m. teresa paiva weed

RI pension law still in legal jeopardy, 3 years later

November 18th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Three years ago today, Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed what remains the most sweeping overhaul of a state pension system ever seen in the U.S., saving taxpayers billions but angering many government workers and retirees in the process.

Three years later Chafee is set to leave office after a single term, to be succeeded by the architect of the pension overhaul, General Treasurer and Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo. But with a suit challenging the law still in pretrial limbo, there is growing momentum in favor of reaching a deal to resolve the issue once and for all.

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House, Senate leadership give positive reviews for Chafee budget

January 16th, 2014 at 1:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan & Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s fourth and final State of the State address was met with a warm reception from House and Senate leadership as well as many rank-and-file Democrats, while conservative critics said the governor failed to offer a plan to that would spur the state’s stagnant economy.

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RI lawmakers may get déjà vu once 2014 session starts today

January 7th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s 113 state lawmakers may get a sharp sense of déjà vu Tuesday when they return to Smith Hill for the first time since July.

The House and Senate will convene at the State House at 4 p.m., when House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed will gavel their 2014 sessions to order. But most of the big issues on their radars so far are hardy perennials from prior sessions: pensions, tolls, 38 Studios, taxes and a persistently weak economy.

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Mollis: Vote on constitutional convention can wait until 2016

August 6th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It sounds obvious: since the Rhode Island Constitution requires a vote every 10 years on whether there should be a constitutional convention, and the last vote was in November 2004, the next one has to be in November 2014, right?

Not so fast, says R.I. Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.

Deputy Secretary of State John Fleming Jr. told WPRI.com that while Mollis himself “believes the question should be on the ballot in the 2014 general election,” Fleming and Mollis’s legal counsel both think the actual language of the constitution would allow Mollis to wait until the November 2016 election to put the question to voters.

Fleming noted that the constitution says lawmakers “may” ask voters in any general election if they want to hold a constitutional convention. It also says: “If the question be not submitted to the people at some time during any period of 10 years, the secretary of state shall submit it at the next general election following said period.”


Raimondo, McKee, de Ramel, Caprio lead political money race

August 1st, 2013 at 1:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The latest quarterly finance reports from Rhode Island’s state and local politicians were due to the R.I. Board of Elections by midnight last night, and the results offer a glimpse at who’s got an early advantage heading into next year’s campaign.

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• Related: DreamWorks CEO, Facebook executive among Raimondo donors (July 31)

RI Senate Dems formally segregate straight and gay marriages

July 3rd, 2013 at 8:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island senators quietly divided gay couples from straight ones in one of their last acts of 2013.

Throughout the year Rhode Island lawmakers always pass “solemnization of marriage” bills, which authorize individuals who aren’t otherwise allowed to do so to perform marriage ceremonies. The marriage approvals must be passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and signed by the governor.

The chambers also use what are known as “consent calendars” – lists of usually non-controversial bills – that are passed as a group in order to save time. On Wednesday night, Senate leaders used the consent calendar to quarantine the solemnization-of-marriage bills for same-sex couples from those for straight ones.

Consent Calendar #2 contained 11 bills, all of which appeared to authorize marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Consent Calendar #3, by contrast, contained 23 bills – 15 of them allowing marriage ceremonies for straight couples, plus eight bills on other topics passed earlier by the House.


Docs show Fox, Paiva Weed assured Wall Street on 38 Studios

June 24th, 2013 at 6:47 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – House Speaker Gordon Fox dismissed opposition to the R.I. Economic Development Corporation’s deal with former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company as “silly season” in September 2010 during a conversation with two national bond-rating agencies.

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• Related: RI OK’d Schilling loan without finalizing program rules (July 27)

Gay marriage could be law by first week of May

April 25th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Less than an hour after the Rhode Island Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Wednesday said he met with advocates to begin discussing plans to sign the bill into law “as quickly as possible.

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Big campaign has RI gay-marriage backers near victory

April 24th, 2013 at 12:09 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan & Ted Nesi

When the Rhode Island Senate meets Wednesday to vote on legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage, it will be taking up an issue that died in the House just two years ago and was still considered a long shot as recently as last winter.

