scott mackay

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A push to legalize marijuana – once again – has returned to the Statehouse.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses what has become a perennial issue.

Except for speeding on Rhode Island’s roads, is there a law more frequently scoffed at by citizens than the ban on recreational use of marijuana?
As the General Assembly again tackles the prickly issue of legalizing marijuana, it is well beyond the time for rigorous study of a policy that too often devolves into cliché and anecdotal opinion.

Love, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and star in the Academy-Award winning documentary, 20 feet from stardom, will deliver the commencement address at Providence College’s 79th graduation exercises on Sunday, May 17. The event will be held  at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Love’s musical career began at age 10, when she sang in a gospel choir at a church where her father was a preacher. She has credited her gospel beginnings as having a big influence on her carer. In the 1950s, Love joined a group called the Blossoms and quickly became the lead singer.

Bernard Sanders, Vermont’s independent, left-leaning U.S. Senator,  is preparing to launch a longshot campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign on Thursday, according to sources close to the senator.

A Sanders entry would provide Democratic primary voters with a liberal alternative to presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, who once served with Sanders in the Senate. Bernie Sanders, as he is universally known, is widely popular in Vermont, a state he has represented in the U.S. House and Senate since his first election to the House in 1990.

The old Rhode Island cliché is that only the best families in our state can trace their lineage all the way back to a slave trader or rum-runner. One of those families, the DeWolfs of Bristol, have dug deep into their family’s dark past as the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history.

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So Twin River’s parent company wants to build a new casino in Tiverton.   The idea is likely to raise a few eyebrows, but RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it  has to be done.

There are many Rhode Islanders who don’t believe that state government should be in the business of promoting gambling. Those critics point out the lottery games and slot-machine emporiums that speckle New England like daffodils these days are little more than cheap taxes on the poor.

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  The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is honoring RI Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, with the organization’s Susan L. Farmer Award.

The award will honor Paiva Weed for her leadership role as the first female Senate president and for her support for the state’s Temporary Caregivers Insurance program, which was a top priority of the Women’s Fund of RI.

Paiva Weed became the first women to hold the post of Senate president in 2009. She is a lawyer and Providence College graduate.

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  The 195 Redevelopment Commission has decided to open to the public Monday’s meeting with the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox, who want to move the team from McCoy Stadium to a new ballpark that would be built on about 9 acres of former 195 land on the Providence riverfront.

Principal owners Larry Lucchino and James Skeffington are scheduled to discuss the stadium plans with commission members. The meeting was originally scheduled as an executive session that was to have been closed to the public.

The debate over Rhode Island taxpayer support for a new stadium for the PawSox in Providence has started. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay talks about state government’s next move.

Listening to the opening salvos in the Providence stadium debate reminds one of William Faulkner’s dictum about the American South: "The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.’’

The last budget crafted by former Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s administration and the General Assembly seems to be holding up fairly well, according to the latest revenue assessment by the Rhode Island  Department of Revenue.

The official state bean-counters say that adjusted total general revenues are up about $61 million more than expected in the current budget year, which ends on June 30. This is good news for a state that has been slowly emerging from the recession.

The 2.6 percent increase in revenues is fueled by increases in the personal income tax and the corporate tax.

One interest group that is already lining up support for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence: Organized labor.

Scott Duhamel, secretary-treasurer of the Rhode Island Building Trades Council emerged from a press briefing this afternoon by James Skeffington, president of the team and quickly said the building trades unions are planning to be vocal backers of the deal.

``We are all in, 100 percent,’’ said Duhamel. ``This may end up being our number one legislative priority this year.’’

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Debra Messing, the East-Greenwich raised actress known for her role in the ``Will and Grace’’ television sitcom and Woonsocket Jazz club owner John Chan will both be honored with Pell Awards at Trinity Reparatory Theater’s annual tribute to the arts and the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.

The ceremonies are scheduled for June 15 at Trinity Rep, with a reception to follow at the nearby Providence Public Library.

John Bender / RIPR

The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities visited Rhode Island Monday. 

The agency has invested millions of dollars in Rhode Island cultural institutions including the Rhode Island Historical Society and Brown University. NEH also has roots in Rhode Island. It was created thanks in part to a bill sponsored by the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell. NEH Chair William Adams spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay about that history and why he thinks the federal government should continue funding for the humanities.
 

Major Gen. Kevin R. McBride, adjutant general of Rhode Island, is retiring in June, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced in a news release.

McBride has served as adjutant general since his appointment by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee in 2010, and took over command of the 3,300 member Rhode Island National Guard.

Cade Tompkins Projects

Lincoln Chafee’s announcement that he is seriously considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential  nomination brings to mind sports broadcaster Al Michaels’ famous call from the USA hockey team’s upset victory over the USSR in the 1980 winter Olympics: Do you Believe in Miracles?

That’s pretty much what is would take for Chafee to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced that he is considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president.

The 62-year old former U.S. Senator and governor said in an interview that he wants to give Democratic voters a choice for president. ``The Republicans have lots of choices, I feel that Democratic voters deserve choices too.’’

Chafee said the launch of his exploratory committee will be made via videos posted on his website, Chafee2016.com

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