At least Gov. Lincoln Chafee had the decency to be embarrassed about signing the civil unions bill, doing the deed on the Saturday of the long holiday weekend when people were thinking about cookouts and fireworks and having Monday off and werenât there to point their fingers at him and say âShame on you.â
The governor issued a signing statement to explain itself that, with a different opening sentence, could have served quite admirably as a veto message.
At various times in this space, I have compared the General Assembly leadership to the leaders of the old Soviet Union, imperiously working their own will and impervious to public opinion.
Not so this year.
This year people power won at least two major political and policy victories.
The first was killing Gov. Lincoln Chafeeâs sales tax proposals. That brought a whole shipload of businesspeople to the Statehouse to oppose the idea at the House Finance Committee.
Youâve gotta love the General Assembly.
Last year they said they balanced the budget without raising taxes. But you got whacked with a big tax bill for your car that was either the first one you had seen in years, or that was much larger than in previous years.
This year they said they balanced the budget without raising many taxes, except for a few items added to the sales tax.
It usually has to be August before a story like Congressman Anthony Weiner tweeting his privates can come to dominate a weekâs worth of the nationâs news cycle, but itâs only early June and here we are.
It is probably a testament to how nothing of any value is happening in Washington that a story like this can gain the traction it has.
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo would be well advised not to put too much work into her pension reform plan before a judge rules in the case now before the Superior Court about whether employees who are vested in the pension system have a property right in their promised pension benefits.
I realize the prevailing passion is to say âscrew those state employees and their unions, what part of âthere is no moneyâ donât they understand.â And that is a fine stance for someone to make a political point or a talk-show rant. But the law is the law and a judge is going to have to go by the law.
I have a funny feeling about the civil unions bill that passed the House of Representatives last week.
Everyone seemed eager to get a vote one way or the other on this contentious and discomfiting issue and get it off the table once and for all, or at least for the rest of this General Assembly session, but Iâm not sure this whole thing is settled.
I think I know the reasons why former State Police Superintendent Brendan Doherty felt he had to announce his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District seat last week, but I still think it was an error.
There is the traditional politicianâs motive: stake out the territory. The same way a dog will pee around the perimeter of his yard to let the other dogs know that is his turf, politicians like to stake their claim to run for an office to make others, particularly those from their own party, think twice about intruding.
Late Sunday night was one of those âMoments,â a piece of time when you will never forget where you were or what you were doing when you heard the announcement that Osama bin Laden was dead, and U.S. commandoes killed him.
The battle lines are being drawn.
In the fight to close the stateâs cavernous budget deficits, itâs coming down to tax increases vs. pensions. Thatâs it. There simply are no other piles of money large enough to fill the $300 million hole in Rhode Islandâs finances by June 30.