But a savvy political campaign that first threatened and then encouraged state lawmakers – combined with a rapid shift in public opinion – now has Rhode Island poised to become the final state in New England to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

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Big-name gay-marriage backers hosting fundraiser Wednesday

April 9th, 2013 at 5:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Same-sex marriage supporters are predicting a heavy turnout Wednesday night at a fundraiser on Providence’s wealthy East Side that will benefit the advocacy group Rhode Islanders United for Marriage.

More than 90 people have RSVP’d to say they’re planning to attend the event at the Firglade Avenue home of Maryellen Butke, the prominent education activist and 2012 state Senate candidate, and her partner, Jo O’Connell. Suggested contributions start at $50.

The host committee for the event includes Democratic Congressman David Cicilline, Treasurer Gina Raimondo, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Pawtucket Sen. Donna Nesselbush, a lead sponsor of the marriage bill. Also on the list are real-estate developer Buff Chace and Xay Khamsyvoravong, who was former Treasurer Frank Caprio’s campaign manager.


Labor, liberals renew push for income tax hike on RI wealthy

March 12th, 2013 at 5:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A coalition of political progressives and labor leaders renewed their uphill battle to raise affluent Rhode Islanders’ taxes on Tuesday – but they ran into immediate opposition from Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed.

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Paiva Weed unveils 25 separate bills to improve RI economy

March 12th, 2013 at 4:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Senate leaders led by Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed unveiled a wide-ranging package of 25 legislative proposals on Tuesday that the Newport Democrat and her colleagues argue will improve Rhode Island’s anemic economy.

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• Related: Paiva Weed offers her take on turning around the RI economy (Jan. 15)

New Brown poll: 60% back gay marraige; Taveras most popular

February 28th, 2013 at 9:44 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

​By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – More than half of Rhode Island voters support allowing same-sex marriage in the state, while most opponents of the idea say it conflicts with their religious beliefs, according to a new poll released Thursday by Brown University.

The poll also found Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s approval rating is a dismal 26%. ”Lincoln Chafee still has not been able to move his numbers after over two years as governor,” WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming said.

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RI Senate Democrats may wait months to take up gay marriage

January 24th, 2013 at 9:46 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

​By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Democrats who lead Rhode Island’s Senate say they’re in no rush to take up a bill legalizing same-sex marriage despite Thursday’s overwhelming vote in favor by the House of Representatives.

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• Related: Poll: Only Republicans have majority against gay marriage in RI​ (Jan. 24)

A roundup of RI leaders’ reactions to Chafee’s budget speech

January 17th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

​By Dan McGowan and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The reaction to Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s budget proposal Wednesday night was very different from the response to his first two. Here’s a roundup of reactions from Fox, Paiva Weed, Raimondo, Taveras, Fung, Melo, DaPonte, Newberry and Tanzi.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Chafee seeks lower corporate tax rate, more school funding (Jan. 16)

Paiva Weed stays vague on whether she’d OK income tax hike

January 16th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Here’s what Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed told The Providence Journal on Dec. 31 when asked about raising income tax rates in Rhode Island: “I would keep an open mind to a tax increase on the highest-wage earners.”

Yet here’s what the Senate president’s newly released report about economic policy suggests on the issue: “The General Assembly could continue to resist increases in broad-based taxes and maintain 2010 personal income tax reforms.”

So does Paiva Weed agree that the income tax rates enacted in 2010 should stay in place? Or is she still open to the idea of raising them? I put the question to her at Tuesday’s press conference, and here’s her entire response:

One of the hardest decisions we make here – I am committed to what the report says. I do not think – and I’ve always been committed – that we should have any change in our tax structure. The Senate was a leader.

But what I have always said is when you look at the budget document, obviously it’s always a choice between vital services and revenue. And I’m always hesitant to say you have a closed mind on anything, because if you don’t look at the budget document in its entirety then you’re making blind choices – on any issue. If you say I support a cut here, I support an increase here – the budget document is perhaps our most significant policy document.

