode Island politics to manage his run for governor next year.

Block has hired Jeff Britt to run his latest campaign for governor. Last year, Britt managed a spirited run by an independent challenger to House Speaker Gordon Fox. Block said he thinks Britt has the ability to make a big difference in his campaign.

Rhode Island politicians are increasingly looking to non-profit institutions to finance local government. The latest tug-of-war between town and gown is in Smithfield, where the town thinks Bryant University is not paying its fair share. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says its time for cooperation, not confrontation.

Bonus Q+A: Gordon Fox

Jul 19, 2013

Seldom does a politician have a chance to not only change history but the trajectory of his own life. That was the case this year with Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, who spearheaded the same sex marriage bill that passed the General Assembly after years of defeat. Fox, an openly gay politician, discussed how the law will affect his own life in an interview with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic and Scott MacKay.

John Bender / RIPR

Same sex marriage. Tolling the Sakonnet River Bridge. The 38 Studios taxpayer bailout. Those are some of the topics we touch on this morning. Our regular host, Ian Donnis, is out, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic is filling it.

State Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, takes part in Bonus Q+A to discuss Oversight's hearings on 38 Studios, transit funding, the legislative process, and other issues.

State Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, joins the Roundtable this week to discuss the bumpy end to the House session; new tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge; repaying bonds for 38 Studios; and other issues.

One of the many last-minute bills being considered by the General Assembly would create a "Choose Life" license plate and fund free counseling meant to dissuade women from having abortions.

Author Mark Binder, who used 38 Studios as a cudgel against House Speaker Gordon Fox in a closely watched legislative race last year, has decided not to make another run at Fox.

Binder got an early start by announcing plans for a second challenge in May. Yet in a statement Monday morning, he says he's reconsidered.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island House of Representations Wednesday passed a budget that includes the first repayment for money owed over the state’s losing investment in video-game maker 38 Studios.  Taxpayers remain on the hook for a total of about 90 million dollars.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island House resumed the budget debate Wednesday afternoon. It's the second day that followed an unusual defeat for House Speaker Gordon Fox which sent the state's spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 into uncertainty.

On Wednesday the House voted 67-4  on a bill that freezes tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge until February 1, 2014. The legislation also creates a commission to study how East Bay bridges are funded. And a provision in the House budget blocks any toll hikes for Newport's Pell Bridge.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In a development unheard of in recent history, the Rhode Island House of Representations ended a 10-hour budget session Wednesday without approving a spending plan. The budget remains 13 million dollars out of balance due to a rare defeat for House leaders.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) joins the Roundtable this week to discuss his expectations on the budget; whether the state should pay back moral obligation bonds related to 38 Studios; what the General Assembly will accomplish this year to boost the economy; and more.

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