Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed into law legislation that will require Bryant University and Smithfield town officials to negotiate reimbursement for the university’s use of town police, fire and rescue services.
The university and its president, former U.S. Rep. Ron Machtley, have argued strenuously against the legislation, saying Bryant already contributes to the town and generates $17 in local economic activity. But town officials and Smithfield lawmakers say it is isn’t fair for Bryant to charge town taxpayers for services used by the university and its students.
Organized labor has been beset in recent years with declining membership in the private sector and a corresponding drop in clout at the Rhode Island Statehouse. Unions have taken their lumps recently, but there were signs of a rebound during the recently adjourned General Assembly session.
Labor did not get nearly everything it wanted; building trades union leaders are unhappy that lawmakers did not approve requiring construction firms bidding on state projects worth $1 million or more to have a union apprenticeship program.
Some comings and goings in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s office:
Jamia McDonald is moving from deputy chief of staff and the governor’s liason to the state’s emergency management agency to become executive director of RIEMA.
Christian Vareika, the governor’s deputy communications director and chief speechwriter, is leaving the administration to attend law school. Vareika worked on Chafee’s 2010 campaign and has crafted major Chafee speeches.
Communications Associate James Alvarez is leaving the administration to pursue a creer in the U.S. Army.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expressing skepticism over the General Assembly’s last-minute license plate legislation that created a special anti-abortion ‘Choose Life’ plate.
Chafee spokeswomen Christine Hunsinger says the governor has made no decision yet on whether to veto the measure or let it become law but that he is concerned whether ``it is appropriate for money that flows through the Division of Motor Vehicles to go to a religious organization.’’
State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has proven herself a superstar at raising campaign cash. Yet as independent-turned-Democrat Governor Lincoln Chafee faces what looks like a difficult primary next year, his ability to contribute mightily to his own campaign is a definite asset.
The General Assembly is slated to consider bills later Tuesday to revamp Rhode Island’s approach to economic development. The action comes on the last day of the legislative session.
The state Economic Development Corporation has been marked for years by turnover in its top leadership. Governor Lincoln Chafee wants to give the EDC a chance to show its stuff with a new board and a new director, Marcel Valois. But the General Assembly could make some significant changes to the agency.
When Gov. Lincoln Chafee and gay marriage advocates two years ago touted its economic benefits for Rhode Island they were widely disparaged. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why Chafee and his allies may well be right.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is supporting the General Assembly’s inclusion of money to pay back bondholders who invested in failed video game maker 38 Studios. The legislative budget includes two and a half million dollars for the bondholders.
Congressman David Cicilline is calling this a good day for equality, reacting to news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples.
“No longer will people be discriminated against because of who they love,” said Cicilline, “and all marriages will be respected and people will be treated equally under the law. That’s a great victory.”