RI general assembly

Rhode Island’s General Assembly today will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Rep. Katherine Kazarian, D-East Providence, will introduce a resolution calling on President Obama to formally recognize the genocide.

In a joint ceremony with the Armenian National Committee of Rhode Island, the ceremony will feature clergy from the state’s three Armenian churches, followed by the presentation of colors and the singing of Mer Hairenick, the Armenian national anthem. A speaking program is also planned.

Some good news from the Rhode Island Department of Revenue: The latest budget numbers from state government show state revenues up nearly $50 million ahead of projections.

Rosemary Gallogly, the outgoing director of revenue, said in a statement that year-to-date revenues are up about $47 million above the estimates.

The revenue growth has been fueled largely by an increase in personal income tax money. That could be a sign that the economy is gaining traction as Rhode Island’s slow recovery from the recession picks up steam.

Don Borman

  If the state gives financial incentives to Providence to move the Pawtucket Red Sox from McCoy Stadium to a new stadium to be built on the Providence waterfront, Pawtucket plans to seek state money to raze and redevelop McCoy.

That’s the word from Tony Pires, administration director for Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, after a meeting today with members of the Pawtucket City Council and the General Assembly’s Pawtucket delegation.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, a Rhode Island General Assembly member has been arrested.Rhode Island Public Radio's political analyst Scott MacKay on why the charges against Rep. Joseph Almeida don’t fit the usual pattern.

The Rhode Island state police have nabbed Providence State Rep. Almeida for allegedly misappropriating about $6,000 in campaign money for personal use.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Big changes are in the offing for Rhode Island public education policy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what’s at stake.

After six years as Rhode Island’s top education guru, education commissioner Deborah Gist is headed to her native Tulsa to become school superintendent. Eva-Marie Mancuso, chairwoman of the state education board, is out. Barbara Cottam is slated to become the new leader of the board as Gov. Gina Raimondo puts her stamp on arguably the most important mission of government, educating  the young.

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.

RIPR FILE

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.

RIPR FILE

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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