So whenever anybody, quite honestly, asks me any specific question about the revenue side or cut side – I think the finance chairs are always being asked about the cut side, and their famous answer is, ‘Everything is on the table’ – and I think that when asked about the revenue said, we always all say we have to keep an open mind on everything.

Because at the end of the day, as legislators, we recognize that it is a broad picture – it’s a painting – it’s not just one specific event.

There’s two ways to read that statement. On the one hand, she starts off by saying, “I do not think … we should have any change in our tax structure.” Later, though, she says legislators “always all say we have to keep an open mind on everything.” It’s unclear if that means she just ​says​ she has an open mind about tax increases, or if that means she has an open mind despite being resistant to tax increases.

• Related: Paiva Weed offers her take on turning around the RI economy (Jan. 15)

​(photo: Ted Nesi/WPRI)

Paiva Weed offers her take on turning around the RI economy

January 15th, 2013 at 12:43 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed on Tuesday pledged to spend the next few months pushing policies to improve Rhode Island’s economy as state leaders continue to grapple with its disappointing failure to recover from the recession.

“It’s not easy to come before you today and say we have not done as good a job as we should have in some of these areas,” Paiva Weed, D-Newport, told reporters during a State House news conference.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Read the Senate president’s ‘Moving the Needle’ report (PDF)

No guarantee key RI Senate panel will OK same-sex marriage

December 17th, 2012 at 9:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed’s carefully orchestrated announcement Monday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will call a vote on gay marriage if a bill passes the House shakes up the political dynamic on the issue. But while proponents cheered the Senate president – who remains personally opposed to same-sex nuptials – there’s still no guarantee they’ll win their fight in 2013.

First, a marriage bill has to pass the House – which probably won’t be a problem, considering supporters have long been confident they have enough votes in the lower chamber and House Speaker Gordon Fox has already said he’ll call a vote by the end of next month.

Then the debate would move to the Senate, specifically the Senate Judiciary Committee. The first big question is, who’ll be appointed to that committee when the new Senate convenes in January? The panel’s membership could decide whether the marriage bill has enough votes to move to the floor.


Chart: General Assembly added $10M to its budget since 2003

November 16th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The taxpayer-funded vehicle Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has admitted to using for a ride home from a Democratic fundraiser is just a small part of the legislative branch’s eight-figure annual budget.

The legislature’s annual spending on its own behalf grew from $28.7 million in 2002-03 to $35.3 million in 2011-12, and its budget is set to rise again to $38.8 million this fiscal year, according to documents obtained from the R.I. Office of Management and Budget.

Where does all that money go? There are at least two ways to look at it.

One way is by type of spending. The vast majority of the legislature’s budget is spent on people – salaries, wages and benefits for personnel, which has grown from $22.4 million a decade ago to more than $30 million:

Another way is by line item. This shows about half the budget goes to the speaker-controlled Joint Committee on Legislative Services, with lawmakers themselves (the General Assembly) getting about $6 million:

• Related: Target 12: ‘Taxpayer taxi’ took Paiva Weed home from Dem gala (Nov. 13)

Target 12: ‘Taxpayer taxi’ took Paiva Weed home from Dem gala

November 13th, 2012 at 9:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island taxpayers are footing the bill for a government car with a state-employed driver that transported Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed home from the Democratic Party’s biggest bash of the year, a Target 12 investigation reveals.

Target 12 requested details on how often Senate leaders take the state vehicle to or from campaign events, but officials said they have no official policy on how the car can be used and they don’t keep a log of its trips.

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Fox: RI House will vote in January on legalizing gay marriage

November 3rd, 2012 at 5:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

House Speaker Gordon Fox pledged on Saturday that the R.I. House of Representatives will vote before the end of January on whether to legalize same-sex marriage.

Fox, a Providence Democrat who’s in the toughest re-election fight of his 20-year career, added specificity to the pledge he made in an interview on WPRI 12′s Newsmakers earlier this year, when he announced he would call a vote in the House on gay marriage during the 2013 session if he got re-elected.

