Nick Mattiello

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With her term as governor half-way over, Gina Raimondo used her latest State of the State address to assert she's steering Rhode Island in the right direction and to tout a series of initiatives that could bolster her support among middle-class voters.

New lawmakers are settling in, and Governor Raimondo is getting ready to unveil her latest budget. So the political year is starting in earnest, paving the way for the 2018 campaign season. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

More than 20 Democratic state lawmakers expressed support Thursday for a four-part plan -- dubbed the "Fair Shot Agenda" -- that they say will expand economic opportunities for middle-class Rhode Islanders.

State Rep. Gregg Amore (D-East Providence) introduced the proposal as a response to President-elect Donald Trump's win in November and "decades of economic policy that has continually tilted the scales toward the wealthy and large corporations."

Welcome to my first TGIF column of 2017, and thanks for stopping by. As usual your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello wants to get rid of the car tax. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this is a good idea, if lawmakers can find the money to pay for it.

RI House of Representatives

Matt Jerzyk, a familiar presence at the Statehouse, started in a new role Wednesday as chief legal counsel for House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi, RIPR has learned.

Jerzyk came to Smith Hill as deputy legal counsel for Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in November 2014, with a salary of $99,072. He is also the part-time city solicitor for Central Falls.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello doubled down Tuesday on his pledge to begin a phaseout in 2017 of the state's unpopular car tax. 

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017! Welcome to my last TGIF column of 2016, and thanks for following my reports throughout the year. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Cranston businessman John Hazen White Jr. gave House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello almost twice the state's legal limit for campaign contributions for an individual in 2016.

White made contributions to Matttiello of $1,000 on December 5, and of $200 on January 18, according to the state Board of Elections web site. In addition, White said he personally paid about $750 for an ad endorsing Mattiello that ran in the Cranston Herald shortly before the November 8 election.

State law limits contributions by individuals to a particular candidate to $1,000 in a single calendar year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and best wishes to all for the holidays. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With the new General Assembly session set to start in just under two weeks, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello sat down to discuss some of the top issues facing the legislature.

The ice box of winter is here, and the holidays aren't far behind. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

'Twas the night before Christmas at the Rhode Island Statehouse and not a creature was stirring or clicking a mouse.

Just a few weeks remain until 2017, a year bound to be filled with political drama. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

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