Gordon Fox

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.

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry believes debate over whether Rhode Island should pay back moral obligation bonds for 38 Studios explains why the House version of state budget has yet to emerge.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Residents and merchants in the East Bay are sharply opposing tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Local lawmakers have joined them in asserting the tolls will hurt the economy in communities near the bridge.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Robert A. Walsh Jr., executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, joins the Roundtable this week to discuss state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist; conflicting views on economic development; the debate over defaulting on bonds for 38 Studios; and Council 94's hiring of a prominent critic of state Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

By overwhelming margins, the Rhode Island House of Representatives Tuesday passed a half-dozen bills to change the state’s approach to economic development.

One bill would try to create a more streamlined effort through a new Executive Office of Commerce. Another bill replaces the state Economic Development Corporation with a Commerce Corporation headed by a secretary of commerce. 

It is not yet clear precisely how the state will move forward.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives is expected, this Tuesday, to approve a package of bills reshaping the state’s approach to economic development.  House Speaker Gordon Fox and Governor Lincoln Chafee differ on how to move forward.

One of the House bills would replace the state Economic Development Corporation with a Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. It would establish a secretary of commerce, with the idea of making one person responsible for pursuing economic development.

While Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat might be utterly unsurprising to some, the governor's move nonetheless scrambled the landscape for what already looked like a riveting election fight next year. That's why Chafee leads my weekly column. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (and) org  and to follow me on Twitter. Let's go:

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative J. Patrick O'Neill (D-Pawtucket) joins the Roundtable this week (along with guest panelist Dan McGowan of WPRI-TV, Channel 12) to discuss Governor Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat; the way forward for economic development, and legislative questions.

State Representative J. Patrick O'Neill (D-Pawtucket) joins us on Bonus Q+A to talk about his split with House Speaker Gordon Fox's leadership team and other legislative issues.

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