Fox, who is openly gay, told a small crowd of supporters at the restaurant Blaze on Providence’s East Side that he would call a vote “during the third or fourth week of January.” The speaker opted not to call a vote on gay marriage last year because of opposition from leading Senate Democrats including Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport.

Fox’s opponent, independent Mark Binder, has criticized the speaker for failing to call a vote, saying he “put marriage equality on the back burner because he didn’t think it would pass a Senate vote.” Binder says on his website he’s pleased Fox is now calling for a vote, but “I only wish that he’d done it years ago.”


Fox: Gay marriage vote still set for 2013 despite Senate losses

September 12th, 2012 at 2:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

the Rhode Island Senate Chamber

Gay-marriage supporters tried and failed to make a breakthrough in the Rhode Island Senate during Tuesday’s primaries, winning just two of seven targeted races and coming up short in their marquee effort to knock off Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Michael McCaffrey.

Both McCaffrey, whose committee has never taken a vote on gay marriage, and another endangered incumbent – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dan DaPonte – survived spirited challenges. Their victories will bolster the leadership team of Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, who succeeded Joe Montalbano in 2008.

That puts Paiva Weed on a collision course with her fellow Democrat House Speaker Gordon Fox, who told WPRI 12 earlier this year he will call a vote on gay marriage in early 2013. Fox spokesman Larry Berman said that hasn’t changed.


Speaker Fox will force gay marriage vote in RI House in 2013

June 29th, 2012 at 12:12 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – House Speaker Gordon Fox will call a vote next year on legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, he announced Friday during a taping of WPRI 12′s Newsmakers.

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Paiva Weed says Senate may come back to tackle EDC board

June 11th, 2012 at 3:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed says her chamber may not take up Governor Chafee’s nominees to the troubled R.I. Economic Development Corporation board before lawmakers leave Smith Hill this week.

“I think we may have to come back,” Paiva Weed told WPRI.com. “That’s the way it’s looking.” She said the governor has been sending a significant number of appointments to the Senate in the waning days of the session.

Lawmakers are hoping to adjourn as soon as Tuesday, but confirmation hearings haven’t been scheduled for any of the six EDC nominees Chafee has put forward in the wake of the 38 Studios debacle: Marcia Blount, Pablo Rodriguez, Roland Fiore, Stephen Hardy, William Holmes and Peter Crowley.

The EDC board has 12 members in addition to the governor, who serves as chairman but only votes to break ties. The board has a number of major issues to take up in the coming months, including the runway expansion at T.F. Green Airport and dredging the port at Quonset Point.

Failure to confirm Chafee’s nominees would not necessarily cripple the EDC board, however. State law says “a majority of directors holding office shall constitute a quorum,” and that a vacancy “shall not impair the right of a quorum to exercise all of the rights and perform all of the duties of the corporation.”

As The Providence Journal first reported, Paiva Weed opted to move the EDC nominations through the Senate Judiciary Committee instead of the Senate Corporations Committee, which considered and approved his previous slate of candidates last year.

Unholy alliance? Church, ACLU, unions fighting disclosure bill

June 11th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The second half of Ed Fitzpatrick’s Sunday Projo column was full of insights into a last-minute effort by State House insiders to kill or water down two high-profile transparency bills: Rep. Christopher Blazejewski’s campaign finance disclosure bill and Rep. Michael Marcello’s badly needed public records reform.

In both cases, the roadblock is Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed’s chamber. First, on Blazejewski’s disclosure bill (which she co-spsonored):

The legislation is backed by groups such as Common Cause Rhode Island and the League of Women Voters, and it has produced an unlikely combination of opponents. John M. Marion, Common Cause’s executive director, said the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union joined Rhode Island Right to Life in fighting the bill, and legislators had told him the Catholic Church and organized labor lobbied against it.

But it’s worth remembering that the legislation was announced at a State House news conference involving the state’s three most powerful officials: Governor Chafee, House Speaker Gordon D. Fox and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. “The Senate president has been a strong supporter of this bill from the beginning, and I’m hopeful the Senate will act to pass it in the next couple of days,” Blazejewski said.

