Gordon Fox

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Margaux Morisseau became a leader in the fight against payday lending after seeing its impact in the Constitution Hill neighborhood of Woonsocket. She works there as a community advocate for a nonprofit agency. This blue-collar neighborhood was once full of boarded up homes, and it has seen a comeback in recent years. But a payday lending shop moved in about three years ago and Morisseau says things have taken a turn for the worse.

RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee’s choice to lead the state Economic Development Corporation faces approval by the full state Senate committee Tuesday.  The votes comes amid debate over the EDC’s future.

Chafee’s choice, Marcel Valois, was unanimously approved by a Senate committee last week. Valois led the EDC in the 1990s during Lincoln Almond’s tenure as governor. He says Rhode Island needs to do a better job of helping business when it can and getting out of the way when it can’t.

May rolls in with history being made in Rhode Island. Welcome back to my weekly column. As always, your thoughts and tips are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's head in:

Ian Donnis / RIPR

To the delight of a crowd of hundreds of people in front of the Statehouse, Governor Lincoln Chafee on Thursday evening signed into law legislation making Rhode Island the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Two companion bills forming the basis for the law sped through the General Assembly in recent weeks, in sharp contrast to how the issue of same-sex marriage languished for the preceding 16 years.

We're 18 months out from the November 2014 election, but that's not stopping Mark Binder from announcing on Thursday another legislative challenge to House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Via news release:

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After helping to shepherd same-sex marriage legislation on what once seemed an improbable path to victory, House Speaker Gordon Fox was a bit surprised Tuesday to be asked about his own wedding plans.

"I'm just trying to plan to get through this session," Fox said, laughing, when asked if he has plans to marry later this year. "That's a curve ball. I hadn't though about that one. Maybe you should ask my partner that."

As the hours dwindle to tomorrow’s Senate Judiciary Committee consideration of same-sex marriage, it appears advocates of gay unions have an advantage, say State House sources. What is still unknown is what will happen when the issue hits the Senate floor, which could come as early as Wednesday, or more likely, Thursday.

What is clear this time around is that the marriage equality campaign has done a better job this time around than two years ago, when the General Assembly approved civil unions in a compromise that pleased neither side.

Legislative language that would allow Rhode Islanders who own guns defined as assault weapons to keep them after the July 1 effective date is missing from the relevant bill.

Happy Friday and welcome back. Your tips and thoughts are always appreciated in my inbox at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's dive in.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A nine-point plan intended to reduce gun-related violence and reduce the threat of a school shooting in Rhode Island was unveiled by leading elected and public-safety officials at the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon. Legislative leaders repeatedly called the proposal a starting point for discussion, raising questions about what exactly will meet with General Assembly muster before the legislature ends it session in June.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Congressman David Cicilline joins the Roundtable this week to discuss hyper-partisanship in Congress, the outlook for an immigration overhaul, his encouraging of House Speaker Gordon Fox to run for mayor of Providence, and other topics.

Congressman David Cicilline thinks House Speaker Gordon Fox, his friend and political ally,  could do a "terrific" job as the mayor of Providence, if Angel Taveras seeks a different office next year.

During a taping of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Cicilline was asked about indications  he's been urging Fox to run for City Hall. (The segment airs Friday at 5:40 and 7:40 am.) Here's Cicilline's initial response:

Legislative leaders signaled Monday that local officials in Coventry should be the ones responsible for addressing the future of a troubled fire district in the town. A Superior Court judge has ordered the Central Coventry Fire District to close April 11th.

House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed offered skeptical notes in response to requests Monday for state help to preserve the Central Coventry Fire District.

Superior Court Judge Brian Stern last week ordered the district to close April 11. The move came after voters in the district rejected a proposed tax increase.

Fund to Repair Roads and Create Jobs

Mar 22, 2013
RIPR file

Rhode Island cities and towns would have access to low-interest loans for road and bridge repairs under a bill unveiled Thursday by House Speaker Gordon Fox and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo.   It’s being sold as a way to jump start the state’s sluggish construction trade.

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