It’s been almost two years since five Rhode Island law enforcement agencies received a financial windfall from the Google settlement. Google was forced to pay a $500 million fine for illegally selling drugs to Americans without a prescription. About half of the money was returned to the Rhode Island law enforcement agencies that investigated and tried the case. How the three largest recipients are spending the money.
The hours are dwindling to Christmas and the annual shopping frenzy is on.
Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay says we should shop local to support the Rhode Island the Rhode Island economy, and details what Congress can do to help.
Scott MacKay’s commentary can be heard at 6:35 and 8:35 every Monday on Morning Edition and at 5:50 on All Things Considered. You can also follow his political reporting and analysis at our ‘On Politics’ blog at ripr.org.
Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.
This week Dave and Mark talk with HealthSource RI Director Christine Ferguson. They take a look at the response of small businesses in the state to the new health insurance marketplace and separating Rhode Island’s health exchange from the problems at the federal level.
Providence mayoral candidate Brett Smiley unveiled a plan Thursday to improve public safety in the capital city.
Smiley wants to use a proposed 10 percent surcharge on gun and ammunition sales to bolster nonviolence programs. He said the legislature can be encouraged to pass that surcharge even though the General Assembly has been reluctant to pass new gun measures.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate edged down slightly in November but still remains among the highest in the country.
Rhode Island’s jobless rate fell by two tenths of one percent in November -- from 9.2 percent to 9 percent. That’s two percent higher than the national rate and the highest in New England. Close to 50-thousand Rhode Islanders are actively looking for work. And to make matters worse, long-term unemployment benefits end December 28th because of congressional inaction.
Federal regulators are being asked to resolve a regional rift over who should pay for new power lines needed to carry renewable electricity to southern New England.
Vermont has joined New Hampshire and Rhode Island to oppose the cost-sharing formula being promoted by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. The question now before federal authorities is how much rate payers in Vermont should pay for a power line project that mainly benefits people in southern New England.
Submarine maker Electric Boat is expanding its presence in the state.
Electric Boat has signed a 25-year-lease that expands its footprint at the Quonset Business Park by 40 percent. The company makes Virginia Class nuclear submarines for the Navy. The Navy recently doubled its order from one sub to two. Steve King, director of the Quonset Development Corporation which negotiated the lease, says the company will use the new space to accommodate the heavier workload.
The U.S. Senate had its Secret Santa gift exchange, and one of Rhode Island’s senators bowed out of the fun. For the last three years Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has arranged the bipartisan Secret Santa. But Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said he loves to torment his friend, Sen. Franken, by refusing to take part in the affair.
Whitehouse said Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid also passes up the chance to swap a cheap gift with a fellow U.S. Senator.
The House Finance Committee will meet this afternoon to review attempts to rein in spending in different state agencies.
Spending above budgeted amounts has been an issue in some different state departments in recent years. The agencies in question include the state Department of Corrections and the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.
The heads of those two departments have in the past attributed the higher than expected spending to overtime and other unpredictable expenses.