Lincoln Chafee


What’s worse than the 38 Studios fiasco for Rhode Island ‘s political and economic reputation? RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay points to the aftermath.

It’s been nearly four years since  then- Gov. Donald Carcieri, the state Economic Development Corporation and the General Assembly foisted the disaster that is 38 Studios on Rhode Island taxpayers.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Marcel Valois, executive director of Commerce Rhode Island, will embark on a European trade mission that will be focused on meeting with executives of companies that have expressed an interest in establishing operations in Rhode Island.

Chafee’s press office issued a statement saying that these company executive officials are interested in Rhode Island due to the state’s ``proximity to Europe, as well as the location in the busy northeast corridor and the convenience of TF Green Airport, industrial ports and rail and highway transportation systems.’’


Colleges, even state colleges, are too expensive and beyond the financial reach of some students. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst  Scott MacKay on why college is still a great investment, both for taxpayers and students.

Fast upon us 'tis season of Lilacs, caps and gowns and those desultory commencement speeches about life being a journey. For too many seniors these days, the sheepskin comes with an avalanche of student loan debt.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has inched down to 8.7 percent in March, an improvement, but evidence that the state trails the region and most of the nation in economic activity.

The state Department of Labor and Training reports that new data shows the seasonally adjusted rate declined from 9 percent in February and is now at the lowest rate since September, 2008.

The number of Rhode Islanders who were working increased to 506,000 in March, a hike of 2,700 from February  statistics.

Rhode Island's multi-billion dollar pension dispute appears headed to a September 15 trial date in Superior Court after a breakdown in attempts to resolve the conflict through mediation.

Each side blamed the other for the impasse following more than a year of talks.

Unions representing nearly all state workers have tentatively agreed to a new contract.

The unions representing every state worker except correctional officers and state police have agreed to a contract that increases wages by six percent over four years and increases health care deductibles and co-pays.

State employees have gone nearly three years without a raise.

The Rhode Island Republican Party is backing up the GOP’s two gubernatorial candidates in saying that the state pension dispute should be resolved in court.  Two of the state’s leading Democrats still support the push for a settlement between the two sides

A proposed pension settlement unveiled in February was cast in doubt Monday when one of six groups that have to offer initial approval rejected the deal. State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said he agrees with his party’s gubernatorial candidates that the pension conflict should be decided in court.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he remains hopeful the proposed state pension settlement can be salvaged, possibly by leaving out the police group that was the only one of six in an initial round of voting to reject the deal.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Federal investigators said an agreement announced Tuesday will make Rhode Island a national leader in integrating disabled people into the workplace

The 10-year pact grew out of an investigation last year that showed developmentally disabled were being sharply underpaid for their work.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A judge has ordered the parties in a lawsuit over Rhode Island's pension overhaul back to the mediation table, after police voted to reject a proposed settlement. Many teachers, firefighters, state workers and retirees voted to accept the deal, which was reached after more than a year of negotiation.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison sat down with political analyst Scott Mackay to figure out what the rejection means, and where the pension settlement can go from here.

file / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has selected the artist who will paint his official portrait. The Rhode Island artist beat out 123 others in the national search.

Julie Gearan said there was something about the fact that she’s not a traditional portrait painter combined with Chafee not being a traditional politician that drew her to apply for the job of painting his official portrait.

In a move that could send the battle over Rhode Island's 2011 pension overhaul back to court, one of the six plaintiff groups that had to initially sign off on a proposed settlement has voted against the deal.

As a result, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has ordered the two sides in the dispute -- the state and a series of public-employee unions -- back to mediation. Taft-Carter is slated to get an update on the talks next Monday, April 14.

file / RIPR

Thousands of public employees and retirees who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the state’s pension overhaul have voted to approve changes made in mediation. Of the 23,624 individuals eligible to cast a ballot, roughly 70 percent did not vote against it. 

The settlement agreement stated that if one of the six plaintiffs groups rejected the deal by more than half, then the settlement process ends. One group, police, rejected the deal by 61 percent. But spokesman for the plaintiffs’ Ray Sullivan, said this will not halt the process.

When will Rhode Islanders stop debating public employee pensions? RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says that won’t happen anytime soon.

As if the 2014 Rhode Island election campaigns won’t provide enough grist for everyone’s political mill, here comes the vote on the proposed public employee pension settlement crafted by their union leaders, Gov. Lincoln Chafee and State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

The stench of corruption has once again encircled the Rhode Island State House. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to try something different on Smith Hill.

Unless you have been living in one of those 1950s-era nuclear bomb shelters, or the old East Side tunnel, you’ve probably heard of the latest Statehouse scandal. The state police and federal IRS and FBI agents raided the offices of House Speaker Gordon Fox 10 days ago. The next day he abruptly resigned.