Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has ordered negotiations over a union lawsuit challenging the state's landmark pension reform bill.
I'd be surprised, though, if there's a pre-trial settlement.
Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who pushed the bill through the General Assembly and built a national reputation as a can-do pol in the process, has just released a statement saying she'll negotiate in "good faith."
Governor Lincoln Chafee has a habit of going out on a limb. Last year, he pushed for a doomed expansion of the state sales tax. His refusal to turn over murder suspect Jason Pleau to federal authorities, fearing they might seek the death penalty, seemed like a legal longshot from the start. And his stubborn insistence on calling the State House spruce a "holiday tree" - two years running now - remains deeply unpopular.
When I heard a couple of days ago that Cranston's Board of Canvassers was denying a ballot to a voter it deemed mentally ill, I had a bit of deja vu.
I was once a reporter for the Providence Journal, where I covered Cranston City Hall. And one of the most interesting stories I worked on involved the board, led by the blunt and bareknuckled chairman Joseph A.
A federal court today struck down a Texas voter ID bill, arguing that the costs of obtaining proper ID to cast a ballot would fall disproportionately on poor blacks and Latinos.
Texas was among eight states that passed voter ID bills last year, including Rhode Island.
Several of those states are facing legal challenges.
Rhode Island public employee unions filed a lawsuit today seeking to overturn last year's big pension overhaul. The outcome, of course, will have a big impact on workers' retirement and the state's long-term fiscal health. But what of the political ramifications?
Treasurer Gina Raimondo was the architect of the overhaul, of course.
Late last night, the General Assembly approved a strengthening of the state's deplorable public records law. It's progress, no doubt. But the bill that ultimately passed isn't quite what advocates had hoped for. And at one point in the negotiations over the final shape of the legislation, those advocates withdrew their support.
My opus on how deep-blue Rhode Island enacted a voter ID bill last year is out today. And one question I got while reporting the story was this: did ALEC play a role?
ALEC, for the unitiated, is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business-backed advocacy group that pairs corporate types with state legislators to draft conservative model legislation for use in State Houses around the country.
Actually, there's nothing criminal about Matt Jerzyk. Not since he cut off that ponytail, anyway. I was just smooshing together our two main features in this week's Phoenix.
Jerzyk is a (formerly ponytailed) activist-turned-insider: a lefty bomb thrower and shrewd political organizer who now holds a key post in Providence Mayor Angel Taveras' administration.
After today's arguments before the Supreme Court, it's not looking good for the president's signature health care reform law. Here's Jeffrey Toobin, Supreme Court watcher par excellence:
In the face of new legislation that would make state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries or "compassion centers" smaller than originally envisioned, Rhode Island US Attorney Peter Neronha - who warned of a crackdown on the planned dispensaires last year - says that his position has not changed His statement in full, issued this morning:
The company is looking to link together various buckets of data users leave behind - information on which YouTube videos they're watching, what they're searching for on google.
Three years after the death of Chinese immigrant Hiu Lui Ng at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, a bill is making its way through Congress that would require the reporting of prison deaths. From the Los Angeles Times:
Legislation that would make it more difficult to cover up the causes of
deaths in jails, prisons and private detention centers appears poised to
pass Congress after years of unreported abuse, particularly in
facilities housing immigration detainees.
Lincoln Chafee's announcement yesterday that he would refuse to license three medical marijuana dispensaries hit pot activists hard. But it was not unexpected.
Some quick background, here. The General Assembly approved a dispensary law in 2009 and the state selected three would-be operators. But then US Attorney Peter Neronha, like several US Attorneys around the country, penned a letter warning that the feds would crack down on largescale distributors authorized by state government.
Golocalprov's piece on underage drinking at Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman's home has focused attention on the state's "social host" law, which imposes penalties on parents who knowingly allow underage drinking on their property.
Esserman, of course, maintains that he did not knowingly allow underage drinking - that he broke up the party when he discovered the booze.
Attorney General Eric Holder is in town today, hosted by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. And a brief press conference at the Institutue for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence was, predictably, dominated by questions about medical marijuana.
U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha delivered a letter to Governor Chafee in late April threatening to prosecute operators of the three medical marijuana dispensaries, or "compassion centers," set to open in the coming months.