More troublingly, Governor Chafee – who came to office pledging to focus on Rhode Island’s “ABCs” (“assets, budget and corruption”) – is now joining those who want to keep Rhode Islanders in the dark about the actions taken in their names. Chafee is opposing not only Marcello’s public records bill, but even two weak Senate alternatives:

The House’s Marcello said he and the Senate’s Sheehan met Friday afternoon to try to craft a compromise that would be presented to the House and Senate in the next few days. The compromise would, for example, explicitly state that employment contracts for government employees must be disclosed, but it would not require disclosure of e-mails and other correspondence to and from elected officials in their official capacity.

In another 11th-hour development, Governor Chafee’s office contends that the legislation is too vague in establishing a balancing test to determine whether disclosing a record would be a “clearly unwarranted” invasion of privacy, Marcello said. But he said the bill’s balancing test mirrors the federal Freedom of Information Act, which has been precisely defined by years of federal case law.

Chafee’s commitment to open government is looking increasingly rhetorical – sighing that he wishes he could make the EDC’s 38 Studios meetings open but was told not to by its lawyer. Public records reform is becoming another example of such passivity. Furthermore, it’s been clear for many months that the public records bills were going to get serious attention this session – if none of these three meet the governor’s standards, where is his alternative bill? Or is he tacitly saying he’s actually fine with Rhode Island’s lousy public records law at present? Moreover, when has Chafee put real political capital behind policies to address the third leg of his “ABCs”?

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Marcello’s public records bill this afternoon, with a floor vote to follow Tuesday. But the Senate hasn’t scheduled any committee or floor votes on public records as of this writing. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up Blazejewski’s bill and Sheehan’s weaker public records bill on Monday. (Even Marcello’s bill, by the way, is losing some of its teeth – emails are no longer included, for example.)

In fairness, the Senate Judiciary Committee already has other important business on its plate for Monday – such as awarding court magistrate gigs to former state Sen. Chuck Levesque (who less than three months ago came to the rescue of Paiva Weed’s deputy Dominick Ruggerio when he was arrested for DUI) and John Flynn (legal counsel to Speaker Fox and former steward of West Warwick’s pension fund).

• Related: RI Senate fast-tracks public records bill you’ve never heard of (June 10)

(photo: Brown University)

Paiva Weed, Raimondo against Senate bills boosting pensions

May 11th, 2012 at 2:26 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Treasurer Gina Raimondo are pouring cold water on two retiring Senate Democrats’ separate suggestions that Rhode Island should increase state workers’ pension benefits, saying it’s too soon to revise the new law passed last November.

“The Senate President does not support these proposals,” spokesman Greg Paré told WPRI.com. “Speaking generally, we will monitor implementation of the pension changes made in the fall, but it is too early to consider changes.”

One proposal by state Sen. John Tassoni, D-Smithfield, would create a special pension benefit for employees in two departments, while another by state Sen. Bea Lanzi, D-Cranston, would scrap the requirement that municipal police officers and firefighters wait until age 55 to become eligible for a pension.

Raimondo spokeswoman Joy Fox told WPRI.com the new pension law “was developed after thoughtful analysis and designed to enact a fair and lasting reform,” and said the treasurer “encourages a similar comprehensive approach for subsequent legislation affecting the retirement system.”

“As chief fiduciary of the retirement system, she urges the General Assembly to give [the pension law] a chance to work before considering changes that might weaken its impact,” Fox added.

Tassoni and Lanzi, who aren’t running for reelection, did not return phone calls seeking more information about their proposals. The lawmakers didn’t issue press releases publicizing and explaining their bills, either.

Is the Rhode Island Senate warming up to same-sex marriage?

May 10th, 2012 at 12:46 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

It’s been clear for a long time that a majority of Rhode Island House Democrats (and likely a Republican or two) support legalizing same-sex marriage, and Governor Chafee has always said he’d sign such a bill into law.

That’s kept all eyes on the Rhode Island Senate – particularly Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, a devout Catholic who opposes gay marriage, and the conservative Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick, a Catholic who belongs to his city’s Knights of Columbus.

