Larry Berman

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island organized labor leaders are asking the General Assembly to override Gov. Gina Raimondo’s veto of legislation that would have kept public employee and teacher collective bargaining contracts in effect while a new contract is under negotiation.

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The conventional  Rhode Island Statehouse wisdom was that the departure of Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport for a private sector job and her replacement by Dominick Ruggerio of North Providence would usher in more cooperation between the House and Senate. The theory was that Ruggerio would get along better with House Speaker Nick Mattiello of Cranston, than did Paiva Weed.  All three are Democrats, but Paiva Weed and Mattiello had differences on policy and styles of leadership.

The mother of former House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, died this morning. Mary Fox, who lived with her son at his East Side home for many years, was 92.

A domestic worker, Mary Fox was known for her devotion to family and her good nature. She lived with her son until just a few weeks ago, when she went to a nursing home facility. Funeral service plans have not been completed, according to House spokesman Larry Berman.

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The head of the state Republican Party is blaming legislative Democrats for failing to improve Rhode Island’s economy. The state’s unemployment rate climbed by a tenth of percent in July, to 8.9 percent.

State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders are wrong to brag about their efforts when the unemployment rate is going in the wrong direction.

Does the General Assembly ever cut its budget? On at least one recent occasion, yes.

The legislature’s spending for the fiscal year that ended June 30 (fiscal 2012) was cut by $3 million, according to information presented during a House Finance Committee meeting Wednesday. House spokesman Larry Berman offered this explanation:

The General Assembly has long been populated with public employees — police officers, firefighters, and teachers — so the Hatch Act complaint described by state Representative Jon Brien has no small significance.

Larry Berman, the spokesman for House Speaker Gordon Fox, says the House leadership believes Stephen Casey is on solid ground in rebutting Brien’s complaint.