Legislative Alert


Introduced Just Last Week, Line Item Veto: A Chance To Redistribute Some Of The Speakers Power.

Although not yet scheduled, OSTPA asks you to be at the ready when Line Item Veto, bill H 8007 is scheduled for a hearing.  We know, it’s a ‘process’ piece of legislation and we realize that is boring to most.  But this legislation is critical to creating more effective government in RI.  As you are all too aware, the Speaker is the most powerful elected office in RI and we need a tool, similar to 44 other states, that helps balance the power between the governor and the legislature. 

If you recall, after 50 years of ‘no dice’ from the General Assembly, Ken Block was able to get the Master Lever done!  We urge you to help him and help yourself at the same time, by getting the Line Item Veto done!  We need you to join us at the State House when the bill is scheduled for a hearing.  Please email us and let us know if you will commit to being there and help make political history again. 

Public Union Labor Bills, Including Evergreen Contracts For Firefighters, Heard Last Week.

While this week looks to be a light week for hearings, if the General Assembly posts hearings like they did last week, you won’t know for sure until Tuesday, April 5th.  That would provide the required 2 days notice for a hearing.

Last week we were not able to inform you that a bunch of public labor union bills, including the perennial evergreen contracts for firefighters, were scheduled for a Senate hearing because they were posted on a Monday and heard on Wednesday.  Fortunately, they were held for further study.

Update On Tolls.

The RI Trucking Association is asking the Federal Highway Administration to look at the Governor’s RhodeWorks plan and specifically, to review the environmental impact of gantry and bridge locations.  While the Truckers have said that they don’t think they have standing to bring a suit questioning the constitutionality of the legislation until the first truck is subjected to tolling, it certainly appears that they are willing to pursue alternative approaches to dismantling the job killing toll legislation.  That is a step in the right direction for toll opponents!

What Do RI’s Progressives and Conservatives Have In Common? 

The 6/10 Connector is nothing more than an $800 million dollar mile.  It’s an idea whose time may have come to an end, especially when it looks like the alternative, a much less expensive boulevard, is warranted and supported by those on the left and those on the right.  But, like the tolls, the Big Dig is a political football - the politicians want it for insider payoffs, even though many see it as a taxpayer boondoggle.

RI’s Big Dig Is A Big Scam.

Here is the right’s argument against the 6/10 Big Dig and here  and here are the left’s argument against it.  And it’s not just the natives who are restless about the idea of simply rebuilding what we have, with no thought about what is best for the affected communities and the state!  At a recent forum, DOT Director Alviti recognized that the 6/10 plans provide for virtually the same system of highways, in spite of the fact that the existing design just doesn’t work and the cost to rebuild is steep! 

OSTPA’s Brian Bishop explains in his article that he believes the $800 million cost, along with the unwarranted express lane and bike path, are the driving force behind the tolls.  

Without the 6/10 Big Dig, tolls would NOT even be needed, leading one to believe that those pushing forward on a rebuild of the 6/10 Connector may be perpetrating a fraudulent excuse for tolls. This is the time to let Governor Raimondo and Director Alviti know that Rhode Islander's won't be scammed again! 

Let Elected Leaders Know Where You Stand on RI’s Big Dig.

Bishop rightly states that a serious debate on RI’s Big Dig must take place before any gantry work is performed.  The 6/10 Connector represents the bulk of the cost included in the RhodeWorks bridge repair and if it is determined that the rebuild is not necessary, that would mean there would be absolutely no defense of tolls. 

Contact Speaker Matteillo and Senate President Paiva Weed, along with Governor Raimondo, and let them know that you want to see a serious debate, with reliable data, on the question of rebuilding the 6/10 Connector or removing it and replacing it with a much less expensive and apparently more appropriate boulevard

Contact your representative and senator to ask them to submit a referendum to create a study commission to analyze the necessity of rebuilding or replacing the 6/10 connector with a less expensive boulevard.

Any RI Campaign/Slogan Belies The Sad Underlying Economic Reality.

Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About, A Little Mystery To Figure Out _Bonnie Raitt

By now you’ve no doubt heard about and seen (and probably commented on) the Governor’s new promotional campaign for RI, along with it’s ‘cooler & warmer’ marketing slogan/logo.  While we would like to see a successful RI marketing campaign, you can’t help but think that the Governor’s original choice of logo left a little to be desired, but who are we (although even one of the Commerce Corp’s own thought it should be pulled)?  

Since  its release the entire campaign has been mocked and the administration scorned for wasteful spending.  Presumably, the firing of the new marketing director and the refunding of the cost of the campaign is intended to wipe the slate clean and ‘move forward’.  However, at OSTPA,  we look at it from the point of view of those interested in creating the economic landscape where businesses actually want to come here, without any false advertising or any public tax dollars to subsidize their venture. 

The Governor explained what her “cooler” and “warmer” meant, but, by all accounts there haven’t been too many businesses that buy it.  It really won't matter what the slogan is, just ask someone in the trucking industry or someone at GE.  You only need to look at the vacant I 195 land.  

While some new marketing campaign takes hold, all you need to do is peel back one layer and see what underlies the “cooler” and “warmer” promo or any other promo for that matter.  As John E. Gage has indicated in his more accurate slogan/logo below, it’s taxes and tolls, and no amount of marketing money can change that fact.  Unfortunately for Rhode Islanders, the geometric shape should really be a pentagon, adding a fifth side that includes the word corruption.

Oh, and by the way, the third graphic was purportedly created by local graphic designer, Missy Hardest, in 10 minutes and appears to capture the Ocean State’s character better than the half million design.

But it’s the attitude of our government that best reflects why RI is experiencing the economic malaise that it is.  The recently fired Commerce Corp (formerly the EDC) marketing officer, Betsy Wall, when asked about mistakes in the campaign video, retorted with “c’est la vie”.  That response captures the essence of RI government’s attitude toward our economic problems.  

The bigger problem than the actual ad/logo/campaign is that our elected leaders continue to label those of us who oppose the poor decisions of our leaders ‘haters’, ‘naysayers’ and generally, ‘negative nellies’ who don’t want to move the state forward.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Organizations like ours, along with supporting members like ours, simply want real economic reform in RI, not a manufactured tag line that tries to cover up RI’s economic realities.

Contact Speaker MattielloSenate President Paiva Weed and Governor Raimondo  and tell them that RI needs to cut spending, address fraud, waste and abuse in our welfare systems, address unfettered illegal immigration, implement ethics reform, and mimic Massachusetts in education reform.  Then we will have something to talk about!


As An Aside.

And speaking of sailing, H 7024, on-line voter registration sailed through the General Assembly and has been transmitted to the Governor for approval.

Legislative Hearings 4/5/16 - 4/7/16


Senate Finance                                          Chairman DaPonte 
Room 211, rise (4:30)

S 2454
 Changes to original pension reform, adds more cost to the pension system
Sponsor: Gallo

House Finance                                           Chairman Gallison  
Room 35, rise (4:30)

Governor’s Budget:

Article 5 - Ballot Question 2 re: Quonset/Davisville Piers

Article 6 - Public Corporation Debt - Quonset Piers

Article 17 - Commerce Corporation and Economic Development


House Judiciary                                         Chairman Keable  
Room 205, rise (4:30)

H 7767  Limits the enforcement of or assistance in enforcement of, any traffic laws, by way of toll gantries, to that delineated in the original toll bill, H 7409 , ie, no speed or insurance enforcement.
Sponsors: Roberts, Filippi, Price, Giarrusso and Newberry 

H 7973  Revises access to public records.
Sponsors: Craven, O'Brien, McEntee, Carson and Ruggeiro 

House Finance                                          Chairman Gallision  
Room 35, rise (4:30)

Governor’s Budget:

Public Higher Education 


House Municipal Government                Chairman Craven  
Room 101, rise (4:30)

H 7989  Creates a commission to study low and moderate income housing act. (Note that Maldonado, Morin, and Carson also sponsored H 7985a bill to financially penalize cities and towns who have not reached the goal of 10% affordable housing)
Sponsors: Maldonado, Morin, Carson, Barros and Carnevale

House Finance                                        Chairman Gallison   
Room 35, 3:00

Governor’s Budget:


Coastal Resources Management Council

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