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  • September 09, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Providence Journal sources say reporter Phil Marcelo, who covers the city of Providence, will fill the vacancy in the paper's three-member State House bureau.

    The slot has been open since former ProJo scribe Steve Peoples left the paper to join Washington-based political publication Roll Call in July.

    The bureau, one of the most demanding outposts at the paper, has traditionally been a site of rapid turnover.

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  • August 19, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Rhode Island is often labeled a socially conservative state. But it's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the claim. The state is solidly pro-choice and a new poll on same-sex marriage suggests ever-growing support for the idea. Commissioned by GLAD, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the poll found 59 percent of voters in favor and 31 percent opposed.

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  • August 12, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    An advocacy group calling itself the New Leaders Project and declaring a "pro-growth," "pro-jobs," fix-the-legislature agenda, has issued a first round of endorsements for General Assembly candidates. The "multi-partisan" group says it will endorse Democrats, Republicans, Moderates, and Independents who share its vision.

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  • July 01, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Daniel Harrop, a psychiatrist who was gearing up for a GOP run for Providence mayor, has made a last-minute switch to a General Assembly race - taking on longtime Providence Representative Edith Ajello. It'll be a long shot. But the move, coming after the deadline to register interest in a race, invokes an interesting bit of election law.

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  • June 24, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    The debate over the state's education funding formula, signed into law by Governor Carcieri yesterday, has focused largely on winners and losers: which communities get more state aid and which get less. By that measure, the state's large, urban districts - shortchanged in the past - do quite well. Providence gets almost $30 million more, Pawtucket gets a $7.

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  • May 25, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    CNN has a piece on Speaker of the House Gordon Fox's decision to kill State Representative Peter Palumbo's bill mimicking the controversial Arizona immigration measure. From the piece:

    Rhode Island is just the latest of several states where officials are encouraging the enactment of similar laws, said Michael Hethmon general council of the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

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  • May 13, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    As advocates for the homeless press the General Assembly to maintain funding for the 10-year-old Neighborhood Opportunities Program, which has provided for some 1200 affordable housing units in the last decade, I take a broader look in today's Phoenix at the push to end homelessness in Rhode Island.

    Ending homelessness might have seemed a fantasy a decade ago.

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  • April 22, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Gordon Fox's ascendancy to the speakership has meant a more prominent role in the Rhode Island House of Representatives for the Progressive Caucus, a loosely organized group of lefty legislators.

    But the caucus, for all its gains, is in flux. One of its brightest minds, Representative Raymond J. Sullivan Jr. of Coventry, has taken a job with Congressman James Langevin and is on his way out.

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  • February 04, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    In a General Assembly not exactly known for moral rectitude: an outbreak of ethics. Majority Leader Gordon Fox, who has a large ethics fine in his past, is proposing a constitutional amendment - to be approved by voters - that would restore Ethics Commission oversight of legislators after a controversial state Supreme Court ruling last summer stripped much of it away.

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  • December 10, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Rhode Island Republican Party's scuffle over a platform that would embrace candidates with moderate positions on social issues like abortion is, perhaps, the worst signal the state GOP could send at this moment.

    Anti-incumbent feeling is brewing nationwide as the economy continues to struggle and health care reform tumbles in the polls.

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  • December 08, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Rhode Island Tea Party, seeking to move from protest movement to political force, has posted its plan of action after an organizational meeting that drew 180 people, according to the organization.

    The conservative group is envisioning a decentralized movement, with a focus on largely autonomous town branches that will conduct citizen audits of municipal finances and "issue committees" that will study education, labor, and other topics of interest.

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  • November 30, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    ProJo reporter Randall Edgar, who has been covering Cranston of late, will take Cynthia Needham's spot in the State House bureau, columnist Bob Kerr tells us.

    Needham left the post in recent weeks to become the paper's chief economics reporter, leaving a hole in the three-person bureau.

    The ProJo has maintained its three-member State House bureau amid heavy cuts elsewhere, maintaining a workmanlike focus on parliamentary goings-on.

  • November 19, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Rhode Island Tea Party, attempting to move from protest vehicle to political force, has scheduled an open meeting November 24 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Warwick Public Library.

    As I wrote in a cover story in the Phoenix a few weeks back, part of the challenge for the movement will be organizing a group of anti-establishment types.

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  • November 04, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Maine voters overturned same-sex marriage legislation yesterday in what is, undoubtedly, a blow to the national movement for gay nuptials. And the vote could have some impact in Rhode Island which, until yesterday, was the only New England state that failed to recognize same-sex marriage.

    Momentum matters in politics, after all.

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  • October 29, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    This just in from the Secretary of State's office on the race to succeed State Representative Elizabeth Dennigan, who has stepped down to challenge Congressman Jim Langevin:

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis announced today that just three of the four candidates who filed to run for Elizabeth Dennigan’s former House seat have officially qualified to appear on the Dec.

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