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  • September 21, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    ProJo columnist Bob Kerr writes in his column today on the Daniel Gordon drama:

    ...we really do have to ask ourselves how a guy who did really bad stuff and spent time in jail managed to get elected without anyone taking a hard look at a very ugly history.

    It is a good question. But I'd ask another. Two actually: who, exactly, should have unearthed Gordon's history? And who should be tasked with the responsibility of vetting candidates going forward?

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  • June 27, 2011
    By Dan McGowan

    As you slog your way through a marathon budget session on a Friday night, it’s nearly impossible not to dream up every possible scenario in which you could leave the State House at a decent hour. (What if I pull the fire alarm? Could the Speaker speak if I stole his gavel? Is it possible to pay the interns to go on strike?)

    The best idea I came up with would have to come directly from press row.

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  • May 03, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    And it is so. From the ProJo:

    The 10-member House Republican bloc has voted to replace Robert A. Watson as House minority leader, a week-and-a-half after his arrest in Connecticut on driving-under-the-influence and marijuana possession charges.

    After a closed-door meeting, the GOP caucus announced its choice of Republican Rep.

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  • April 27, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders), which has been active on the gay marriage push in Rhode Island, is slamming openly gay Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, who has announced that he is abandoning the push for a same-sex nuptials bill in the face of Senate opposition and backing a civil unions bill.

    The legal advocacy group is particularly troubled that Fox cited the federal Defense of Marriage Act in a letter to colleagues on the matter.

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  • April 27, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Nicholas Alahverdian, who endured an awful run in the state's child welfare system, is hosting a benefit concert tonight to raise money for his push to reform the system. The show, featuring The Silks and Last Good Tooth, is at RiRa, 50 Exchange Terrace, in Providence at 8 in the p.m.

  • March 08, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    As details of the governor's proposed budget start to leak out, a mixed reaction in the upper reaches of the General Assembly.

    Chafee's proposal to lower the sales tax rate from 7 to 6 percent, while broadening the items covered, has some appeal - the 1 percent drop can be sold to the public, perhaps, even if more items are covered.

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  • February 28, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Last week, I wrote a cover story for the Phoenix on the Smith Hill battle over same-sex marriage.

    Partisans on both sides are focused, at the moment, on the lobbying effort in the General Assembly. But hanging over that effort is the prospect of electioneering, by advocates and opponents alike, in the 2012 races.

    Some of the senators I spoke with voiced doubt that a single issue could make or break their re-election efforts.

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  • February 24, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    I've got an inside peek at the same-sex marriage fight roiling the State House in today's Phoenix. And there was plenty that landed on the cutting-room floor. One thing to keep an eye on in the General Assembly: the amendment process.

    Same-sex marriage opponents, in both houses, are likely to propose an amendment that would send the question to the voters.

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  • February 23, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    A new poll from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling has 50 percent of Rhode Islanders favoring same-sex marriage and 41 percent opposed. It's a good number for advocates. And the long-term picture is even better.

    Young people overwhelmingly support gay marriage, according to the poll: 62 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are in favor and just 31 percent opposed.

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  • February 22, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    The state's chief anti-gay marriage group, the National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island, got substantial ink last month for a television ad suggesting Governor Chafee - elected with 36 percent of the vote - does not have a mandate to push through a same-sex marriage bill.

    But there was a small reply - an radio ad that ran last week supporting same-sex marriage and arguing that separate isn't equal.

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  • January 06, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has named her committee chairs. As expected, Senator Michael McCaffrey holds onto his judiciary post. He is opposed to same-sex marriage and could pose an obstacle to the bill reaching the floor.

    The progressive Josh Miller heads the corporations committee, which handles business regulation, financial services, and insurance, among other topics.

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  • November 22, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    No great surprises in the Democratic and Republican leadership votes on the House side after this year's elections. GOP State Representative Robert Watson recently won re-election as minority leader. And House Speaker Gordon Fox easily cruised to re-election as the top pol in the chamber.

    But here's an interesting little nugget: sources say Watson promised not to throw Republican votes behind any dissident Democrats looking to unseat Fox as speaker.

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  • November 03, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    There will, doubtless, be those who read some shift in local or national politics into Lincoln Chafee's election as Rhode Island's first independent governor. But Chafee was, for all intents and purposes, the Democratic candidate in this race. And the party swept the state's other major offices and gave up little ground in the General Assembly.

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  • September 22, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    State Representative Steven Costantino's post as chairman of the House Finance Committee proved a major drain on his bid for the Providence mayor's office, given the state's budget woes.

    But Costantino remains a respected figure in political circles, given his deep knowledge of the state's budget process. And the chatter on Smith Hill has him possibly returning to the State House next year as a budget official in a new gubernatorial administration.

    Keep your eye out.

  • September 21, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Organized labor racked up some big victories in the General Assembly primaries last week - ousting incumbents David Caprio and Doug Gablinske, replacing departing progressive David Segal with a like-minded Christopher Blazejewski, and replacing the departing moderate Joanne M. Giannini with the more liberal Maria Cimini.

    Read More

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