Lincoln Chafee

Clay Pell, one of three Democrats vying for his party’s nomination for governor, is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to sign into law three education-related measures approved by the General Assembly in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session.

The first would place a moratorium on the use of high-stakes tests as a graduation requirement. The other would change teacher evaluations and the third would provide full funding for all-day kindergarten in Rhode Island communities.

file / RIPR

Several veteran-related bills made it through the General Assembly and are on their way to the governor’s desk. One of those bills gives disabled veterans waivers for classes at state colleges and universities.

Another bill lets honorably discharged veterans and National Guard reservists transfer skills they’ve learned during their service to fulfill requirements for trade apprenticeships.

Lawmakers also passed a resolution urging employers to give veterans who work for them time off on Veteran’s Day.

Some good news on the Wall Street front for the credit ratings of the state and the city of Providence.

Standard & Poor’s rating agency has affirmed the state’s credit rating and removed Rhode Island government from its CreditWatch list after the General Assembly voted to pay the $12 million installment on the state-backed bonds that financed the ill-fated 38 Studios video game fiasco.

RIPR

The usual special interest groups are blasting the new state budget approved by the General Assembly. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says maybe lawmakers did  the best they could in tough times.

Rhode Island’s General Assembly has approved an $8.7 billion taxing and spending plan for the financial year that begins July First. This budget has drawn fire from the usual suspects who roam the marble Statehouse corridors lobbying for their causes.

Chafee Signs $8.7B Spending Plan for FY'15

Jun 19, 2014
RIPR FILE

In a ceremony at the Statehouse today, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law the state's budget for fiscal year 2015.

Kerrie Bennett, director of legislative and government relations for the University of Rhode Island, is leaving to take an executive post at Delta Dental, the dental insurer.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

New England governors met this Tuesday, in a one-hour closed session to discuss the region’s response to opioid problem.

Providence – It was Mr. Inside, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, against Mr. Outside, Barrington businessman Ken Block,  as the two Republican candidates for governor clashed in the first televised debate of a campaign in which neither candidate has been shy about criticizing each other  in the early going.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he plans to sign into law the $8.7 billion budget passed Monday by the Rhode Island Senate. Senators took less than an hour to passing the spending plan on a 32-to-five vote.

The 2014 Rhode Island campaign for governor began in earnest tonight as Democratic primary aspirants Angel Taveras, Clay Pell and Gina Raimondo met in a live televised debate on WPRI-TV that was far more remarkable for policy agreements than disagreements or the sharp, thrust-and-parry exchanges emblematic of Democratic primaries of yore.

Richard Licht Judgeship Vote Expected For Tuesday

Jun 10, 2014

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote this Tuesday on a top state official’s nomination to be a Superior Court judge.  Richard Licht currently heads the state Department of Administration.

Governor Lincoln Chafee nominated Licht for the judicial post last month. If confirmed, Licht will take the place of retired Superior Court judge Judith Savage and earn close to 150-thousand dollars a year.

RIPR FILE

Is Rhode Island government finally waking up to leveraging state colleges as wellsprings of economic development? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay sees some hopeful signs on Smith Hill.

After years of malign neglect of Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities, the General Assembly finally appears to be turning a corner. Several elements in the state budget approved last week by the House Finance Committee show that Statehouse politicians are finally getting the message on the iron link between education and creating jobs in the Ocean State.

After too many years of giving short shrift to public higher education in Rhode Island,  the General Assembly and state government appear to have finally begun to reverse this short-sighted policy.

In the budget that cleared the House Finance Committee on a 14 to 2 vote Thursday, the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island have won some important initiatives.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

On a 14-2 margin, the House Finance Committee Thursday approved an $8.7 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July first.  Lawmakers say they hope tax cuts will bolster Rhode Island’s underperforming economy.

At the behest of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Cale Keable, D-Burrillville, the Rhode Island House has finally voted to ratify the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,  which reqired direct election of U.S. Senators.

Before the amendment took effect in 1913, senators were elected by state legislators. That system was widely criticized for breeding corruption as senate aspirants bribed lawmakers to secure the votes needed to win senate seats.

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