legal issues

The Red Sox win big, politics never takes a holiday, and the calendar turns to November, marking the one-year mark until Rhode Island's next general election. Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to send me tips and feedback at idonnis (at) ripr (org) and to follow my short takes via Twitter. Let's head in.

Ian Donnis

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the race for governor; the fate of gun-related legislation in the General Assembly; the cancaled appearance at Brown University involving New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly, and other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says his office is developing legislation for the upcoming General Assembly session that would require background checks for workers in Rhode Island's adult entertainment industry.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Tracy Breton, who covered courts and legal issues at the Providence Journal for 40 years, says an ongoing series of buyouts and layoffs on Fountain Street will make it increasingly difficult for the paper to offer investigative reporting and in-depth journalism.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Tracy Breton worked her final day on the job at the Providence Journal last Friday after covering courts and trials for 40 years. Breton was part of the investigative team that won a 1994 Pulitzer Prize for the ProJo, and she covered the downfall of two Rhode Island Supreme Court chief justices, Joseph Bevilacqua and Thomas Fay. Breton sat down to talk about her four decades of covering the courts and her future plans.

The two sides discussing a possible settlement over the 2011 overhaul of Rhode Island’s state pension system will have a few more weeks to talk.

The two sides met Thursday afternoon with Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter. In the latest in a series of continuances, she scheduled another update on ongoing mediation in the case for September 30.

Taft-Carter ordered mediation last December after a series of public-employee unions filed a suit over the pension overhaul. The unions say the overhaul went too far in cutting benefits and violated their constitutional rights.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins the Roundtable this week as we discuss ongoing mediation over Rhode Island's pension lawsuit; the start next week of a 10-cent toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge; Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin's decision to become a Republican; and the US Justice Department stepping away from mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

Common Cause of RI executive director John Marion joins us on Bonus Q+A to discuss the General Assembly, selecting judges in Rhode Island, the evolving world of campaign finance, the 2014 vote on a constitutional convention, and other topics.

The reaction to the Trayvon Martin case is the latest reminder of how Americans remain sharply divided in how they view questions involving race and justice. Tensions over these issues reached an apex in US cities after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

Although investors in 38 Studios were promised prior to the closing of a $75 million state loan guaranty in 2010 that IBM would offer independent third-party monitoring of the company and its performance, IBM didn't sign a contract to provide that monitoring and independent oversight was never put in place, according to testimony presented last week to a legislative committee.

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin issued a statement this morning, calling on the General Assembly to put the brakes on same-sex marriage legislation due to the US Supreme Court's consideration of related issues:

The mediation aimed at settling a legal challenge by a series of unions to the state pension overhaul of 2011 is set to continue through the month of February.

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter met Friday morning with the two sides in the case, according to court spokesman Craig Berke. "They are going to continue to mediate," Berke said, adding that Taft-Carter is scheduled to get another update on February 28.

As the General Assembly starts a new session on Tuesday, one legislative constant will remain unchanged -- a lot of the 113 lawmakers on Smith Hill are lawyers.

The ProJo's Political Scene says there are 24 lawyers in the legislature -- 15 in the 75-member House and nine in the 38-member Senate:

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has declined a state motion to stay the big pension case pending before Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter. Via news release:

In the matter of Rhode Island Public Employees’ Retiree Coalition et al v. Lincoln Chafee et al, the Supreme Court today declined to intervene in the union and coalition lawsuits against the state regarding the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011.

High-profile lawyer David Boies’ request to practice law in Rhode Island is expected to be considered by Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter early Friday, according to court spokesman Craig Berke. That’s the same morning when Taft-Carter is slated to hear a state motion to dismiss a union challenge to last year’s pension overhaul.

The granting of permission for an out-of-state lawyer to practice in Rhode Island is usually a formality.