Category Archives: RI Politics

Photo ID Required – Rhode Island Primary Elections 2014

Tuesday, more than 100,000 Rhode Islanders will vote in the Democratic and Republican Primaries.  For the first time, a photo ID will be required – although it is important to note that all voters – with ID or not – will be allowed to vote.

Confused?  Don’t be.  Voters who do not bring a Photo ID can still vote using a Provisional Ballot.  The voter can then check the status of their provisional ballot and whether the Board of Canvassers approved or rejected his or her ballot here.  The ballot should be counted if the signature he or she gives at the polling place matches the signature on the voter registration card.

Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID in English and in Spanish.
Photo ID Required in RI Election.Photo ID - Spanish

Voters can also check their polling location and view a sample ballot here.

Federal Court: Warwick City Worker Prohibited from US Senate run

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island yesterday refused to grant a temporary restraining order regarding a Warwick city law that is keeping a city classified employee, Raymond T. McKay, from running for the U.S. Senate against U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

The law in question is Section 48-107 of the Warwick Code of Ordinances:

Classified employees and members of personnel hearing board not to run for or hold elective office.permanent link to this piece of content No classified employee or member of the personnel hearing board shall seek the nomination of or be a candidate for any elective office; neither shall any elective officer be appointed a member of the personnel hearing board or a classified employee unless he/she resigns his/her elective office.

The Providence Journal reported further on the Court’s ruling.

McConnell, citing a raft of case law, including multiple rulings issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, forcefully asserted the legal standing of Warwick’s ordinances. “There is no question whatsoever that this is a proper exercise of the city’s right to regulate its work force,” McConnell said. “The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently, clearly, and definitively said that local governments can prohibit … employees from running for partisan political offices because governments have sufficiently important interests — such as interest in visibly fair and effective administration and the interest in ensuring that employees are free from both coercion and the prospect of favor from political activity … .”

The full story is here.


Matthew Jerzyk Launches New Law Firm

JerzyklawLogoLast week, the Providence Journal ran a story about the opening of the Law Offices of Matthew Jerzyk LLC:

Matthew Jerzyk, one of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras’ top City Hall staffers, has launched his own Providence-based law firm.

The Law Offices of Matthew Jerzyk, located at 260 West Exchange St., launched a website and Twitter handle sometime over the weekend. It’s motto: “A law firm ready to fight for you.”

Jerzyk, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday, is set to leave his post as deputy city solicitor at the end of the year.

He has served in a variety of posts since Taveras took office in 2011, including senior counsel, director of government relations and director of policy and municipal affairs.

(…) A graduate of Brown University and the Roger Williams University School of Law, Jerzyk founded the liberal-leaning political blog in 2005 before selling it in 2008.

Read the whole story here.

Marriage Equality Passes Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee

Rhode Island is set to join every other New England state in granting same sex marriage rights.

Today, the full Senate is expected to vote on 2013-S 38  SUB A (Nesselbush) and 2013-H 5015  SUB B (Handy) after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out both bills yesterday by a vote of 7-4.

If passed by the Senate today, the bill would return to the House for another vote on the Senate amendments and then be forwarded to the Governor for his signature as soon as next week.

The law would take effect August 1, 2013.


Symposia: Money and Politics – Unholy Alliance or Free Speech? The Aftermath of Citizens United

Money and Politics – Unholy Alliance or Free Speech? The Aftermath of Citizens United

WHEN: April 25, 2013 7:00 pm

WHERE: Johnson & Wales University Yena Center Admissions Presentation Room 111 Dorrance Street Providence, RI

SPONSORS: ~Federal Bench/Bar Committee of the RI Bar Association ~The United States District Court for the District of RI ~Johnson & Wales University

Parking: Provided by Johnson & Wales University at its Pine Street parking lot, adjacent to Gaebe Commons. This flyer must be presented to the parking attendant.

