1A. H5350: Binding arbitration for municipal employees. (H Labor; Thu, Mar 5)
1B. H5475: Abolishes expiration dates from RI public-school teacher and municipal employee contracts, making their terms permanent until a new contract is agreed upon. (H Labor; Thu, Mar 5)
1C. H5473: Subjects fire-department “platoon structure and/or shift schedule” to collective bargaining. (H Labor; Thu, Mar 5)
2. H5317: Reduces the allowed difference in municipal property tax rates for different property classifications from 50% to 25%. (H Municipal Government; Thu, Mar 5)
3A. S0023/S0311/S0313: Mandates that for car-tax purposes, automobiles be assessed at trade-in rather than their retail value. (S Finance; Tue, Mar 3)
3B. S0043 raises the car-tax exemption for “distressed communities” to $6,000 (this is an automatic raise, not a local option). S0227 raises the car-tax exemption for “distressed communities” to $6,000 and compensates said distressed communities for the reduced revenue with state money. (S Finance; Tue, Mar 3) In present Rhode Island context, this means certain communities can receive a state subsidy for their financial mismanagement.
Evidence that “the wealthy” have disproportionate influence in politics requires correct assessment, because campaign finance rules could exacerbate the problem.
1A. S0134: Creates a crime of “unlawful interference with traffic” with reference to “any federal or state highway”, with a minimum prison sentence of one year for a first offense, 60 days of which cannot be suspended or deferred. (At present, the definition of disorderly conduct includes obstructing a “highway…to which the public or a substantial group 12 of the public has access”, punishable by imprisonment of up to 6 months, and a fine up to $500) (S Judiciary; Tue, Feb 24)
1B. H5417: Eliminates the up-to six month prison sentence for most instances of disorderly conduct — including for “obstruct[ing] a highway…to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access or any other place ordinarily used for the passage of persons, vehicles, or conveyances” — except in cases involving domestic violence. (H Judiciary; Wed, Feb 25)
2. S0314: Extends the state’s “facilities support” funding to all charter schools (currently, it is only available to “district sponsored charter public schools”). (S Finance; Tue, Feb 24)
3. S0305 / H5228: Writes into law in-state tuition at RI public colleges and universities for students who graduated from a Rhode Island high school that they spent three years at, including illegal aliens (but not non-immigrant aliens) who have applied for “lawful immigration status” or who promise to when a process is made available under a Federal amnesty law. (S Finance; Tue, Feb 24 &; H Finance, Thu Feb 26)
4. S0122: Tax credits for Rhode Island residents who are college graduates “in an amount equal to the payments made in a given tax year…toward undergraduate or graduate student loan debt, up to a maximum amount for single tax year of one thousand dollars for an associate’s degree holder, five thousand dollars for a bachelor’s degree holder, and six thousand dollars for a graduate degree holder”. (S Finance; Tue, Feb 24)
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Rhode Island’s unemployment rate may have “improved” below the 7% milestone, but the underlying data continues to give cause for alarm.
Data collected by the College Board reinforces survey results showing that Rhode Islanders want alternatives to the state’s languishing public schools.
The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity unveils an online application to compare states, including Rhode Island, and demographic groups.
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Rep. Edwards does the politician’s trick of talking all around the fact that a critic is telling the truth.
My two biggest takeaways from Monday night’s forum on policing, at the South Providence Recreation Center, with Chiefs Hugh Clements (Providence Police Department) and Steven O’Donnell (Rhode Island State Police):
1. If good policing is built on strong communities, while the pathway to strong communities is cleared by good policing, there is a real chicken-or-egg issue with finding a solution.
2. A basic concept that our government and society seems to be losing needs a restoration, the idea that the top elected official of a city, town or state police force is the leader of the police force, not just ceremonially, but in a true operational sense.
Progressivism is a recipe for a new aristocracy, relying on distractions about racism and abstract bogeymen in order to herd us all into boxes.
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A contract and correspondence with MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber show that HealthSource RI cut his project short and used earlier estimates that he had called “rough.”
RhodeMap RI puts the Ocean State on a path to lost control and lost freedoms, but some legislators are moving to stop it.
Jonathan Gruber’s remarks about the “stupidity of the American voter” have revealed the deception behind ObamaCare, and his involvement in the planning process for HealthSource RI raises the question of how pervasive his attitude has been among government agents locally.
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Interviews & Profiles
Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss the candidates for U.S. Congress from Rhode Island (mostly by way of the issues).
Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss a debate between candidates for RI Secretary of State and related topics.
Justin and Bob Plain discuss the campaign for lieutenant governor and the possibility of a constitutional convention, and (in text) Justin corrects an assertion of Bob’s.
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