Political news

Photo by James Wyman

PROVIDENCE, RI – State lawyers are asking the Rhode Island Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's finding that public employees have a contract right to their pensions.

State lawyers say an immediate review of the lower court decision is necessary and warranted. They say a ruling will make clear what state officials can do to overhaul Rhode Island's pension system when lawmakers meet later this month. Rhode Island has a $7 billion unfunded pension liability.

Photo by: Catherine Welch

PROVIDENCE, RI – First Lady Michelle Obama told military wives in Cranston Friday that she was there to listen as the women detailed some of the challenges their facing being married to the military.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Lincoln Chafee says he's pleased that the Board of Governors for Higher Education is about to approve a measure that would extend in-state tuition to undocumented Rhode Island students who have been in the state's high schools at least three years. The students must graduate and sign an affidavit stating their intention to seek legal status as soon as they are eligible.

Photo by James Wyman.

PROVIDENCE, RI – State Representative Daniel Gordon says his past legal problems stem from post-traumatic stress disorder that he developed during the Persian Gulf War.

Gordon has a lengthy record in Massachusetts, including a conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He blames those troubles on stress related to his Marine service in Iraq and Kuwait during the Gulf war.

PROVIDENCE, RI – House Speaker Gordon Fox and other lawmakers are calling for the resignation of Representative Dan Gordon following revelations about Gordon's criminal record.

State police arrested Gordon over the weekend on a charge of operating a car with a suspended license. It was later revealed Gordon had served prison time in Massachusetts for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He also has a record of driving infractions in the Bay State.

Photo by: Ian Donnis

PROVIDENCE, RI – The deputy executive director of one of the state's largest teachers' unions was convicted Monday of cyber-stalking a former state representative.

District Court Judge Stephen Isherwood rejected arguments that John Leidecker had exercised a constitutionally protected form of free speech. Isherwood said e-mails sent by Leidecker under a fictitious persona to former Bristol rep Douglas Gablinske were harassment.

Photo by James Wyman.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island's public employee unions have won the first round in the contentious joust over state pension benefits. But a court decision may jeopardize the ability for a special session being able to make definitive decisions.

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has denied state government's attempt to establish that the state can unilaterally reduce the pension benefits and cost-of-living benefits of state employees and retirees.

Photo by Ian Donnis.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Statehouse is the public's house: It's where decisions are made about how Rhode Islanders' tax dollars are spent. In the old days, visitors' bags were hand-checked. But in the post-9/11 age, walking into the Statehouse isn't quite as simple as it used to be.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.

PROVIDENCE, RI – No one who was alive on that glorious Indian summer morning a decade ago will ever forget precisely what they were doing when the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Ian Donnis.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Now that Rhode Island has cleared away most of the old I-195 highway, what will become of the 20 acres of vacant land left behind? Governor Lincoln Chafee recently formed a seven-member commission to help answer that question. Rhode Island Public Radio's Ian Donnis sat down with the commission's designated chairman, local developer Colin Kane, to learn more about the commission's plans for the vacant I-195 property.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Lincoln Chafee has announced his seven nominees for the commission charged with sparking economic development on former highway land near downtown Providence. It's a list that draws from a variety of industries.

Chafee's nominee to chair the I-195 Redevelopment Commission, Colin Kane, heads an East Providence development company. Kane says the commission's most vital role will be providing coordination and thorough planning.

Photo taken from Luna's profile at ProvidenceRI.com

PROVIDENCE,RI – Providence city councilor Miguel Luna died Thursday after suffering a recent heart attack.

Luna was a native of the Dominican Republic who first won election to the City council in 2002. His campaign motto at the time was that he would be a voice for the whole community.

Photo by Megan Hall.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The pension advisory committee for General Treasurer Gina Raimondo held its latest meeting, this time in East Providence.

The session was meant to identify possible solutions for Rhode Island's $7-billion in unfunded pension liability. But the best way forward remains in dispute.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a committee member, says the problem is so severe the state needs to rethink pension cost of living adjustments (COLAs).

Photo by Ian Donnis.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Supporters of a kind of charter school known as mayoral academies called on Governor Lincoln Chafee to support their expansion. The state Board of Regents is expected to vote on such a proposal September first.

Charter school supporters point to disparities in academic performance between rich and poor students to underscore the need for change.

Photo by Ian Donnis.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Businessman and former Republican candidate Jim Bennett is Providence's new director of economic development. Bennett says his ideas for creating jobs include streamlining zoning and building on existing technology companies in Rhode Island.

Mayor Angel Taveras says Bennett has the right stuff for the job.