Posts Tagged ‘Rhode Island’
July 1st, 2013 at 5:15 pm
Now for Some Good News: Rhode Island Enacts Wireless Telephone Regulatory Modernization Act
Posted by Print

Despite the federal government’s incessant attempts at expansionism, individual states continue to serve as invaluable laboratories of democracy.  That applies even in deep-blue Rhode Island, where new legislation helps ensure that emerging telecommunications technologies not already regulated will remain that way.  That assurance will encourage continued investment in wireless and broadband, which will in turn spur innovation and improve consumer service.

Entitled the Wireless Telephone Regulatory Modernization Act, the bill opens by noting that experience over “many years” has “established robust competition in the wireless communications market without unreasonable, industry-specific regulation as the best means of promoting universal service, economic efficiency, technological innovation, expanded consumer choice and empowerment, and investment in and development of advanced communications services.”  From that starting point, the bill:

–   Ensures that next-generation wireless services aren’t suffocated by bureaucratic regulations imposed with 20th century technology in mind, thereby encouraging experimentation and growth;

–   Encourages introduction of new products and services to enter the market and satisfy consumer demand for faster and more efficient performance by reducing the specter of uncertainty in regulation;  and

–   Preserves consumer trust that state and federal consumer protection authorities remain available to address actual concerns that may arise.

The bill summarizes, “Stating such policies in statute will provide additional certainty and continuity of this policy, and is necessary to attract new investment in wireless, broadband and other advanced networks, encourage technology deployment and promote the creation of new jobs in Rhode Island, while at the same time ensuring that consumers of wireless service continue to benefit from the consumer protection laws that apply to consumers generally.”

The telecommunications and broadband sectors remain a rare bright spot in our national and world economies, and legislation like this ensuring a “light touch” regulatory regime provides a welcome source of reassurance via our functioning laboratories of democracy.

September 19th, 2012 at 4:36 pm
ACLU Forces Ban on Father-Daughter Dances

You read that right.

The Daily Caller’s Caroline May reports that the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union demanded and won a ban on any public school event that limits participation to mothers and sons or fathers and daughters, such as traditional dances.

The reason: the events perpetuate “blatant gender stereotypes.”

As usual, the school sponsoring the offending dance was caught in a legal vice grip:

Although the federal Title IX anti-discrimination law does provide exemptions for such events, state law does not, but rather explicitly bans “sex discrimination in ‘…any and all school functions and activities,’” Superintendent of the Cranston Public School System Judith A Lundsten explained in an August letter sent to “Partner Organizations” and posted in full at WPRO News in R.I.

Already, one Republican candidate for Rhode Island state senate, Sean Gately, has made this a campaign issue, promising to introduce an amendment to the state law so that it tracks Title IX to allow exceptions for events like father-daughter dances.

If Gately can figure out a way to make the ACLU reimburse the school district for the hours spent in responding to this wasteful drain on public resources, he should run for governor.

Of course, the main problem with the ACLU in this and other instances is more than the waste of public resources.  It’s making a living by using the law to harass the very society the law was meant to serve.

No one who passed Rhode Island’s version of Title IX intended it to outlaw father-daughter dances.  Had the ACLU’s position been a publicly acknowledged purpose of the legislation when it was proposed, the law’s authors would have been laughed out of the chamber.  Whenever this issue gets a hearing in court – and Gately willing, it will – the reviewing court should do exactly the same to the ACLU’s argument.

Enough of the madness.  If people really want to stop making every argument political and thus polarizing, we must start by making less of our disputes a cause of legal action.

January 5th, 2012 at 6:48 pm
Rhode Island’s Pension Reform Success

The Manhattan Institute is honoring Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo for doing the seemingly impossible – reforming a Democratic state’s public pension system so that it starts to realize savings within years, not decades.  (The key is changing the contribution and pay-out systems for everyone, not just new hires and non-vested employees.)

But beyond dollars and cents, Raimondo made an appeal that should convince people whether it’s made by her or Paul Ryan.

Without real reform, Rhode Island’s annual pension costs would soar by hundreds of millions of dollars a year — a large figure in a state of one million residents. Raimondo emphasized that the ever-rising demands of the pension system would mean less money available for education and municipal services, and a deterioration in the effectiveness of government.

The emphasis is mine, but it is one Raimondo shares.  Government must do (some) important things and in certain areas it can even do nice things, but it cannot afford to do anything if a policy item starts to eat up the entire budget.

October 29th, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Clintons Currying Favor Amid Dejected Democrats

Power abhors a vacuum.  So too do the people seeking it.  From Rhode Island comes another example of the chit-building Bill Clinton is possibly doing while President Barack Obama dithers.

You may recall the now-infamous “shove-it” line to President Obama came from the Democratic nominee for Rhode Island’s governorship.  It was presaged by the president’s refusal to endorse Democrat Frank Caprio in deference to Obama’s friendship with former Republican, current independent candidate Lincoln Chafee.  In his rebuke of the president, Caprio did more than reject Obama’s aura; he embraced Bill Clinton’s.

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

Despite the furor his crude suggestion caused, Mr. Caprio not only is sticking by his “shove it” comment. His campaign has just announced a weekend event with Mr. Clinton, whom it says is much more popular in the state than Mr. Obama. The campaign told that Mr. Caprio “aims to be a governor in the mold of President Clinton.” Zing, zing. It also noted a Gallup survey showing that voters of every affiliation would be more likely to vote for a candidate backed by Mr. Clinton than one backed by Mr. Obama.

A new poll by the local NBC affiliate suggests that “shove it” may have unsettled the race, with Mr. Chafee now running at 35% and Mr. Caprio, with 25%, running third behind Republican John Robitaille, who has 28%. How much confidence to put in such polling amid a fluid three-man contest is debatable. In any case, Democrats will be watching closely. An eleventh-hour victory by Mr. Caprio would be fodder for those dreaming of a Clinton-Obama rematch in 2012.

If Caprio wins, don’t expect a make-up session between him and the president.  If he loses, don’t be surprised if he emerges 18 months from now as a top hand in Hillary’s bid to challenge for the 2012 nomination.