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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.