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United dramatically transformed the landscape of campaign finance and has sparked an impassioned national debate over money and elections. A rising tide of campaign spending, the emergence of Super PACs, the growth of undisclosed funding… Some observers view these developments as affirming the American tradition of rough and tumble speech and the free market of ideas. Others see looming corruption and a threat to the integrity of our political process.

Join us for an examination of the critical issues that have emerged from the sweeping changes wrought by Citizens United . How has Citizens United changed campaigns and campaign financing? What effects has it had on the political process? And what does it mean for future elections?


ANTHONY CORRADO is Professor of Government at Colby College, where he teaches American politics and political theory. Widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts on political finance, Dr. Corrado is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Campaign Finance Institute. He has authored or coauthored a number of books on campaign finance and elections.

PAUL S. RYAN is Senior Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ryan has testified as an expert on election law before Congress and regularly represents the Campaign Legal Center before the Federal Election Commission and before state and municipal bodies around the nation. He has appeared as a campaign finance law expert on national news programs, and is quoted regularly by The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications.


MATTHEW T. OLIVERIO , a founding partner of Oliverio & Marcaccio LLP in Providence, concentrates in complex, civil and comm ercial litigation in state and federal courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He is regularly engaged by members of the bar to serve as an arbitrator.

STEVEN M. RICHARD practices comm ercial and civil litigation in the Providence office of Nixon Peabody LLP. Mr. Richard handles trial and appellate work in federal and state courts in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. He Co-Chairs the District Court’s Local Rules Review Committee and the Planning Committee for the Court’s 2013 District Conference.

Presiding Justice Gibney Appoints John F. McBurney III as Magistrate

This month, Superior Court Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney appointed Pawtucket Municipal and Housing Court Chief Judge John F. McBurney III as Magistrate in the Superior Court.
McBurney, whose nomination requires approval by the Rhode Island Senate, would replace William J. McAtee, a well-respected jurist who most recently ran the trial calendar.
Sources indicate that McBurney’s nomination will sail through the Senate.  He served in the Senate for 36 years in addition to serving in private law practice for 33 years and serving as Chief Judge of the Pawtucket Municipal and Housing Courts for 8 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island and his law degree from Suffolk University.
“He has had a distinguished and successful career in the legal profession and in public service,” Presiding Justice Gibney said. “He has eight years of judicial experience and he is temperamentally suited for the magistrate’s position. I am familiar with his work ethic and look forward to having him as a colleague.”
I have had the privilege of working with McBurney at the State House as well with two of his children on several important initiatives.  He is a great selection who will make a terrific addition to the Superior Court.

Central Falls Bankruptcy Case starts to heat up.

The Providence Journal reports that the Receiver of Central Falls, former Supreme Court Justice Robert G. Flanders Jr., withdrew a motion that would have called the question of whether the Receiver can use bankruptcy powers to reorganize the city’s finances, contracts and claims.

That means the main legal event may have to wait until next month, when the city’s unions are expected to file their formal written challenges to Flanders’ bankruptcy filing.

At least one of them, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 2, indicated in a filing Tuesday that it plans a challenge.

“The order for relief may be entered only upon a determination that the debtor has demonstrated it was eligible to file the petition and that the petition was filed in good faith,” FOP lawyer Diane Finkle argued in her filing. “The debtor herein has yet to establish such eligibility in light of the opposition to its petition.”

Special bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Bailey has set Sept. 16 as the deadline for filing objections to the bankruptcy, along with affidavits to support those arguments.

But that is about two weeks after the time Flanders has said he hopes to have a fiscal reorganization ready for the court to approve. In the meantime, he and the unions continue to negotiate possible out-of-court agreements.

Flanders’ lawyer, Theodore Orson, has said Flanders believes he is acting correctly under the law and expects Bailey to agree. Lawyers for the unions have declined to speculate on how Bailey might rule or how a ruling might be implemented.

This will be a legal challenge that everyone will be paying attention to.