Gordon Fox

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.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island's roads and bridges have been crumbling for years. So why did the most powerful pol in the state, House Speaker Gordon Fox, team up Thursday with one of Rhode Island's top-two emerging political stars, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, to unveil a new plan for funding road and bridge improvements during a well-attended Statehouse news conference?

Gold star if you guessed "2014."

The General Assembly Web site is adding live video streaming that will allow viewers to watch up to four committee meetings at the same time, as well as House and Senate sessions.

The content will be archived for viewing through the Web site, according to a news release:

Currently, Capitol TV airs a live House session and taped the Senate session to broadcast after. Without web-streaming, the channel could only broadcast one live committee meeting at a time.

Welcome back to my weekly column, and a happy St. Patrick's Day weekend to all. Stay safe out there and don't let the green beer get you. As always, your thoughts and tips are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's get to it.

A state Senate bill being filed Wednesday by Senator Frank Ciccone (D-Providence) calls for a statewide referendum to offer an up or down vote on same-sex marriage.

The bill is cosponsored by 10 other senators: Lou DiPalma (D-Middletown0; Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio; William Walaska (D-Warwick); Nicholas Kettle (R-Coventry); James Doyle (D-Pawtucket); Lou Raptakis (D-Coventry); Judiciary Chairman Michael McCaffrey (D-Warwick); Frank Lombardi (D-Cranston); Walter Felag (D-Warren); and David Bates (R-Barrington).

East Providence Polling Place in 2012
Catherine Welch / RIPR

A controversial Voter ID bill that became law in 2011 could face changes at the General Assembly, including possible repeal. The passage of the law by a Democratic-controlled legislature attracted national attention.

Supporters of Voter ID call it a way to protect the integrity of voting. But critics say requiring voters to prove their identity reduces turnout by minorities and other groups that usually support Democrats.

Rhode Island's controversial Voter ID law -- which attracted a a lot of attention after it passed in 2011 -- could be headed for changes, including repeal.

A bill sponsored by Senator Gayle Goldin (D-Providence)  to repeal the law is set to be discussed during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing later today.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Law enforcement officials have tried without success for years to make Rhode Island’s gun laws more stringent. They say tougher laws would help to deter gun-related violence. Now, in the aftermath of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the question remains whether Rhode Island will beef up its gun laws. For starters, gun control supporters will have to overcome powerful opposition from the National Rifle Association.

Welcome back to my Friday column. As always your tips and thoughts are weclome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's get to it.

Fox's Supreme love

Feb 1, 2013
Gordon Fox
courtesy of Gordon Fox

House Speaker Gordon Fox is stepping down from the rostrum and taking on another role this weekend- Motown music historian. The house leader has a deep love for the R&B and soul music that came out of the Motor City back in the 1960’s.

When Gordon Fox was a kid, his home was filled with the sounds of Motown. He listened to his sister’s records by the Supremes and Temptations. And every Saturday his mom would dance to Motown while cleaning the house. Fox says as a bi-racial kid growing up, the blend of pop and soul spoke to him.

A group opposing same-sex marriage says it’s confident that the Rhode Island Senate will defeat legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry. The bill passed handily Thursday night in the House

Just minutes after the historic vote in the House, speaker Gordon Fox urged Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed to pass the bill in her chamber. There’s no word when the senate judiciary committee will take it up, and Paiva Weed opposes the legislation.

Senate President Terest Paiva Weed
courtesy of Teresa Paiva Weed

Same sex marriage has won overwhelming approval in the Rhode Island House. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what’s next in this historic debate.

If you don’t believe the political landscape in Rhode Island has undergone a seismic shift, you weren’t at McKim, Mead and White’s State House for the historic House vote on same sex marriage.  The measure won overwhelmingly on a 51 to 19 tally.

Catherine Welch

“Just pass it.” That’s what House Speaker Gordon Fox says he wants the senate president to do with the same-sex marriage bill that passed last night and is now heading to the senate. The House vote was not only an historic vote, but an emotional one.

During nearly 90 minutes of debate a handful of representatives spoke out against the measure. Arthur Corvese, a North Providence democrat, was one of them.

Same-sex marriage legislation has cleared its first hurdle in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The House Judiciary Committee approved marriage equality legislation proposed by Rep. Art Handy, D-Cranston on a unanimous vote. The historic move represents the first time any committee in either RI legislative chamber has approved a gay marriage measure.