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A Providence lawmaker has withdrawn a bill that would have provided explicit protections for transgender people to use public bathrooms. State Representative Edith Ajello said the state’s current law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity provides enough protection for transgender people. 

Ajello said she came to the conclusion after speaking with local LGBT advocates, and seeing the letter from the Obama Administration directing schools to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The House Finance Committee plans this Tuesday to begin a series of hearings on community service grants.

In Support Of Syrian Refugees, Hundreds Drown Out Opposition Rally

Feb 23, 2016
John Bender / RIPR

Hundreds of demonstrators packed the statehouse Monday chanting “refugees are welcome here.” The demonstration in support of Syrian refugees included Sterck Zaza, who emigrated from Syria to West Warwick as a child. 

“I am here as a mother, a sister, a friend,” said Zaza, who was close to tears a. “I support anyone who comes to this country in peace. And that’s where these refugees are coming from. They are coming for peace. That’s all they want is peace. And they’re my brothers, and they’re my sisters.”

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The General Assembly opens its new session Tuesday. Governor Raimondo’s plan to use truck tolls to pay for bridge improvements will be among the top issues during the legislative session.

Opponents of truck tolls plan to stage a 3 pm rally at the State House this afternoon. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed recently sat down in her State House office, for the final installment in our series of year-end interviews with top state officials.

RIPR FILE

Governor Gina Raimondo is using the words “Christmas tree” in connection with a holiday celebration at the State House. That’s in contrast to the initial approach used by former governor Lincoln Chafee.

In Governor Chafee’s first year in office, in 2011, he called the tree in the State House rotunda a “holiday tree.” Chafee maintained his approach was in keeping with tradition, but critics said the governor was stepping on the spirit of the holiday.

John Bender / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo now says she will welcome Syrian refugees, if the Obama administration asks her to. The statement came after competing rallies at the Statehouse as public debate over the issue continues.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A legislative committee plans to continue its examination of 38 Studios Tuesday. The latest oversight hearings were sparked by the release of a trove of documents related to the failed video game company.

The committee is slated to continue a presentation on the timeline of events leading to the state’s investment in 38 Studios.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo and the state’s congressional delegation were on hand Monday to announce a $25 million initiative to help low income Rhode Islanders. The money comes from state, federal and private donations. It will be distributed by the Rhode Island chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

The money will be doled out over the next twelve months in the form of grants and loans for affordable housing, daycare and education, and public safety.

Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna was honored posthumously with the "Rhode Island Cross" this week. The Green Beret died in action overseas in August.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo met privately with the parents of Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna  Wednesday. She presented them with the flag that flew at half-staff atop the Statehouse following the news of McKenna’s death.

Aaron Read / RIPR

A coalition of researchers from Rhode Island’s colleges and universities have released another round of reports on the state’s economy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what will happen to the latest round of research.

If Rhode Island were a bench, it would splinter under the weight of all the blue-ribbon commissions and consultant-generated reports that have for decades weighed in on what ails our state’s economy.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Secular and religious factions are forming over proposed “right to die” legislation making its way through the Senate. A hearing on the proposed bill is slated for Thursday. The proposed legislation would allow terminally ill, mentally sound patients to end their lives with the help of a physician.

The Rhode Island Catholic Conference is a vocal critic of the legislation, saying it violates the sanctity of life.

Newport Third Graders Lobby For Official State Insect

May 1, 2015
St. Michael's Country Day School

A group of third graders in Newport hope to convince lawmakers to name an official state insect.  The students at St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport want to make the American Burying Beetle the Ocean State’s official bug.

Their teacher Linda Spinney says the students will make their case at the Statehouse Thursday before lawmakers.

“We’re taking the school bus up there today. It will be a late night for them but I think their parents want them to really see the process and where it takes you when your voices are heard.”

John Bender / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo marked her 100th day in office Thursday. Raimondo is taking part in several events to mark the occasion.

    

Along with two other appearances, Governor Raimondo is celebrating the 100th anniversary of two northern Rhode Island businesses, Yacht Club Soda and Navigant Credit Union.

Raimondo won election in November as the state’s first female governor. Since taking office, she’s dealt with severe winter weather and touted her proposed budget as a way to revitalize Rhode Island’s economy.

  Executives in the clean energy sector will meet with lawmakers Tuesday at the statehouse to showcase their growing industry. The event is organized by the New England Clean Energy Council. Coordinator Charity Pennock said many lawmakers lack information about what the clean energy industry does.

“So having people come in who are running businesses, who are doing work in the state, really describe what they’re doing and how they’re both developing their companies and participating in the economy is important,” said Pennock.

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