Rhode Island

Economy
9:04 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Interfaith Vigil At The Statehouse Calls For Lawmakers To Address RI Poverty

Governor Lincoln Chafee at the interfaith vigil on poverty at the Statehouse.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

A coalition of Rhode Island religious leaders is calling on lawmakers to put poverty at the top of their agenda this year.  The plea was issued at a Statehouse rally Wednesday.

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General Assembly
9:06 am
Wed January 8, 2014

General Assembly Opens For 2014 Legislative Session

The RI General Assembly begins the 2014 legislative session this week.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

House Speaker Gordon Fox welcomed lawmakers back Tuesday by hoping the new legislative session is more civil than the one that stretched into last July.

Debate in the House turned prickly over parts of the budget during the last legislative year. In his opening speech on the first day of the new session, Fox called for a different approach.

“I hope that we strengthen the lines of communication, so hopefully we end this session earlier than last session and end it nice. Welcome back to 2014, let’s get to work," said Fox.

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Governor's Race
8:57 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Block Files Complaint Against State Properties Committee

Ken Block addresses crowd at the Statehouse rotunda.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block has filed a complaint, accusing the state agency that manages state-owned properties with multiple violations of the Open Meetings Act.  The candidate is also calling on the General Assembly to strengthen the law and enhance the penalties for violating it.

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RI History
8:57 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Statue Of Revolutionary Thomas Dorr Unveiled At The Statehouse

Statue of Thomas Dorr, at Statehouse unveiling.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

State officials unveiled a lifelike statue Tuesday of one of the most important figures in Rhode Island history.

The statue of Thomas Dorr was celebrated during an afternoon ceremony outside the Senate chamber at the Statehouse.

State historian Patrick Conley calls Dorr the second most significant figure, after Roger Williams, in Rhode Island history.

Dorr led a rebellion in the early 1840s that led to expanded voting rights. Before the so-called Dorr Rebellion, only property owners were able to vote.

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Real Estate
1:45 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Most Significant Decline In Rhode Island Home Sales In Over Two Years

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors says home sales were down eleven percent in the state during during November as compared to 2012.

The Realtors' Association says the decline in sales was the most significant lull in the past thirty months.

They say sales were likely down thanks in part to the federal government shutdown in October, and rising interest rates.

However, the median home price in Rhode Island was up three percent at $201,000.

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Weather
1:28 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Dropping Temperatures Causing Serious Plumbing Problems In RI

Temperatures in the teens are causing water pipes to burst all over Rhode Island. Plumbers statewide are flat out responding to an upsurge in calls for help.

A Cranston-based plumbing company says its call volume has increased 70 percent because of cold weather-related water pipe ruptures.  Carlos Cardeal, a foreman at Statewide Plumbing and Heating, says 99 percent of all pipe breaks can be attributed to two causes: a lack of insulation in the home and keeping the temperature of the house too low.

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Homelessness
9:27 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Homeless Population Most Vulnerable During Unpredictable New England Winters

We’re in for a wild week in the weather department.  The forecast is for rain today with a high of 48. But by tomorrow the high will plunge into the teens.  One population that is most vulnerable during these cold snaps is the homeless.

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Governor's Race
9:17 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Chafee Yet To Give Endorsement To Any Democratic Gubenatorial Candidate

Democratic governor Lincoln Chafee will not seek another term in office, and has yet to endorse any possible candidate.
Credit RIPR FILE

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he still hasn’t decided which candidate to support in this year’s gubernatorial race but he’s decided one thing.  Chafee, a Republican-turned independent-turned Democrat, said there’s no way he would endorse a Republican.

"I’m a democrat and I’m a very proud member of the democratic party now. It’s been an evolution, as you know. And I’m proud to become a democrat and stand up for the values of building the middle class and closing the disparity of wealth that exists in this country and that’s what I care about," said Chafee.

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Pension Overhaul
9:10 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Pension Debate Expected To Return To The General Assembly

State pension overhaul is expected to return to this year's legislative session.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

One of the key issues facing the General Assembly in the new year is the fate of a significant overhaul of the state pension system in 2011.  The new legislative session starts Tuesday.

State officials and public employee unions have held closed-door talks for more than a year in an attempt to settle a lawsuit over the pension overhaul. House Speaker Gordon Fox said he opposes any dramatic changes, because the overhaul alleviated pressure on the state budget.

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Unemployment
8:50 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Sen Reed Leads Push For Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Extension

RI Senator Jack Reed is leading the push for extending long-term unemployment benefits.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who has taken a leadership role in the democratic drive to renew long-term unemployment insurance benefits, has made a national call for Republicans to join the effort.

Reed was one of four Senate democrats who held a nationwide media conference call Sunday in an effort to break a congressional logjam over long-term unemployment insurance. The insurance expired last week when lawmakers failed to extend a recession-era law providing nearly a year of benefits after state jobless benefits run out.

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