In recent months, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has emerged as perhaps the state's leading voice for economic revival.
In January, she announced the release of the "Moving the Needle" report, which focused on ways to improve the state's poor showing in business climate rankings. And last week, she unveiled a package of 25 legislative proposals built on the report's recommendations.
As I wrote in my cover story for last week's Phoenix, the question of religious exemptions could play a central role in the looming same-sex marriage battle in the Rhode Island state senate.
Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed is opposed to gay nuptials. But if she decides to allow the bill through - perhaps in exchange for concessions from openly gay Speaker of the House Gordon Fox on other issues - she'll need some sort of political cover.
My cover story in this week's Phoenix - on-line later today - will take a deep dive into the looming Senate battle over gay marriage.
The piece touches, in part, on the whip count I've developed - a senator-by-senator analysis of where everyone stands on the legislation. I'm offering a sneak preview in this space. (Check out the Providence Journal's partial count, which differs a little from mine, here
Governor Chafee, set to deliver his "State of the State" address at 7 pm tonight, will unveil a budget proposal designed to "make Rhode Island more competitive," invest in public education, assist struggling municipalities, and maintain and improve infrastructure.
Staff gave reporters a glimpse at the specifics in a briefing this afternoon, on condition that they not reveal the details until the speech begins.