Tuesday, March 26, 2013
The EG senator says he hasn’t made a “firm decision” yet on voting to allow SSM legislation to be voted on by the full Senate.
State Sen. Lou Raptakis (D-Coventry, E.G., W.W.) has removed his name as a sponsor of legislation to hold a referendum on same sex marriage, but he’s stopped short of saying he will definitely support allowing a bill legalizing same sex marriage to be voted on by the full Senate. Raptakis is one of ten members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel in control of the legislation right now. Senate Bill 708, sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Providence), would put a referendum before voters, asking if they want to legalize same-sex marriage by adding language to the state Constitution that defines marriage as "the legally-recognized union of two people." Senate Bill 38, sponsored by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket), would…
Monday, March 25, 2013
Hearings on the Fire District legislation before the General Assembly may take place in late April.
Fire District Commission Chair Bill Daly said last week he has no plans to seek a vote from the commissioners on bills now pending before the General Assembly that seek to abolish the EGFD and replace it with a municipal fire department. Instead, Daly said, he will make his case directly to the legislators at state Senate and House committee hearings. Those hearings may take place in late April. Fire Lieutenant Bill Perry, president of EGFFA Local 3328, said his union does plan to vote on whether or not they support the legislation before the hearings take place. The district and the firefighters union are in contract negotiations right now. The firefighters contract expires at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. The East Greenwich Fire…
Monday, March 18, 2013
It's unclear whether Fire District Commissioners will support the legislation.
The next chess piece has been moved: legislation to abolish the East Greenwich Fire District and establish a town fire department was submitted to the General Assembly last week. State Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-N.K., E.G., S.K., Narr.) and Lou Raptakis (D-Coventry, EG) introduced bill S-0739 on Wednesday, March 13. The intro of the bill – which was referred to the Senate Finance Committee – reads, "Authorizing the Town of East Greenwich to acquire the property, assets and personnel of the East Greenwich Fire District." State Rep. Anthony Giarrusso (R-E.G.) has also submitted a EGFD bill. According to Chuck Newton of the House Minority Office (and also the chair of the EG GOP), the bill is "in the hands of the Clerk of the House" and should …
Thursday, March 7, 2013
They met Monday night to talk about the plan to introduce legislation to incorporate the Fire District into the town – firework ensued.
The meeting between the East Greenwich Fire District, the Town Council, and East Greenwich's state legislators Monday night was the sort of lively example of debate not often seen in staid East Greenwich. Here's are video clips of some of the more dramatic portions. To read an account of the meeting, click here.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
State Senate colleague Dawson Hodgson strongly disagrees.
State Sen. Lou Raptakis told the Town Council and Fire District commissioners Monday night that resolutions where there's disagreement between the parties fail "99 percent" of the time in General Assembly, breathing fresh life into some of the EGFD commissioners' hopes to be able to remain independent. That was after about 45 minutes of heated debate over whether or not voters understood that the referendum they passed in November – to merge the Fire District with the town – would actually come to pass without another townwide vote. For video from the meeting, click here. East Greenwich state legislators attended a joint meeting of the Town Council and the EG Fire District to discuss legislation the Council is drafting to create a …
Sunday, February 3, 2013
He decries the Senate's "lack of urgency"; Rep. Giarrusso says these early days are for getting bills written and, in general, tackling smaller issues.
One month into the General Assembly's 2013 session, things haven't changed very much from this point two years ago, according to Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35). "We’re about a month in, we’ve only had one or two calendars since inauguration day," Hodgson said, referring to days in which there's formal action on a bill. "This is the time of year when we show up and there’s no bill pending, there’s no votes ... on state business." Hodgson said inaction on same-sex marriage is one reason for the Senate's seeming "lack of urgency." "Whether you support same sex marriage or oppose it … these are deeply held motiviations and they are profound on both sides. For my colleagues who are deeply engaged on this issue on both sides, they deserve to…
Monday, January 28, 2013
Both EG state senators say the real business of the General Assembly should be the economy.
Now that the state House of Representatives has passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage, the question has become when will the Senate Judiciary Committee – on which Sen. Lou Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry) serves – take it up. Raptakis, of Coventry, represents a small portion of East Greenwich. He has said he is against same-sex marraige. On Sunday he said it's up to the head of the committee, Sen. Michael McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), to decide when to take up the bill. When asked if he thought the Senate should act quickly, he said, "Why did the Speaker of the House push it through now? Aren’t there more pressing business concerns?" Alternatively, Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35, North Kingstown) would like to see a vote on same-…
Monday, January 21, 2013
Gov. Lincoln Chafee presented his budget last week. Now it's the General Assembly's turn.
EG Patch asked our state legislators what they thought of Gov. Lincoln Chafee's 2013 budget, presented on Jan. 16. Here are their responses: Rep. Anthony Giarrusso, R-Dist. 30: I haven't seen the nuts and bolts of Governor Chaffee's budget but I was inspired with what I heard and left the House Chamber with optimism. I was thrilled to hear that there were no proposals of tax or fee increases. I like the commitment to cut corporate income taxes and property taxes to make us more business friendly. I like his commitment to the increase in state aid for the school funding formula. I also like the fact that he's paying more attention to our infrastructure; our roads and bridges are in desperate need of repairs and maintenance to bring us on …
Saturday, January 19, 2013
What we love and loathe about living in East Greenwich this week.
RANT: Two of these things are not like the others, two of these things don’t belong: Senator Dawson Hodgson Former Fox new hosts Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly Clint Eastwood Senator Leo Raptakis New York Ranger Sean Avery Former basketball player Charles Barkely Former VP Dick Chaney State representative Anthony Giarrusso C’mon. Mssrs Giarusso and Raptakis. Wake up and smell the spiced chai. You are fighting a losing battle on the gay marriage thing. But do what you have to do. As for me, I don’t care who a person marries ... as long as it’s another person. Seriously. The other day, I googled “pet marriage legal” and one of the concerns that popped up early in the search was whether it is legal to marry your dog (it seems cats and …
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Goings on for the first full week of the session, Jan. 7-11.
The first full week of the legislative session is over and committee assignments have been doled out. Not surprisingly, none of the three legislators representing East Greenwich have committee leadership positions. In the heavily Democratic General Assembly, two EG legislators are Republicans. The Democrat, while not without GA experience, is returning after a two-year break. EG’s senior legislator, Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35), has retained spots on the judiciary and labor committees and picked up a place on the oversight committee. He is also on the Joint Committee on Economic Development. He recorded Newsmakers on Rhode Island Public Radio a week ago. To hear that segment, click here. Sen. Lou Raptakis (D-Dist. 33) was named to the…