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Rhode Island Tip Sheet: Labor vs. pension cuts

September 12, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: The influence of labor on the General Assembly is mighty (according to Republicans/conservatives), wildly overstated (according to unions), or perhaps somewhere in between. Given these varying views — and the launch late last week of a labor-backed campaign against pension cuts — efforts to solve Rhode Island’s pension crisis will reveal much about unions’ current power. Not coincidentally, public-sector employees were out in force this morning for the final meeting of state Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s pension advisory committee. Raimondo is set to brief the state Senate this afternoon at 4.

CD1: John Loughlin has picked up the endorsement of House Minority Leader Brian Newberry . . . . Brendan Doherty, meanwhile, has a time this Wednesday, September 14, 6 pm, at the Hope Club in Providence.

POST-9/11: I spoke with Chief Joseph Little of the Capitol Police for a story on Statehouse security in the post-September 11 age. Little told me his greatest concerns are physical confrontations stemming from heated debate on Smith Hill. 

POST-WAR: Senator Jack Reed, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, and National Guard Major General Kevin McBride today unveiled a bill to improve mental health services for members of the Guard and Reserve. From Reed’s news release: “The bill would establish a competitive grant process for five new centers nationwide to better coordinate research, treatment, education and outreach of mental health and substance use disorders and traumatic brain injury (TBI) among members of the National Guard and Reserve. According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, over 2.2 million Americans have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and thousands have been deployed multiple times. Nationally, approximately half of the combat troops deployed have been members of the National Guard.”

MEDIA I: Via Poynter: Nielsen finds that Americans spend just a tiny bit of online time with news, compared with social media . . . . So maybe it’s a good thing that YouTube is considering collaborating with the Center for Investigative Reporting.

MEDIA II: Conservative critic Noel Shepphard points to Doonesbury’s examination of Sarah Palin in asserting “the liberal media” has a double-standard when it comes to taking swipes at women.

RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE: TPM has Rick Perry softening his attack on Social Security . . . . NRO says liberals have also tagged Social Security as a Ponzi scheme . . . . NPR’s Ken Rudin looks at whether the media are picking winners in the GOP race.

GREAT NORTH: The Boston Globe introduces its new online model, free through September 30 . . . . Dan Kennedy says it offers hope for newspapers that want to create an app-like experience, but control their own distribution.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal Government has scheduled a September 15 hearing “to discuss the state’s emergency response to the recent tropical storm and aftermath.”

RED SOX: Boston’s tailspin is “a tremendous opportunity to respond,” says GM Theo Epstein.

BIRTHDAY: Paul Giammarco.

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