Tis the high season of summer in the Ocean State and the time of hijinks at the State House. As the hours dwindle towards adjournment, items big and small sometimes get lost in the last-minute shuffle as the competing egos in the House and Senate square off.
One very important economic development and education issue to watch: the fate of the resolution needed to move forward the plan to revive a gateway to the old Jewelry District in Providence by putting a nursing school in the old Dynamo Building, the onetime South Street power station.
State colleges and universities in Rhode Island can now arm campus police after a vote Thursday night at the State Board of Education. Critics said more guns on campus will not make students safer, but supporters, including University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, said campus police should carry guns to do their jobs more effectively.
Dooley said he believes arming police is logical decision for URI.
The state Board of Education is scheduled to vote this week on a proposal to arm campus police at the state’s three public colleges. Under the proposed rule, campus presidents would have the authority to decide whether armed security is necessary on their campuses.
Universities and colleges in the state say they’re bracing for cuts to federal research grants should sequestration kick in. The University of Rhode Island says depending on cuts to defense research, it could lose either $6.4 million or $12.6 million. And Brown University estimates cuts of about $8 million.
Brown University once again led the pack in Rhode Island in fundraising last year, bringing in a little more than $178 million. The University of Rhode Island was a distant second at $12.7 million, a drop of $6 million compared with 2011.
Donations were also down at Rhode Island College, which raised $1.36 million, and at the Rhode Island School of Design, which still came in second overall. RISD raised a total of nearly $6.8 million.
For nearly a decade every Rhode Island legislative session has brought a florid and divisive debate over immigration issues. First it was whether the state should require all businesses to check the citizenship status of employees by using a federal computer database known as E-Verify.
Yours truly will be part of a panel discussion at Rhode Island College tomorrow (11 am, Room 110, Alger Hall) examining the local political impact of talk radio.
The chat, sponsored by RIC’s American Democracy Project, is entitled, “Does talk radio still rule?” The lineup for the panel includes WPRI.com reporter Ted Nesi, WPRO evening host Matt Allen, Josh Fenton from GoLocal, and Tim Staskiewicz from CBS Radio Boston. The moderator is Gene Valicenti from WJAR-TV.