Sen. Whitehouse: Significant Concerns about Fracking

Great article by Steve Ahlquist, including this:

This is no idle concern of a local resident crying NIMBY. Ted Nesi reports that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is undecided on the matter. His spokesman Seth Larson said, “The senator has significant concerns about methane leaks during natural gas production and elsewhere in the supply chain and has been urging EPA to pin down the size of the problem and take action to address it.”

Air quality benefits outweigh fracked gas facility.

Not for Nothin’ But….Rhode Island Roads Stink! Sheldon Whitehouse Agrees

It really hits you how bad our roads are when they close the bridge on Park Avenue, so that we can’t even get to a friend’s house without having to go all the way down Reservoir and up Elmwood, making what used to be a 10 minute trip into a 25 minute ordeal. Infrastructure: the secret sauce that makes society possible. Please don’t let this funding lapse!

From the Whitehouse press office:

Whitehouse to Hold Press Conference on Highway Funding

Senator to Join Labor Leaders and Major Rhode Island Construction Company to Discuss Need to Pass a Highway Bill before Federals Funding Expires

Providence, RI – With federal highway funding set to expire at the end of July, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the need to pass a long-term federal highway funding bill to create jobs, grow our economy, and make our roads and bridges safer in Rhode Island. Whitehouse will be joined for the press conference by labor leaders and a major Rhode Island construction company to discuss the effect a lapse in federal funding would have on Ocean State workers.

Whitehouse has been deeply involved in crafting the six-year transportation funding blueprint that passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week and awaits further action in the Senate. Whitehouse succeeded in including in the bill a provision to establish an “Assistance for Major Projects Program,” to provide funding to assist states in completing large, important, and expensive projects like reconstruction of Rhode Island’s 6-10 Connector.

EVENT: Sheldon Whitehouse Holds Press Conference on Highway Funding

WHEN: Wednesday, July 1, 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Apponaug Circulator Construction Site, 65 Centerville Road, Warwick (Across the Street from the Burger King)

According to a report compiled last year by the White House, Rhode Island had the highest percentage of deficient or obsolete bridges in America and was tied for the highest percentage of roads in poor condition. And according to the transportation research group TRIP, driving on roads in need of repair costs Rhode Island motorists $478 million a year – $637 per motorist – in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.

Why is the Blackstone Foundation Funding Social Enterprise in Rhode Island? – Workforce Development – Inside Philanthropy

Memo to development officers: It’s always good to have a U.S. Senator in your corner. Case in point: $200,000 in funding for two nonprofits in Rhode Island doing workforce development.

Through the Blackstone Foundation’s Innovation Grants Initiative, the Founders League and the Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) were selected to receive funding to support startups located in Rhode Island. Blackstone gave out $3 million in gifts this year to organizations around the country doing work to improve local economies and support business activity. Now in its third year, the Blackstone Innovation Grants program is a big piece of the foundation’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship in the U.S. and abroad.

via Why is the Blackstone Foundation Funding Social Enterprise in Rhode Island? – Workforce | Labor | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: Republican Budget Unfair and Unreal

From the Whitehouse press office:

Washington, DC – Early this morning, the U.S. Senate voted to approve the Republican budget resolution by a vote of 52-46. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Budget Committee, released the statement below regarding the vote:

“I voted against the Republican budget proposal because it calls for severe cuts that would dramatically harm Rhode Islanders while protecting every single tax loophole for the rich and powerful. It would slash Medicaid and food stamps, undermine the promise of Pell Grants for students, and repeal provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have helped over 16 million Americans get affordable health care coverage. And yet it would preserve hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate tax giveaways, like incentives for shipping American jobs overseas and reincorporating in a foreign country, and special breaks for coal, oil, and gas companies. That’s why it has to rely on accounting gimmicks to achieve balance within ten years. It’s simply an unfair and unreal document.”

A Community Foundation Playing a Big Role in the Next Health Care Battle: Payment Reform – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Back in December, we wrote about the Rhode Island Foundation blazing a trail for health care reform by convening Rhode Island health care stakeholders and getting everyone to sign on to a reform agenda. A key plank of that agenda is expanding and developing “alternative reimbursement models that reward value and patient-centric care delivery.” Translation: let’s scrap fee-for-service.

A few weeks later, we learned that this movement may have a national impact, with the Obama administration borrowing much of the language and many ideas of the Rhode Island health care reform agenda. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services announced ambitious goals for moving Medicare payments away from traditional fee-for-service reimbursement.

via A Community Foundation Playing a Big Role in the Next Health Care Battle: Payment Reform – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Whitehouse and Cornyn Meet with Obama on Criminal Justice

From the Whitehouse Press office:

Washington, DC – Today President Obama and Vice President Biden convened a meeting at the White House to discuss criminal justice reform efforts with key members of Congress, including U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Whitehouse, a lead sponsor of the CORRECTIONS Act along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), released the statement below regarding the meeting:

“Both Republican and Democratic leaders agree we can pass meaningful criminal justice reform measures this year, and I was grateful for the opportunity to discuss how to best move forward. Senator Cornyn and I have already built a strong bipartisan consensus around our legislation to better prepare inmates for re-entering society and reduce the risk that they’ll commit future crimes, and I strongly support the effort led by other Senators to reform our sentencing laws. I’m hopeful that we will be able to achieve both prison and sentencing reform this year, and I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership on this important issue.”

According to the White House, other Senators attending today’s meeting included Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT).

The CORRECTIONS Act would improve public safety and save taxpayer money by requiring prisoners to participate in recidivism reduction programs and allowing certain eligible prisoners to earn up to 25 percent of their sentence in prerelease custody for successful completion of these programs. The programs, which can include things like vocational training and substance abuse treatment, have been proven to help former prisoners successfully re-acclimate to society upon release and to reduce the risk that they will commit future crimes.