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  • June 07, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    That question was put forward in a story I wrote for the Phoenix in February 2005. Now, more than two years later, Common Cause of Rhode Island is hosting a forum tonight to ask whether the state is ready for Fair Elections, the new name for the campaign-finance reform backed by the good government group. In short,

    The proposal would equalize funding in races between publicly backed candidates and better financed, privately supported candidates by topping off the "Clean" candidates with additional funds.

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  • June 07, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    The aforementioned Jones offers a deep look at the second-term hurdles facing Carcieri, who took the state by storm as a political newcomer in 2002.

    Carcieri’s first headache has been the state budget. It’s a mess, thanks to the ever-increasing cost of government, combined with the loss of potential revenue because of tax cuts engineered by Carcieri and legislative Democrats.

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  • June 06, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    It's on for Friday at 2 pm, after a series of secret talks.

    Meanwhile, a budget march to the State House, from Federal Hill, is slated for today at 5:30 pm.

  • May 24, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    As expected, the General Assembly has passed a measure to make medical marijuana legal on an ongoing basis in Rhode Island. The legislature is expected to override a gubernatorial veto.

    Te-Ping Chen recently offered a look in the Phoenix at the surprisingly quiet fallout of implementing medical marijuana in RI.

  • May 11, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    The concern about the state's growing use of privately contracted employees has grown into a full-fledged frittata, and for good reason.

    From his emergence on the political scene in 2002, Carcieri touted his ability to bring more efficiency, common sense, and accountability to state government. The surfacing of the overly generous contract for a DOT clerk, even though it involves federal funds, makes one wonder why it wasn't discovered sooner.

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  • May 10, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    As preliminary moves start to take place for the 2010 political season, House Majority Leader Gordon Fox is a potential candidate for mayor of Providence, although he tells N4N that his current preference would be to succeed Speaker William J. Murphy.

    Murphy -- if he sticks with a self-imposed eight-year term limit as House leader -- would yield the post in January 2011.

    Read More

  • May 08, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Just when it seemed like the oversight conflict between Governor Carcieri and the state Senate was going to cause more sparks, the governor's administration is moving to lower the tension.

    In a letter sent yesterday to Senator Michael Lenihan, chairman of the Government Oversight Committee, J.R. Pagliarini, the gov's deputy chief of staff, said he "was writing to establish mutually-acceptable plans to enable the Senate to continue its inquiry into the state Purchasing Division.

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  • May 04, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Interesting crowd last night for state Representative David Segal's (D-Providence) fundraiser at Nick-a-Nee's. Aside from assorted advocates (Matt Auten, Peter Asen), neighborhood activists (David Riley), artists (Bert Crenca, Mimo Riley) and scribes (Scott MacKay, yours truly), there was a strong showing from the Green-turned-Democrat's House colleagues, including good sports Republican Minority Leader Bob Watson and Minority Whip Nick Gorham.

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  • May 03, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    This week, as the General Assembly votes to make permanent Rhode Island's medical marijuana law, Te-Ping Chen reports in the Phoenix that the measure's implementation has taken place with relatively few snags or problems:

    In January 2006, the General Assembly resoundingly overrode Governor Donald L. Carcieri’s veto, thereby making medical marijuana legal in Rhode Island.

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  • April 30, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Having been away for a week, N4N will ease back into the blogosphere by bringing attention to two pieces from last week's Phoenix.

    Brian C. Jones offered a characteristically astute take on the big picture crossroads facing Rhode Island as it faces a serious budget deficit.

    On a lighter note, I wrote about how Erica Sagrans, a former Phoenix and RI Future contributor, isn't the only staffer in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office with a Rhode Island link.

    Read More

  • April 16, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    News-hungry wretch that I am, N4N ventured out to the local Cumby's yesterday to secure a Providence Sunday Journal after experiencing the problems described in the previous post. It was a good thing that I did, for the ProJo ran off its second consecutive strong Sunday paper in two weeks.

    For my money, the best and most enterprising piece was Karen Lee Ziner's tough story about the troubled history of "Carmelo Kercado, the federal government's inspector at the New Bedford factory that was raided last month .

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  • April 06, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    As forecast here last month, Steve Peoples has gotten the nod to succeed the departed Scott Mayerowitz in the ProJo's State House bureau, and he started on the job this week. Congratulations, Steve. You've got what we call a target-rich environment.

  • April 04, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    It seems as if former Senate president William Irons and the Rhode Island Ethics Commission are digging in for a longer fight.

    Irons, of course, went through an abrupt change of circumstance in 2003. At the start of that year, he had been in the right place to win the new post of Senate president; he looked good in comparison to the scandal-tarnished House of Representatives; and he was trying to balance the authority of Senate and House leaders on the powerful Joint Committee on Legislatives Services (JCLS).

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  • March 30, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    N4N tends to agree with those who say the 2003 Station fire disaster caused an overreaction in new laws and regulation. Representatives Joseph Trillo (R-Warwick) and Peter Ginaitt (D-Warwick) discuss this topic during an appearance Sunday on Newsmakers, broadcast at 5:30 AM on Channel 12 and at 10 AM on Fox 64. Also, Providence City Councilman Miguel Luna appears on the show to discuss immigration and his proposal for making Providence a sanctuary city.

    Read More

  • March 21, 2007
    By Ian Donnis

    Joel Rawson, executive editor of the Providence Journal, recently offered his view that the full details of the February 2003 Station fire disaster in West Warwick will never be told. Brian C. Jones has the details.

    As Brian notes, it's a stunning declaration:

    Rawson’s comments came during a session sponsored by Access/Rhode Island, an open-government coalition, and URI’s journalism department.

    Read More

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