In their first comment since a proposed pension settlement was unveiled Friday afternoon, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed steer clear of either endorsing or opposing the deal.
Here's a joint statement from the two legislative leaders:
The state retirement board voted in closed session Friday afternoon to approve a proposed pension settlement. The board met in executive session for nearly an hour, ending in a vote of 6 – 1, with 5 abstentions.
A settlement that could end a legal dispute over the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system is expected to be unveiled Friday. The deal appears back on track after hitting a snag earlier this week.
The federal mediation service that has overseen more than a year of closed-door pension talks is set to hold a news conference (4:15 pm) at a state building near the Statehouse. The subject is expected to be a proposed settlement between the state and a series of public-employee unions.
Speculation continues about whether a settlement will emerge from closed-door pension mediation as soon as next week.
The head of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, Daniel Beardsley, is worried that a settlement could hike pension costs for communities by more than $100 million. The league outlines its concerns in a new white paper. But as Beardsley says, it remains unclear if the General Assembly will be receptive to approving a settlement.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo started fleshing out her vision for Rhode Island as she formally announced her campaign Monday morning.
Raimondo emphasized the economy, laying out ideas that include writing off some college loans to encourage grads to stay in Rhode Island, creating a funding formula for road and bridge improvements, and establishing an institute to foster growth-sector jobs.
The new year marks the start of Governor Lincoln Chafee's final year in office. That's because he announced last year he wouldn't seek re-election. The Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat has faced low public approval ratings since narrowly winning a four-way race for governor in 2010. Yet as part of this wide-ranging interview, Chafee asserts he'll leave a positive legacy for the state.
With the General Assembly set to start its new session Tuesday, House Speaker Gordon Fox sat down to discuss the issues facing the legislature, including the latest budget deficit; fallout from 38 Studios; the possible impact of a settlement over the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system; tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge; and more.