Teresa Paiva Weed

House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed offered skeptical notes in response to requests Monday for state help to preserve the Central Coventry Fire District.

Superior Court Judge Brian Stern last week ordered the district to close April 11. The move came after voters in the district rejected a proposed tax increase.

The General Assembly Web site is adding live video streaming that will allow viewers to watch up to four committee meetings at the same time, as well as House and Senate sessions.

The content will be archived for viewing through the Web site, according to a news release:

Currently, Capitol TV airs a live House session and taped the Senate session to broadcast after. Without web-streaming, the channel could only broadcast one live committee meeting at a time.

A few years back, when lawmakers in states such as Vermont and Massachusetts approved gay marriage, the political chatter was always focused on whether a vote supporting marriage equality would kill a legislative career due to a backlash against those who approved gay unions.

Those who supported gay marriage in legislatures were rarely ousted from office for their votes.

A state Senate bill being filed Wednesday by Senator Frank Ciccone (D-Providence) calls for a statewide referendum to offer an up or down vote on same-sex marriage.

The bill is cosponsored by 10 other senators: Lou DiPalma (D-Middletown0; Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio; William Walaska (D-Warwick); Nicholas Kettle (R-Coventry); James Doyle (D-Pawtucket); Lou Raptakis (D-Coventry); Judiciary Chairman Michael McCaffrey (D-Warwick); Frank Lombardi (D-Cranston); Walter Felag (D-Warren); and David Bates (R-Barrington).

The timing was purely coincidental, but it's hard to imagine a sharper contrast in leadership styles than what Rhode Island saw this week from Governor Lincoln Chafee and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.

Rhode Island State House
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The leadership of the state Senate Tuesday unveiled a legislative package of 25 bills meant to improve Rhode Island’s economy.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The tiny city of Central Falls  is moving ahead Thursday evening with what is considered one of the toughest ethics reforms for a small municipality in the country,  even as efforts to restore state Ethics Commission oversight of the General Assembly continue to languish.

The Newport County Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement recognizing the positive economic impact same sex marriage brings to a community.  

While the statement stops short of endorsing marriage equality, it says that same sex marriage could have a substantial economic impact on Newport businesses, particularly the hospitality and wedding industries.  The statement ends by saying that Rhode Island is at a competitive disadvantage with our New England neighbors who already have marriage equality.

A group opposing same-sex marriage says it’s confident that the Rhode Island Senate will defeat legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry. The bill passed handily Thursday night in the House

Just minutes after the historic vote in the House, speaker Gordon Fox urged Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed to pass the bill in her chamber. There’s no word when the senate judiciary committee will take it up, and Paiva Weed opposes the legislation.

Senate President Terest Paiva Weed
courtesy of Teresa Paiva Weed

Same sex marriage has won overwhelming approval in the Rhode Island House. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what’s next in this historic debate.

If you don’t believe the political landscape in Rhode Island has undergone a seismic shift, you weren’t at McKim, Mead and White’s State House for the historic House vote on same sex marriage.  The measure won overwhelmingly on a 51 to 19 tally.

Same-sex marriage legislation has cleared its first hurdle in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The House Judiciary Committee approved marriage equality legislation proposed by Rep. Art Handy, D-Cranston on a unanimous vote. The historic move represents the first time any committee in either RI legislative chamber has approved a gay marriage measure.

Same-sex marriage bill moves to full RI House

Jan 22, 2013
Flo Jonic

A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island has cleared its first legislative hurdle. The House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved the legislation, paving the way for a full House vote later this week.

The crowd assembled for the same sex marriage vote erupted in applause and cheers when the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to pass the bill on to the full House.  The panel had heard hours of testimony. By the time it came to vote, only Committee chair Edith Ajello had anything left to say.

RI pols and guns

Jan 18, 2013

For once Rhode Island politicians have a chance at being part of the solution. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says even a small State House change on gun violence would resonate with voters.

Ian Donnis

A House Judiciary Committee hearing kicked off Tuesday with testimony from the lead sponsor of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, state Representative Art Handy (D-Cranston). He said it was the eleventh time he has introduced such legislation, but wasn't sure precisely how long similar bills have been filed. Handy said he thought the first was 18 years ago, but his point was really that the time has long since come to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples in Rhode Island.

A report released Tuesday morning by the state Senate and the business-backed Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council uses a color-coded system to assess the state's performance on different economic indicators and recommends a series of steps for improvingits underperforming economy.

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