dennis algiere

Chart: Bipartisan Senate group backs $8 minimum wage in RI

May 24th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Democrats aren’t the only ones who think Rhode Island’s minimum wage should be higher.

The Rhode Island Senate voted 31-6 on Wednesday to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.75 to $8 an hour on Jan. 1, which would be the second increase in as many years. Massachusetts’ minimum wage is already $8, while Connecticut’s is $8.25; the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009.

Among the 31 senators who voted for the $8 minimum were two of the chamber’s five Republicans: Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere, R-Westerly, and Sen. Chris Ottiano, R-Portsmouth. They’re not the first Republicans to back a hike; Govs. Lincoln Almond and Don Carcieri both approved increases on their watch.

Two Democrats broke ranks with the rest of their party and voted against raising the wage to $8: Sens. Marc Cote, D-Woonsocket, and Leo Raptakis, D-Coventry. Notably, increasing the minimum wage was not part of Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed’s economic-development package earlier this year.

The Senate bill sponsored by Erin Lynch, D-Warwick, was referred to the House Labor Committee, which held a hearing Feb. 5 on Warwick Rep. David Bennett’s bill to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 next year.

Rhode Island’s first minimum wage was 90 cents an hour in 1956, which would be $7.69 in today’s dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI inflation calculator. In 2013 dollars, the value of the minimum wage has averaged roughly $8.20 over the last half-century; it peaked at $10.69 in 1968 and bottomed out at $6.79 in 1995. Here’s a chart showing the nominal and inflation-adjusted wage over time:

RI_minimum_wage_1956_present_big

 

An earlier version of this post incorrectly said there are six Republicans in the Rhode Island Senate; while there are six members of the Republican caucus, one of them, Sen. Edward O’Neill, is an independent.


Q&A: New push to beef up Super PAC disclosure rules in RI

February 16th, 2012 at 4:51 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

It’s not often you see Common Cause Rhode Island‘s John Marion sharing a podium with Governor Chafee, House Speaker Fox and Senate President Paiva Weed.

But that’s what happened Thursday afternoon as they and others gathered at the State House to throw their support behind new legislation that would beef up campaign-finance disclosure rules for outside groups like the much-talked-about Super PACs. (Paiva Weed even mentioned Stephen Colbert’s.) They want the requirements in place before the November election.

After the event, Marion sat down with me to explain what the proposed Transparency in Political Spending Act would and wouldn’t do. The transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Who is this bill going to impact? What will they have to do?

This bill is going to impact any group that decides to advocate for or against one of the items on the November ballot, such as the referendum about expanding gaming in the state. It will require those groups to disclose information about their spending in a more timely fashion then they current have to, and it will require for the first time disclosure of the underlying sources of funding to the group.

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