There are signs the Senate’s opposition may be softening. In February, Paiva Weed and McCaffrey met with lobbyists from Marriage Equality Rhode Island at the lawmakers’ request; last year they never got a meeting at all. And at least two Senate Republicans, Dawson Hodgson of North Kingstown and Christopher Ottiano of Portsmouth, say they’d make a vote to approve gay marriage bipartisan.

Ray Sullivan, the former lawmaker who heads MERI, said there’s “no doubt” gay marriage would pass the House, which is led by openly gay Speaker Gordon Fox. “We have more support now in the General Assembly than we’ve ever had before,” Sullivan told WPRI.com. “That’s not spin. That’s the reality. People are recognizing that it’s time to take action on this issue.”


Three-time opponent slams Ciccone; says she won’t run again

April 4th, 2012 at 11:14 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Graziano in 2002

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The 80-year-old former lawmaker who challenged state Sen. Frank Ciccone in the last three elections says she won’t seek a rematch in November, but she’s shocked by allegations that her former opponent tried to intimidate police.

“How could anybody be so stupid?” Catherine Graziano, a Democratic state senator from 1993 to 2002, told WPRI.com on Tuesday. “If you’re going to do something like that, don’t do that in public.”

“God love ‘em, I give those police officers a lot of credit,” said Graziano, a retired Salve Regina University nursing professor who lives in Providence. “They didn’t bend, they didn’t bow. They did just what they were supposed to do, and now it’s something people are talking about.”

Graziano unsuccessfully challenged Ciccone, D-Providence, for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 7 in both 2006 and 2008, coming within 194 votes of defeating him the second time. She ran against him again in 2010, this time in the general election as an independent, and lost in a landslide. But the senator victory didn’t come cheap.


Doherty far from alone in taking campaign cash from Ciccone

April 3rd, 2012 at 10:35 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Republican Brendan Doherty is feeling the heat this week for keeping $1,000 from state Sen. Frank Ciccone in the wake of allegations the lawmaker tried to intimidate police officers.

But Doherty is far from the only leading Rhode Island politician who took donations from Ciccone – though he may be the only Republican.

Ciccone has donated at least $25,610 to a host of politicians and political organizations since 2002, including $2,800 to Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, $2,000 to former Providence City Council President John Lombardi and $1,650 to Congressman David Cicilline during his mayoral days, an analysis of R.I. Board of Elections filings by WPRI.com shows.

The Rhode Island Laborers District Council, an arm of the Laborers International Union, paid Ciccone $120,625 in 2011, according to its most recent federal disclosure filing. The Senate paid him $13,962.

Ciccone, D-Providence, also gave money to many of the state’s current leaders, including Gov. Lincoln Chafee ($500), Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts ($200), Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed ($750), Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio ($350), Providence Mayor Angel Taveras ($300) and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse ($1,000) during his failed 2002 gubernatorial bid.

Beneficiaries who are out of office included former Treasurer Frank Caprio ($1,600), former Lt. Gov. Charlie Fogarty ($1,350), former Senate Majority Leader Dan Connors ($900), former Attorney General Patrick Lynch ($850), former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci ($125) and former state Rep. David Segal ($50).

Among the notables who did not get any money from Ciccone were House Speaker Gordon Fox, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. The senator did not return a phone call Monday.

• Related: Senate President Paiva Weed silent on Ciccone’s police report (April 2)

(photo: Rhode Island Senate)

Senate President Paiva Weed silent on Ciccone’s police report

April 2nd, 2012 at 5:15 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

If Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has an opinion on state Sen. Frank Ciccone’s alleged attempt to intimidate a Barrington police officer last week, she’s keeping it to herself.

“I have no comment at this time,” Paiva Weed, D-Newport, told WPRI.com on Monday afternoon as she left the State House sipping a Diet Coke alongside her chief of staff, Tom Coderre.

Paiva Weed repeated the same comment verbatim in response to two follow-up questions about whether the Senate would take any action regarding Ciccone or whether she was personally concerned about the report.

The full Senate is scheduled to meet for the first time since the police report emerged on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

• Related: Police: Senator Ciccone threatened cop during Ruggerio arrest (March 30)