RI general assembly

The Rhode Island General Assembly’s Rev. Dr. Martln Luther King Jr., celebration will be held on Monday, January 19th at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Cranston Street in Providence.

The official celebration of the civil rights leader’s life is free and open to the public, says Rep. Raymond Hull, D-Providence, chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission.

Hull will serve as master of ceremonies for the event and Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, will also have a speaking role and will lead a Pledge of Non-Violence.

Continuing the themes of her gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Gina Raimondo took office as Rhode Island’s first female governor this afternoon with a pledge to work diligently to improve the state’s struggling economy.

Raimondo, 43, a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard University graduate, projected optimism and a can-do attitude as she delivered her inaugural address under snow flurries and a January chill on the south steps of the State House.

It looks like the RhodeMap RI debate is much ado about not so much. Those who oppose this largely benign economic and social blueprint have blown the results so far out of proportion as to be ludicrous.

Rhode Island bade farewell and paid tribute today to former state Sen. Lila Sapinsley, a liberal Republican who became the first woman Senate Minority Leader, at funeral services at Temple Beth-El  in the Providence East Side district that she so ably represented.

Sapinsley, who died earlier this week at her Laurelmead home at 92, was eulogized by Rabbi Leslie Y. Gutterman as a path breaking woman of compassion, accomplishment and conviction.

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Rhode Island’s Democratic General Assembly leaders want to exempt pensions and social security from state income taxes. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if this makes sense in our cash-strapped state government.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, have both said that one of their top priorities when the Assembly convenes in January is legislation that would end income taxes on pensions and social security.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Islanders have elected a governor with far less than a majority of the vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can do about this.

The boisterous cheers among delirious Democrats crammed into the Providence Biltmore’s 17th floor ballroom on election night have barely quieted. You can’t blame them for hoisting drinks and shouting themselves hoarse:  Gina Raimondo became the first woman to win election as Rhode Island's  governor and the only Democrat to capture the state’s highest elected office since 1992.

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO’s COPE (Committee on Political Education) convention that was held in Providence last Friday decided to put the labor organization on record against Republican Allan Fung’s campaign for governor.

From the No Republican Ever Lost a Gubernatorial Primary Vote by Slamming the RI General Assembly Department: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung blasted the Assembly in a campaign press release today, saying the annual late rush to legislation created too many ``missed opportunities for Rhode Island.’’

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Eliminating the master lever in Rhode Island elections is picking up steam in the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says getting rid of straight party voting may be much ado about not much.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to end the so-called master lever, a relic of the state’s urban political machine past. A conga line of statewide elected politicians, from Gov. Lincoln Chafee down to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, support this change.

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What’s worse than the 38 Studios fiasco for Rhode Island ‘s political and economic reputation? RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay points to the aftermath.

It’s been nearly four years since  then- Gov. Donald Carcieri, the state Economic Development Corporation and the General Assembly foisted the disaster that is 38 Studios on Rhode Island taxpayers.

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Colleges, even state colleges, are too expensive and beyond the financial reach of some students. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst  Scott MacKay on why college is still a great investment, both for taxpayers and students.

Fast upon us 'tis season of Lilacs, caps and gowns and those desultory commencement speeches about life being a journey. For too many seniors these days, the sheepskin comes with an avalanche of student loan debt.

Nick Mattiello has only been House Speaker for two days. So it may not be fair to criticize his committee and leadership choices; he had to throw together his team very quickly.

But it hasn’t escaped notice that Mattiello’s new team has given women lawmakers short shrift.

The new speaker has named three committee chairs: Ray Gallison, D-Bristol, takes over the House Finance Committee; Cale Keable, D-Burrillville, assumes control of the Judiciary Committee; and Robert Craven, D-North Kingstown becomes the new chairman of the Municipal Affairs Committee.

The stench of corruption has once again encircled the Rhode Island State House. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to try something different on Smith Hill.

Unless you have been living in one of those 1950s-era nuclear bomb shelters, or the old East Side tunnel, you’ve probably heard of the latest Statehouse scandal. The state police and federal IRS and FBI agents raided the offices of House Speaker Gordon Fox 10 days ago. The next day he abruptly resigned.

UPDATE: Williams (Labor) Ajello (Judiciary) Melo (Finance) out as committee chairs as Mattiello takes over.

As has been the case since its days as a British colony, Rhode Island’s florid political culture is once again enmeshed in upheaval because of chicanery in high places.

The abrupt demise of Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox of Providence means another episode of   `As the Rhode Island Statehouse turns.’

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Island is attracting national attention for all the wrong reasons. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts about the federal raid on Speaker Gordon Fox’s office.

The specter of corruption in high political office haunts Rhode Island. As it has seemingly forever. For a state still in the grip of the recession, there are few things worse than the scene at the Statehouse Friday.

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