RI General Asembly

On Politics
2:08 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Scott MacKay Commentary: Time For A Rhode Island Pension Deal

Votes are set to be cast this week for a settlement in the state's pension lawsuit.
Credit RIPR FILE

Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.

It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared  the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.

Read more
Scott MacKay Commentary
4:22 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Scott MacKay Commentary: Raimondo's Budget Politics

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looks at the politics of our new governor’s taxing and spending plan.

It’s difficult to argue with the rhetoric behind our new governor’s $8.6 billion budget plan. In her televised address from the Statehouse last Thursday evening, Raimondo outlined her goals in a convincing fashion, hitting all the high notes.  Her smorgasbord of ideas provides a little something for everyone.

Read more
Health Care
9:01 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Lawmakers Try Again To Legalize Marijuana

Cannabis plant
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Rhode Island lawmakers have once again introduced legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Proponents want to tax and regulate the drug like alcohol.

Lawmakers have been trying to pass marijuana legalization laws for years. This time they can point to the experiences of several other states that have already passed such laws. The Senate bill would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to have up to an ounce of pot, or grow a couple of plants at home. It would also allow retailers to sell marijuana, as long as they include a safety warning.

Read more
On Politics
3:24 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Fox Broke Statehouse Iron Rule

Gordon Fox on leaves U.S. District court following his arraignment Tuesday.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

Former House Speaker Gordon Fox has admitted that he violated the law by converting campaign money to personal use and accepting a bribe to wire a liquor license for a Thayer Street bar that the neighbors weren’t  too keen on having near their homes.

But in Rhode Island political circles, the biggest rule he broke was the iron, if unofficial, Statehouse cliché: Don’t take a dime while you are serving in the General Assembly. Then cash in for as much as you can make later.

Read more
On Politics
4:46 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

R.I.P.: State House Reporter Jim Baron's Service

Veteran Rhode Island political reporter Jim Baron was remembered this afternoon as a journalist of great integrity, ability, dedication and humor at a celebration of his life at the Bellows Funeral Chapel in Lincoln, R.I.

Baron, who died January 5 at age 57 after a protracted illness, was a reporter for the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call whose career spanned more than three decades, most of it spent covering Rhode Island politics and the General Assembly.

Read more
On Politics
4:22 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: What's Behind The CVS-Boston Connection

CVS Health headquarters in Woonsocket.
Credit CVS Health

What to make of the news that CVS Health, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, is opening a high-tech center in Boston.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

Rhode Island-based CVS Health employs more than 7,000 workers in our state. The pharmacy giant calls Woonsocket home, but the recent news that it is opening a high-tech center in Boston sent shivers through segments of the business and  economic development community in a state with New England’s highest unemployment rate.

Read more
On Politics
2:45 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Providence East Side: Where democracy flourishes in House District 4

While pols and pundits lament the lack of competition in R.I. House elections across Rhode Island – almost half of all lawmakers are unopposed – that isn’t the case on Providence’s East Side House District 4.

The seat opened up after the incumbent, former House Speaker Gordon Fox, stepped away after his capitol office and home were raided by state and federal agents in March. Fox hasn’t been charged with any crimes yet, but he wisely decided against running again.

Three well-qualified Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination in the September 9 primary.

Read more
On Politics
5:38 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

RI ConCon Issue Simmers At Statehouse

A battle is brewing over a Constitutional Convention at the Statehouse. Some view it as an important legislative tool, others a way to easily put controversial measures on the ballot.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

As the battle over whether to hold a Rhode Island Constitutional Convention simmers on the back burner in the dog days of August, the debate is taking shape.

Every 10 years, Rhode Island voters must decide whether to hold a so-called ConCon, which is comprised of citizen delegates elected from Rhode Island’s 75 House districts. This time, the discussion is largely along ideological lines, with more conservative groups favoring a convention and liberal and moderate organizations opposed.

Read more
On Politics
1:01 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Mother of Gordon Fox dies at 92

The mother of former House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, died this morning. Mary Fox, who lived with her son at his East Side home for many years, was 92.

A domestic worker, Mary Fox was known for her devotion to family and her good nature. She lived with her son until just a few weeks ago, when she went to a nursing home facility. Funeral service plans have not been completed, according to House spokesman Larry Berman.

On Politics
2:46 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: The R.I. And Mass. Casino Conundrum

Slots are the only attraction at Newport Grand, but a group is trying to bring table games to the casino.
Credit RIPR FILE

It’s election year in Rhode Island. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the one issue that never goes away in our small state – casino gambling.

There’s an old gallows humor joke about banks and creditors. If you owe the bank $30,000, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $300 million, you own the bank.

Read more

Pages