Teacher Steps in the Law, Not Above the Law

Step increases for teachers are, indeed, mandated by law, but that does not change them into something other than raises or present the public with a single path forward.

House Labor Chairwoman Williams Vents to Tea Party in Action

House Labor Committee Chairwoman Anastasia Williams paused a hearing, on Tuesday, to criticize an email that she had received, but sender William B. Palazzo disputes her description of the content.

Council Ratification Foes Layer on Technical Objections

Technical objections raised to legislation that would give town/city councils authority to ratify employment contracts appear to have been overstated or incorrect.

Meals Tax Tea Party Video

Video of the speeches from the meals tax tea party protest.

03/21/12 – Meals Tax Tea Party

Photos from the rally against Governor Chafee’s proposed tax increase on meals and beverages.

03/20/12 – House Committee on Labor

Justin writes live and extemporaneously from the House Committee on Labor, addressing teacher layoff notifications, right-to-work for teachers, city/town council approval of school labor contracts, and others.

Chafee’s Municipal Plan: A Giant Leap Toward Technocracy and Town Solicitor Invoices

Justin takes the highlighter and red pen to Governor Chafee’s proposal for “municipal reform and relief.”

03/15/12 – House Finance Committee

Justin writes live and off-the-cuff from the House Finance Committee hearing on retirement contributions, dept. director salaries, corrections, board compensation, and holidays.

Winners, Losers, and Losing More

The 2010 tax reform had winners and losers in every income range. Increasing taxes this year, even if only on wealthier residents, would arguably represent two straight years of tax increases.

Iannazzi (and Taxes) Did It

Every bit of legislation raising taxes, every apparently corrupt action, contributes to the culture and sense of hopelessness that is driving people away from Rhode Island. Justin argues that that’s the first thing that has to change.

Differing Interpretations of Tax Effects Play into Local Decision

Experts disagree about whether the seven legislative proposals to increase personal income taxes on “the rich” will have an adverse effect on Rhode Island’s economy, but the complexity of such changes requires a more local debate.

Owner Liability and Renter Trust in H7136 and S2212

Foreclosure-related legislation illustrates the need for in-depth debate between advocates for and against the proposals. Even those that appear to be common sense may have unintended consequences affecting the public at large.

03/08/12 – House Labor on Binding Arbitration: Carnevale Provokes Nadeau

Video of Rep. John Carnevale provoking Warwick School Committee Member Eugene Nadeau during House Labor’s hearing on binding arbitration.

Video of 2012 RISC Winter Meeting

Video of RISC’s 2012 Winter Meeting, featuring Central Falls Receiver Robert Flanders, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, Woonsocket Mayor Loe Fontaine, Providence advisor Gary Sasse, and Rep. Larry Ehrhardt.

In the Mood for Binding Arbitration?

The insider take is that the General Assembly wants to avoid controversy, after pension reform, but last night’s House Labor hearing gave the impression of a different kind of show.

03/08/12 – RI House Labor Committee Hearing

Justin writes live from the RI House Labor Committee Hearing, dealing mainly with binding arbitration and perpetual contracts.

Campaign Finance Reform Targeting National Organizations Worries Local Groups

Campaign finance reform legislation currently under review in the RI General Assembly targets large national organizations and companies but has small local groups fearing that their speech (and donations) will be chilled.

Ethics in an Everybody-Knows-Everbody State

As a Ted Nesi article illustrates, the matter of legislator ethics is not a simple one. Perhaps disclosure, not investigation, is the answer.

03/06/12 – RI Senate Judiciary Hearing

Justin writes live from the RI Senate Judiciary hearing, including bills addressing campaign finance and straight-ticket voting.

School Budgets to Town/City Councils: Derailing Reform Still Suggests a Forward Motion

A labor-friendly senator proposing reform-minded legislation indicates the need for the careful consideration of unintended consequences as Rhode Island shifts the way it does business.

Complete Streets Legislation Takes Build-It-and-They-Will-Bike Approach

The General Assembly is considering legislation that would require Department of Transportation preference of “complete street” designs, but it isn’t clear that another law on the books is really necessary.

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