Rhode Island

Politics
3:47 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Strong Support in Unionizing Child Care Workers

Last session, the General Assembly passed legislation signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee allowing some child care workers to unionize.

Organizers said the vast majority of workers in a state-subsidized child care program have indicated their support for joining a union.

Chas Walker of Service Employees Union, Local 1199, said more than 500 of about 600 workers have signed cards to become union members. “We’ve filed those cards with the state Labor Board and it’s the process in the law,” said Walker, “and we’re looking forward to having an election as soon as possible.”

The General Assembly passed a law this year allowing the child care workers to unionize.

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Politics
9:04 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Task Force Issues Report to Coastal Cities: Prepare For More Extreme Weather

The town of Westerly was worried that it would still not be ready for the 2013 summer beach season after Superstorm Sandy.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

A White House panel says coastal communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy should prepare for future storms due to rising sea levels.

The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding task force has released a list of recommendations to help communities reduce future damage.

The Presidential task force report says that towns and cities near the coastline need to spend money now in order to avoid costly damage later.

That’s because climate change and rising sea levels are increasing the threat of extreme storms.

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Environment
8:45 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Searching RI For Evidence of the Asian Longhorned Beetle

Cindy Kwolek inspects a maple tree for the Asian Longhorned beetle in Cumberland, RI.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

Throughout the month of August, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has been searching for evidence of the dreaded Asian Longhorned Beetle. A species so destructive it could defoliate much of New England.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender went out in search of the beetle with the D.E.M. team.

  

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Politics
8:22 am
Tue August 20, 2013

State Republicans Point to Democrats as Unemployment Rises

State Republican leaders say Democrats have done little to ease Rhode Island's increasing unemployment.
Credit 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.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
8:39 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Health Insurance Debate Rages On As Obamacare Creeps Closer

HealthSource RI is scheduled to roll out its pricing plans this week.
Credit RIPR FILE

The debate over Obamacare rages from Providence to Pasadena. As the state moves closer to launching its health insurance exchange, Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay parses the arguments and traces the law’s Rhode Island roots.

Ask Rhode Island Republican State Chairman Mark Smiley what he thinks of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare and you’ll get a blunt answer:  He says, ``I hate it.’’

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Business
6:00 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Bottom Line:

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 Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg. They discuss the new campaign to market Rhode Island’s strengths; called “It’s All in Your Back Yard,” along with public reaction to the campaign.

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Politics
8:52 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Rhode Island Republicans Head to Boston For GOP Committee Meeting

A handful of GOP activists from Rhode Island are in Boston for a regional meeting of the Republican National Committee that wraps up today Friday.  The get-together offers an opportunity for networking and strategizing.

The Rhode Islanders in Boston include state GOP chairman Mark Smiley, Dave Talan of the Providence GOP, and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

Fung, who is Chinese-American, says the regional meeting offers a good opportunity to share ideas, and to make new acquaintances.

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RI News
8:22 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Despite National Trend Unemployment Persists in Rhode Island

Despite national trends showing unemployment trending downwards, Rhode Island's unemployment increased one-tenth of a percent in July.
Credit RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s jobless rate edged up slightly in July, from 8.8 percent to 8.9 percent.  It’s a source of frustration for state Labor Department officials who concede that at the current rate it will take several years for Rhode Island to get anywhere close to full employment.

Led by a sharp drop in the number of temporary jobs, Rhode Island’s jobless rate posted a one-tenth of one percent increase in July. Still, the 8.9 percent rate is 1.6 percent lower than a year ago.

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RI News
9:14 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Providence Bishop Announces Republican Party Affiliation

Bishop Thomas Tobin has been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, and has now announced he is a registered Republican.
Credit Courtesy Rhode Island Catholic Dioceses

The Bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin, said he has become a registered Republican.

Tobin told a group of Rhode Island Young Republicans he blamed himself and the Catholic Church for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

He also said Catholic lawmakers at the State house quote “let us down.”

The Dioceses of Providence wrote a "Letter to Catholics on the Approval of Same-Sex Marriage" which was published in the newspaper, Rhode Island Catholic Newspaper following the passage in May.

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Politics
8:52 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Conservative Group Praises Rhode Island's Pension Overhaul

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has received praise for her work on pension reform from a conservative government group.
Credit RIPR FILE

A conservative group is praising Rhode Island for overhauling its state pension plan in 2011. The changes made to the plan remain the subject of a lawsuit in Superior Court.

In a new report, the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, praises Rhode Island for making significant changes to reduce its long-term pension obligations. The Virginia-based group calls the changes a contrast from states that hold hearings and organize study groups without taking action.

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