Flo Jonic / RIPR

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:

Catherine Welch / RIPR

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.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The details of a settlement that could end a legal challenge to a 2011 overhaul of the state pension system were expected to be unveiled Wednesday. But that announcement has been delayed indefinitely. 

Yet even when details are made public, what will happen next remains unclear.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung is calling for the immediate release of details about a settlement of the state pension dispute.

The federal mediation service that oversaw more than a year of closed-door talks plans to unveil the details during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, Fung say it’s past time to let local officials on what was discussed during months of closed-door talks.

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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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

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.

The 2014 political year kicks off in earnest with the start of a new legislative session Tuesday (and the lingering shadow of the unresolved closed-door pension mediation). Thanks for stopping by for my (slightly delinquent, slightly abbreviated) weekly column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Let's get to it.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the possible fate in the General Assembly of the 2011 pension overhaul; continued fallout from the failure of 38 Studios; and the intensifying race for governor.

House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed each say they intend to seek another term at the top of their respective chambers in 2015, provided they win re-election to their legislative seats next November.

In related news, Fox and Paiva Weed sounded different notes on the issue of repaying investors in failed video-game maker 38 Studios. The tab for taxpayers is set to increase in 2014 to $12.5 million dollars, up from $2.5 million in 2013 -- a factor that may resound in legislative elections in the new year.

A Superior Court judge is slated to get an update Monday on the status of mediation on the overhaul of the state pension system in 2011.

Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ordered the mediation in December 2012. That came after a series of public-employee unions challenged the pension overhaul in court. The unions claim that changes including cuts to benefits for retirees are unconstitutional.

Here we go: after months (years?) of salivating by local political junkies, Rhode Island's 2014 race for governor is about to get real. Sure, most voters won't tune in until some time next year, but an announcement on Monday will mark a new phase in the contest. So thanks for stopping by, and as always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) dot (org) or to follow me on the twitters. Let's head in.