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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House Corporations Bills for Tuesday, January 27 Still Worth Watching Even if Postponed

1A. H5099: Limits electric rate increases that can be approved by the public utilities commission to “no greater than five and 5 one-half percent (5.5%) or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index…unless the increase shall have been previously approved by affirmative action of the general assembly”. The issue of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of price controls aside, it is a very basic violation of the principle of separation of powers for the General Assembly to make itself into a standalone board-of-appeals for other state agencies. A basic check on the power of the legislature is that it is not allowed to ignore the requirement (with a few expressed exemptions like proposing constitutional amendments) that its actions be submitted to the governor for approval or veto.

1B. H5079: Phases-in a requirement that, by 2035, 40% of the electricity sold at retail by large electric distribution entities be obtained from “eligible renewable energy resources”. The bill states that delays in the implementation schedule due to inadequate supply may not be for more than 3 years. Is this either technically or economically feasible?

1C. H5131: Prohibits electric distribution companies from charging “an interconnecting renewable energy customer for any upgrades to its electric power system that can and should be funded through rates assessed pursuant to its electric infrastructure, safety and reliability provision and plan, including specifically any maintenance, repair or upgrade of any component of the electric power system that has been deferred for more than thirty years.”

1D. H5175: Requires all public utilities in Rhode Island to “maintain a customer service operation physically located within the state which is reasonably staffed to meet the expectations of the public”. (H Corporations; Tue, Jan 27 postponed)

Coming Up in Committee Eventually: Six Sets of Bills to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, January 27 – January 29, Weather Permitting

2. H5077: Charges the RI Board of Education with establishing “state-wide goals that are school specific for increasing the number of graduates who 10 earn certificates and degrees at both two and four year post-secondary public institutions of higher education” and requires the Board to develop and make available data on “college access and completion data…that includes data on students’ educational experiences and outcomes from early childhood through higher education in Rhode Island public institutions of higher education and into the workforce”. The bill then lists four specific metrics related to post-secondary enrollment, and also includes a reporting requirement on “excess credits” defined as “credits which the student earned and which were not required for the degree or certificate”. (H Health, Education and Welfare; Wed, Jan 28)

3. H5074: Raises the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour starting in January 2016 (up from $9.00 per hour currently). (H Labor; Wed, Jan 28)

Rhode Island Education Results in Context

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity unveils an online application to compare states, including Rhode Island, and demographic groups.

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