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  • September 07, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Massachusetts adopted a "foundation-based" school-funding formula about 14 years ago. Despite widespread agreement about the flaws of property tax-based school funding here in Rhode Island, the outlook for a new approach remains ambiguous.

    And with the state continuning to face projected budget deficits, the labor activity seen this week with teachers might just be a harbinger of more of the same.

    Read More

  • August 31, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Departing Representative Peter Ginaitt of Warwick, who has attracted bipartisan plaudits, leads the cast of guests on Newsmakers this week. (The show is broadcast Sunday, at 5:30 am on Channel 12, and at 10 am on Fox 64.)

    Ginaitt shared an interesting anecdote off-camera. After being elected during a special election in 1992, he put the usual legislative license plate on a family car.

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  • August 30, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    URI's Maureen Moakley and I discuss "casino creep" in Rhode Island, the gov's privatization push, the Burrillville teachers' strike, a drop in childhood poverty, Peter Ginaitt's departure, and the imminent release of Steve Laffey's book. The segment will be broadcast tomorrow morning, at 5:35 and 7:35, on WRNI (1290 AM).

  • August 30, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    After getting manhandled on the privatization issue by the General Assembly during the end of the last legislative session, Governor Carcieri appears to be playing hardball. As the ProJo reported yesterday, his administration has hired Hurley of America to replace scores of housekeeping employees at Eleanor Slater Hospital.

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  • August 27, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Citing the demands of a new job, Representative Peter T. Ginaitt of Warwick, a Democratic member of the House since 1992, announced today that he is leaving the chamber, effective August 31.

    According to a legislative press release, Ginaitt, the director of emergency preparedness for Rhode Island Hospital, is leaving to take on a similar job for the Lifespan hospital network.

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  • August 21, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    When former Senate president Bill Irons and Joseph Montalbano tried to dislodge ethics charges from the Rhode Island Ethics Commission, it represented a continuation of war by other means.

    As I wrote when describing difficult times at the commission in the years leading up to 2002:

    In a state where residents have no small amount of ambivalence about public corruption, it's safe to assume that most people have been left with, at most, a vague sense of the ethics issue as another prototypical Rhode Island political quagmire.

    Read More

  • July 16, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    UPDATE II: Let's go to the tape.

    Here's part of the relevant transcript from 10 News Conference, as provided by the senator's office:

    TARICANI: Let’s talk a little bit about your future, we’ve asked you this before, should a Democrat get elected president in ’08 and should you be requested or nominated to be Secretary of Defense, would you accept that position?

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  • July 13, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Fresh from issuing a new report about the rising impact of taxes in Rhode Island, RIPEC's Gary Sasse makes an appearance on Newsmakers this week. With a stuctural deficit of $400 million expected for 2009 through 2012, Sasse says the time to reform state spending is now.

    As one example of inefficiency in spending, Sasse cited how Rhode Island has 39 assessors -- and how a study group back in the late '60s/early '70s had recommended reducing this number to five!

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  • July 05, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    The ProJo's Ed Fitzpatrick caught up yesterday with the initial fallout of Rhode Island's cost-saving move to try 17-year-olds as adults:

    If he’d been arrested on Saturday, he would have been treated as a juvenile and sent to Family Court and possibly to the state Training School.

    But because he was busted on Sunday — the day Rhode Island began trying 17-year-olds as adults — Johny Joseph went to District Court and was sent to the Adult Correctional Institutions.

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  • July 02, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    When it comes to diagnosing the right size of Rhode Island's state government, who's got it right?

    Is it Travis Rowley, who, with an op-ed in Friday's ProJo, rushed to the defense of Gio Cicione's ill-fated lawn sign campaign, in which the elimination of 1000 state jobs were hopefully termed "a start"?

    Or do state Child Advocate Jametta O.

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  • June 28, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    [A balky server at the office has delayed my blogging for the day, but here goes . . . ]

    This question, in the aftermath of the General Assembly's passage of the budget last week, is the guiding frame for a rountable published in today's Phoenix:

    At a time when most state budgets are flush with surpluses, Rhode Island’s fiscal house remains in disrepair.

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  • June 27, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    The Phoenix reported earlier this year on how a statewide wireless network, the first in the nation, could be a boon for economic development in Rhode Island. Now, the ProJo's Tim Barmann has the details of how the progress of the network has stalled, at least for now.

    A plan by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to build a statewide wireless computer network is now in question after the General Assembly chose not to back a $28.

    Read More

  • June 26, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Maybe the curse of the AG's office in Rhode Island is over. Having served as the state's top prosecutor didn't hurt Sheldon Whitehouse last year, and Patrick Lynch very much remains in play for the 2010 gubernatorial race even while dealing with the contentious issues usually faced by AGs here.

    Still, it was no secret that the General Assembly was planning to use tobacco money to plug a big hole in the budget.

    Read More

  • June 25, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Sheila Dormody from Clean Water Action reports that the medical waste bill that had raised the concern of environmentalists was referred back to committee on the House floor, effectively killing it for this year.

    In related news, environmental advocates are praising the legislature for passing legislation that will govern implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the regional program to restrict and reduce global warming emissions from power plants.

    Read More

  • June 22, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    The medical waste bill described here yesterday was approved by the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, on a 7-4 vote.

    Voting for the bill were Representatives Ginaitt, Gallison, Malik, McNamara, Sullivan, Vaudreuil, and Walsh. Reps. Story, Ehrhardt, Segal, and Handy voted in opposition.

    Matt Auten of Environment Rhode Island calls the bill "a sweetheart deal for processors of out-of-state medical waste, but it's bad for the environment and consumers.

    Read More

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