Talking Teen Unemployment and the Minimum Wage on the Dan Yorke Show

Audio from Justin’s Tuesday appearance on the Dan Yorke Show.

Costantino, Ferguson, and Roberts Describe “Unified Infrastructure”

The audio in which RI Health & Human Services Secretary Steven Costantino, Health Benefits Exchange Director Christine Ferguson, and Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts describe their vision of dependency portals.

Discussing Health Care on Rhode Island Public Radio

Justin appears on Rhode Island Public Radio’s Political Roundtable to discuss the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare ruling.

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Little Towns, Big (Government) Guns

The events in Ferguson, MO have drawn widespread public attention to the increasing militarization of local police departments. It’s a topic that has been discussed amongst civil–rights minded folks for the last decade or so and has both national and local impact.

12/03/13 – Sales Tax Commission

Justin liveblogs another commission hearing on eliminating the state sales tax, this time concerning the state’s economic modeling of the proposal and alternatives from the Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

10/29/13 – Sales Tax Commission

Justin liveblogs from another meeting of the legislative commission to study the elimination of the sales tax.

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The Racism in Central RhodeMap Planning

While RhodeMap RI backers accuse their opposition of racism, they use tactics and advance plans that are deeply racist.

Competition Between States Leaves Rhode Islanders Two Choices

A Constitutional Convention Is to Make Change When Legislators Won’t

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Coming up in Committee: Twenty-One Sets of Bills Being Heard by the RI General Assembly, March 3 – March 5

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.

Correctly Identifying the Problem of Government for the Elites

Evidence that “the wealthy” have disproportionate influence in politics requires correct assessment, because campaign finance rules could exacerbate the problem.

Coming up in Committee: Twenty-Nine Sets of Bills Being Heard by the RI General Assembly, February 24 – February 26

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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