rhode island house of representatives

WPRI-TV

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and his Republican rival, Steven Frias, squared off during a televised debate Friday. Cranston voters will pick between the two candidates on Tuesday.

Mattiello and Frias fought on a series of issues during the 30-minute debate on WPRI-TV, Channel 12. Mattiello says tax cuts he’s supported have moved up Rhode Island about seven ranks from the bottom in a national business survey. Frias responded by saying that’s like going from an F grade to an F-minus.

RIPR FILE

Voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary elections in Rhode Island, and one of those primaries will fill a House seat formerly held by Ray Gallison. The Democrat resigned under a law enforcement probe likely to include legislative grants, given to an organization with Gallison on the payroll. Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay discussed the race with News Director Elisabeth Harrison.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Representative Dan Reilly, (R-Portsmouth) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss public corruption in wake of former speaker Gordon Fox, the proposed state budget as a member of the House Finance Committee, and the battle over firefighters’ overtime in cities and towns.

John Bender / RIPR

New details are emerging surrounding the federal corruption case against former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who pleaded guilty to bribery, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Fox is scheduled for sentencing on Thursday.

According to a court document, Fox ordered a brand new, $50,000 Audi in 2008. That was just a month after he accepted a bribe for about the same amount. Prosecutors point to it an example of Fox quote “living large.” At the same time, his personal income was listed at $73,000 a year.

RIPR FILE

Lawmakers on the House Finance Committee are about to get down to serious discussion of the new state budget. The fate of Governor Gina Raimondo’s most important initiatives will be in their hands.

In a statement, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said the budget will make the agenda at the Finance Committee next week. This week, the committee reviews a proposed settlement to a lawsuit over the state pension overhaul. It also plans to look over Governor Raimondo’s infrastructure-funding plan, among other issues.

Aaron Read / RIPR

The House Finance Committee is expected to vote this Thursday on a new state budget for the fiscal year beginning July first. The General Assembly traditionally makes significant revisions to the governor’s proposed spending plan.

The secretary of state’s office will hold a lottery Friday to determine the ballot placement of names for a special primary election in Woonsocket. Four candidates are competing in the January 21st primary for the state rep seat formerly held by state Rep Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.

Baldelli-Hunt resigned her state rep seat after winning election as mayor of Woonsocket last month. The primary election could decide who succeeds Baldelli-Hunt, since the four candidates are all Democrats.

RIPR FILE

A legislative task force created in the last General Assembly session to examine the intersection of gun violence and mental health issues has yet to meet. The panel is unlikely to meet a January deadline for reporting its findings.                                                                                                                                                   

RIPR FILE

The head of the state Republican Party is blaming legislative Democrats for failing to improve Rhode Island’s economy. The state’s unemployment rate climbed by a tenth of percent in July, to 8.9 percent.

State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders are wrong to brag about their efforts when the unemployment rate is going in the wrong direction.

On a 40-25 vote, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impose a 10-cent toll on the new Sakonnet River Bridge.  The move comes after the House last week delayed plans for tolls on the bridge.

Lawmakers said they reversed course because a federal requirement bans the addition of new tolls once a bridge is substantially complete. One opponent of tolls, Tiverton Representative John Edwards, said he hopes the Sakonnet toll might still be eliminated in the future.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In a development unheard of in recent history, the Rhode Island House of Representations ended a 10-hour budget session Wednesday without approving a spending plan. The budget remains 13 million dollars out of balance due to a rare defeat for House leaders.

NRA lobbyist comes to RI

Feb 27, 2013

The debate over how to respond to gun-related violence is heating up at the Statehouse. A lobbyist for the National Rifle Association is slated to brief state reps Wednesday.

NRA lobbyist Darin Goens will offer a briefing at the request of Woonsocket Representative Lisa Baldelli Hunt. The discussion comes as the Assembly is expected to consider a series of gun-related bills later this session.

RI State House of Representatives
RIPR file

After a one-week winter break, the General Assembly gets back to work Tuesday.

Students plan march for marriage equality

Feb 14, 2013

Students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design planned to do something different for Valentine’s Day. In an effort to ensure marriage equality in Rhode Island, students planned a rally on College Hill before a march to the Statehouse, where Representative Frank Ferri was scheduled to speak publicly.

Protest organizer Michelle Bailhe says many groups come together in support of marriage equality.

House discusses K-9 veterans' day

Feb 7, 2013
US War Dogs Association

Since World War II, thousands of dogs have served the USA, though their contributions often go unnoticed. Yesterday, the Rhode Island House Veterans’ Affairs Committee considered a bill to set March 13th as a state-wide holiday, “K-9 Veterans’ Day.”

Ron Aiello, President of the United States War Dogs Association, says in the past 10 years, there have been approximately 600 to 700 dog teams in the Middle East at any one time.

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