The Scoop: Raimondo Launches Poll, Nunes Angry over E. Coli
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
GoLocal has learned that Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has launched a new poll to gauge public opinion surrounding her expected run for governor in 2014.
The poll asks participants questions about Raimondo and her likely opponent Providence Mayor Angel Taveras—primarily focusing on individuals’ responses to questions about the candidates’ perceived strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it features numerous cross-tabulations of data and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
Interestingly, Raimondo’s newly commissioned poll comes one week after Taveras commissioned and released a poll showing that he possesses a dramatic 19 point lead over Raimondo in a hypothetical gubernatorial primary.
The poll, which was conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, also found that Taveras leads Raimondo in key categories such as name recognition and likeability. Additionally, the poll shows that Taveras holds double-digit leads among men and women.
Look for Raimondo’s camp to release the poll results—which will likely provide a stark contrast to Taveras’ survey—in the upcoming days.
Representative Jared R. Nunes (D-Dist. 25, West Warwick, Coventry) is calling for all parties involved in the release of Sunday’s boil-water advisory to develop a faster, more practical system after thousands of residents, business and public officials were left in the dark about a potential E. Coli contamination for an extended period of time.
Nunes has written a letter to members of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Kent County Water Authority (KCWA) to express his deep concerns about the process by which roughly 25,000 utilities customers were notified of the potential harm in the water supply. He said he wanted to make sure it was clear to everyone that delaying a boil-water order even for a few hours on a Sunday when a sample was suspected to be contaminated on Friday could mean the difference between a healthy child and a severely ill one.
“The general manager stated to numerous media outlets that he was well within the 24-hour notification required by law,” Nunes wrote. “However, in absence of a state law requiring notification, common sense must prevail. It is the duty of a public utility to quickly notify its residents of a potential health hazard.”
He added that “there needs to be a proactive approach in dealing with such situations. If KCWA is unable to put procedures in place to notify the public in a timely manner, then perhaps the PUC, in conjunction with the RIEMA, should mandate notification upon receipt of the first failed test.”
Nunes pushed for legislation this year to increase the number of members on the KCWA Board of Directors, which would give greater representation to communities currently outside of the water authority’s rule-making process. In his letter, he reiterated that it might be time to consider increasing the size of the board to assist with implementing new regulations to “benefit all affected areas” and increase the accountability of the KCWA.
In light of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s 21-hour-plus filibuster on Obamacare, U.S. Representative David Cicilline issued a statement today emphasizing the benefits the law has already provided Rhode Islanders, as well as resources that will be available through his Congressional office when open enrollment begins on October 1st.
“Obamacare was passed by Congress, signed by the President, and affirmed by the Supreme Court. As open enrollment begins next month, it’s important that Rhode Islanders and all Americans have the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health care coverage and new benefits this law provides,” said Cicilline. “Rather than continuing to relitigate a fight they have already lost, Tea Party Republicans should become part of the solution and work with Democrats to make sure the Affordable Care Act is implemented as effectively as possible for the American people.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Affordable Care Act ensures that more than 100,000 uninsured Rhode Islanders will be eligible for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. In addition, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage for as many as 462,538 non-elderly Rhode Islanders who live with a pre-existing condition, and 174,974 Rhode Island women will have access to preventive services without cost-sharing.
Cruz began his filibuster at 2:41 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and stopped at noon on Wednesday. It is the fourth-longest filibuster in Senate history.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced today that several Rhode Island libraries will receive nearly $800,000 in federal grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), thanks to a new law authored by Reed.
The Providence Public Library, in partnership with the Cranston Public Library, will use nearly $500,000 to help boost lifelong learning opportunities and increase access to digital literacy programs. The Providence Community Library will receive $250,000 to partner with Ready to Learn Providence on “Ready for K!,” a school readiness program. The University of Rhode Island (URI) will also use a $50,000 grant to develop “Media Smart Libraries: Building Partnerships to Support Children in a Digital Age.”
“I commend these public libraries and their community partners on winning these prestigious grants. This federal funding will help boost both childhood and adult literacy and improve services for library users. I appreciate IMLS for recognizing the importance of these initiatives and supporting Rhode Island’s public libraries,” said Reed.
Last year, Reed received two of the library community’s highest national honors: the Crystal Apple from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and Honorary Membership from the American Library Association (ALA).
The Special Legislative Commission to Study the Funding for East Bay Bridges will hold its first meeting of the year Thursday at 4 p.m.
Tomorrow’s agenda includes a review of commission legislation and a presentation by the House and Senate fiscal staffs, which will include a recap of recent studies on the state of Rhode Island’s infrastructure and funding, current initiatives and economic impact considerations.
Last year, the General Assembly approved a provision in the budget transferring the ownership of the Sakonnet River Bridge, which connects Tiverton and Portsmouth, to RITBA so that a toll could be placed on the bridge.
Rep. Helio Melo (D-Dist. 64, East Providence) and Sen. Daniel Da Ponte (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), who serve as the chairmen of the House and Senate finance committees, co-chair the commission.
The commission allows lawmakers and officials from the affected state departments and agencies to come together for six months and map out various funding plans, potentially eradicating the need for a Sakonnet Bridge toll.
Capital Committee Holds Meeting on Higher Education Budget
Yesterday afternoon, the Capital Development Planning and Oversight Committee convened a meeting at Rhode Island College to hear the capital requests from several higher education institution Presidents and to review emergency conservation projects currently underway at said schools.
Here were the energy project highlights, courtesy of Thomas A. Mullaney, Executive Director/Budget Officer:
- URI has completed all of its proposed energy conservation projects—all of which meet the cost-benefit standards.
- CCRI is continuing multiple energy conservation projects, which began last year.
- RIC is at the beginning stages of an energy audit.
Aside from reviewing energy-related undertakings, the Capital Committee also heard request for new bond referenda requests from URI for renovations and/or additions to certain Kingston Campus facilities—including the fine arts center and the engineering facilities. Any additional authorization requests set to appear on next November’s ballot will need to be included in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s next budget, which will be submitted in January, Mullaney told GoLocal.
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