Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter, in a decision released Tuesday afternoon, approved the proposed settlement of Rhode Island's pension conflict.

The judge's action clears the way for the General Assembly to approve the pension deal, the last step needed for the settlement to go into effect. Taft-Carter recently held a multi-day hearing during which some current employees and retirees urged her to reject the settlement.

But the judge ruled that the deal meets the necessary legal standard for it to go forward.

Pool Photo/Kathy Borchers / The Providence Journal

A multi-day hearing to determine the fairness of the proposed state pension settlement started in Superior Court Wednesday. Fewer than 70 current state workers and retirees are expected to urge Judge Sarah Taft-Carter to reject the deal.

John Bender / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo marked her 100th day in office Thursday. Raimondo is taking part in several events to mark the occasion.


Along with two other appearances, Governor Raimondo is celebrating the 100th anniversary of two northern Rhode Island businesses, Yacht Club Soda and Navigant Credit Union.

Raimondo won election in November as the state’s first female governor. Since taking office, she’s dealt with severe winter weather and touted her proposed budget as a way to revitalize Rhode Island’s economy.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Documents to formalize a settlement of the state pension lawsuit were filed Monday in Superior Court . The settlement faces several hurdles to be completed.

Lawyers announced in court earlier this month that most public employee unions and retirees had agreed to a proposed settlement to the legal challenge over Rhode Island’s 2011 pension overhaul. The attorneys are now following up by filing documents outlining the agreement.

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Robert Walsh of the National Education Association Rhode Island stopped by our studio to talk about the proposed state pension settlement; charter schools; the gag order in the pension case; Gordon Fox; and more.

The proposed settlement of Rhode Island’s pension conflict is slated for discussion Wednesday by the state retirement board.

An agenda for the meeting indicates the Employees Retirement System may discuss the pension issue during a closed executive session.

A settlement to end most of the court challenges to the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system was unveiled last Thursday. Governor Gina Raimondo says the deal preserves more than 90 percent of the savings from the 2011 overhaul.

The next court update on the settlement process is slated for Monday.

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Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A proposed settlement agreement has been reached on public employee pensions. Gov. Gina Raimondo says she’s pleased with the deal.

The settlement agreement resolves six of nine lawsuits against the state of Rhode Island over retirees’ pensions. It preserves most of the savings Raimondo won from an earlier pension overhaul. But it gives back some benefits to retirees. Now, says Raimondo, the state can begin to put the issue in the rear view mirror.

John Bender / RIPR

A Superior Court judge has set a timeline to move forward with a settlement in the court case over the state pension overhaul.

The agreement still needs approval from the General Assembly, and it would not completely end the long-running legal dispute. The deal would cost taxpayers roughly $32 million more each year to pay for pension costs, while preserving, according to Governor Gina Raimondo, about 90 percent of the savings from the pension overhaul she spearheaded in 2011.


A settlement to Rhode Island's pension conflict may be announced Thursday.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said through his spokesman that a settlement may be at hand. The state has offered modest improvements on a settlement offer rejected last year in an attempt to end the pension dispute. Hanging in the balance is $4 billion in savings for the state pension plan.

The judge overseeing the state pension conflict is slated to hear arguments on a number of motions Thursday.  The window for voting on a proposed settlement ends Friday.

A series of public-employee unions are suing over changes made to their benefits as part of a 2011 overhaul of the state pension system. That conflict will move ahead in court next month, unless there’s a settlement in the case.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

On a roughly 4-to-1 margin, retired state employees on Monday approved a settlement offer to resolve a court fight over the 2011 overhaul of the pension system. The fate of the settlement remains unclear since it still faces approval by a series of union groups, the General Assembly, and the Superior Court judge overseeing the case, Sarah Taft-Carter.

Retired public employees are slated to vote Monday on a proposed settlement to the state pension dispute. The voting is expected to take place starting at 10 at the Twin River event center.

The retirees are just one in a series of union groups that need to approve the settlement. At least some active workers face a deadline of voting on the deal by Friday.

The process for approving or rejecting the settlement is shrouded in secrecy. That’s because a judge imposed a gag order preventing parties in the case from talking about it.


Public employees in Rhode Island are scheduled to vote next week on a proposed deal to settle a lawsuit over Rhode Island’s pension overhaul.  The settlement could save the state as much as $4 billion dollars in payments to retired state employees.  It could also have benefits for union members.  Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis talks details with RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison.