scott mackay

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Social media continues its creep into every area of life. Once again, a Facebook post has become an issue in a Rhode Island lawsuit that has reached the Rhode Island Supreme Court, which has reinstated the unemployment benefits of a worker fired because of a social media post.

RIPR file photo

This week Rhode Island lawmakers unveiled a $9.2 billion spending plan that avoids a major tax increase, while closing a $134 million deficit. How did they do it? Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison turns to our political analyst Scott MacKay.

Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell told lawyers meeting in Providence today that he is concerned that arrests of undocumented immigrants inside or near state court buildings could lead to  people skipping out on court appearances.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s economy keeps chugging along, with an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in May, which means the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment was below the national rate of 4.3 percent.

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The two Rhode Island lawmakers who are leading the effort to legalize marijuana in the Ocean State have offered a compromise they call “incremental legalization.”

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Banning smoking downtown would be an attack on the homeless and a waste of time for city police, who ought to be dealing with real crime, said Elorza.

In his veto message, Elorza said, while this “`ordinance is ostensibly about smoking, its true target is the homeless community. Homelessness is a serious problem in Providence, just as it is in cities across the country. As you are aware, the causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and include substance abuse, mental illness and, of course, economic challenges.”’

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The Rhode Island Supreme Court has upheld a Superior Court ruling that stated that Warren taxpayers were shortchanged by the Bristol-Warren Regional School District to the tune of about $2 million in the 2014-2015 district budget.

The high court decision, released today, states that Warren correctly argued that under the state’s school aid funding formula should result in a smaller contribution to the two-town school district because Warren is the poorer community.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has called for indicted city council president Luis Aponte to step down as the council’s leader, but two council leaders, President  Pro Tempore Sabina Matos and Majority Leader Bryan Principe, ducked the issue in statements today.

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A grass-roots campaign has pushed Providence City Councilor Kevin Jackson from office in an overwhelming, unprecedented recall victory on the capital city’s East Side, marking the first time any city political figure has been ousted from office through a recall effort.

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Providence College alum Roy Peter Clark, known as “America’s Writing Coach” will deliver  the commencement address at PC’s 99th commencement, on Sunday, May 21st at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence.

Clark, from the class of 1970, will receive an honorary doctorate of journalism. While at the college, he was managing editor of the student-run newspaper, the Cowl. After his graduation from PC, he earned a master of arts degree and  doctorate in English.

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A former employee of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for stealing unemployment funds.

Ambulai R. Sheku, 37, of Providence, a onetime senior employment interviewer with DLT, had entered a guilty plea to charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud, theft of government funds and accessing a government computer to commit fraud.

Greg Pare / Rhode Island General Assembly

Former State Sen. William Walaska of Warwick, a Democrat who represented Warwick for more than two decades in the chamber, died this morning after a protracted battle with cancer. He was 71.

Walaska, who ran an auto parts business, was a graduate of La Salle Academy and Providence College. He comfortably  won reelection after reelection until 2016, when too sick to campaign vigorously,  he lost the Democratic primary to Jeanine Calkin, who won the general election and is now in the Senate.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

R.I. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has hired political operative Joe Caiazzo to work on his 2018 reelection campaign. Caiazzo, a Stoneham, Mass. native, is no stranger to Rhode Island politics – he was a top campaign Rhode Island aide to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. In the general election, Caiazzo worked in Rhode Island for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Sanders comfortably won the primary and Clinton easily carried the Ocean State in the general election.

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A group of Roger Williams University students who are studying abroad at the University of Westminster this semester have reported they are safe after the attack that left four people dead near Parliament in London.

Courtesy Red Bandana Fund on Facebook

The Red Bandana Fund, which honors the life and work of the late Richard Walton, is once again seeking nominations for the Red Bandana Award. This award is given annually to a person or organization who embodies the work and spirit of Walton, a journalist, teacher and activist for labor, peace and social justice.

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