With the revelation of two suspicious RI BOE rules changes, we call on the House Oversight Committee to hold emergency fall hearings.

Unlawful BOE Rules Changes? Center Calls for Oversight Hearings, in Addition to Independent Investigation, to Look Into Rhode Island Election Irregularities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 9, 2017

Board of Election Rules Changes Designed to Lessen Election Integrity in Rhode Island?

In RI, possible to apply, be registered, and vote without ever providing legally required personally identifying information?

Center adds call for House Oversight hearings, in addition to Independent Investigation, re. apparent election irregularities

Providence, RI – The revelation today of two past cases of suspicious RI Board of Elections (BOE) rules changes prompted the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity to call on the House Oversight Committee to hold emergency fall hearings to look into potential illegal registration and voting guidelines. This, in addition to the Center’s previous call on the Governor and/or the Attorney General to initiate an independent investigation.

The Ocean State Current (The Current) published today an analysis of a 2008 BOE rules change that removed an important section on the state’s application form for voter registration. Prior to 2008 and after new federal law in 2003, an applicant had to check a box … stating that no drivers license or social security number had (ever) been issued to the person by the state or federal government … as reason to accept alternative (less conclusive) identification credentials. Since 2008 this section and checkbox no longer appears on the form (lessening legal risk to disingenuous applicants?). Comparative images of the altered forms can be found in the article on The Current, which is the Center’s own journalism and blog website.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

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Also today, Ken Block published new research about another questionable BOE rules change in 2012. This promulgated rule effectively exempts anyone who votes via mail ballot or via emergency voting from state voter ID requirements. According to Block, over 40,000 such votes were cast in 2016 by voters who have been improperly exempted from providing voter identification as required by Rhode Island’s voter ID law, RI General Law 17-19-24.2. This improper exemption may have also led to violations of federal voting law, specifically the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which requires that voters who do not supply personally identifying information when they register, must submit that information the first time that they vote.

“In addition to the Governor and Attorney General, it is the responsibility of Chairwoman Serpa to call her committee into session to determine if the State of Rhode Island is violating state and federal elections law,” said the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “In Rhode Island, it appears that the BOE and the Secretary of State’s office, over the years, have purposely left the door open for individuals to register to vote … and cast a vote … without ever providing personally identifying information as required by state and federal law. As I previously commented, the magnitude of these findings potentially shake the very foundation of our state’s democracy … and must be officially investigated.”

The Center has also demanded a public statement from the Office of the Secretary of State and from the Board Of Elections ,s which meets this Wednesday to consider these claims, to specifically declare whether or not current voter registration practices are in compliance with federal law.

The Center further recommends additional items be investigated and that potential actions be taken, with regard to the state’s overall election process:

  • Executive order or legislation requiring Rhode Island’s Secretary of State to backfill PII information for the hundreds of thousands of voter registrations that are missing this information.
  • Review of Rhode Island’s “Motor Voter” and automatic registration policies to determine if they comply with federal law
  • Review of state’s absentee mail ballot, emergency voting, and voter ID laws to ensure they comport with the reformed voter registration process
  • Consider a constitutional amendment to codify appropriate reforms so as to ensure election integrity for future generations
  • State or Federal lawsuit on behalf of potentially disenfranchised voters, in order to assure prompt and clear action to cure any legal defects in advance of the next election cycle

Last month Block previously released research of 2016 election voting research showing that every RI city and town had registered voters with missing personally identifying information, as required by federal law. Block also sent a letter of complaint to the US Justice Department, along with detailed city-by-city and district-by-district charts – both can be viewed here.

According to Block’s research, results from the 2016 General Election show that more than thirty percent (over 143,000 votes) of the total votes cast were from voters who did not have a validating drivers license or social security number on file in Rhode Island’s voter registration system. In every city and town in the Ocean State at least 20% of all votes cast last November, were by individuals without such personally identifying information (PII) on record. In five towns, over 40% of voters had no listed PII.


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

As the Center recommended over summer 2017, Rhode Island families and businesses would have been better off had the General Assembly not reconvened this year, after prematurely shutting down in June.

Statement on General Assembly Special Session: Negatives Outweigh Positives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2017

Negative Measures Outweigh Positive Steps

State Would Have Been Better Off Had Lawmakers Stayed Home

Providence, RI – Capitulation to the harmful progressive-Democrat agenda was enough to turn what might have been a positive special fall session of the state’s General Assembly into a net negative. This according to the nonpartisan Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the Ocean State’s leading pro-family, pro-business research and advocacy organization.

While the package of Justice Reinvestment bills that the Center backed are now heading to the Governor, and while evergreen contracts for government workers and invasive tracking-cameras on highways were temporarily defeated, other negative measures, advanced by the state’s union-progressive wing, far outweighed these positives.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

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“Many Rhode Island families and business will suffer from the intrusive new free-time-off mandates imposed last evening on employers,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Another hit to our state’s already dismal business climate, along with fewer good paying job opportunities, will be the result.”

Also according to the Center, in a step backward for constitutional rights, legally exercising one’s first-amendment rights can now lead to termination of one’s second-amendment rights. Further, local property taxes will increase under overly-generous new pension disability guidelines, offsetting the local automobile property tax relief enacted earlier this year.

As the Center recommended over the summer, Rhode Island families and businesses would have been better off had the General Assembly not reconvened this year, after prematurely shutting down in June.

In June, the Center published a full analysis of the 2018 budget, which additionally discusses:

  • The Center’s call for the state to fulfill its promise to cut the sales tax rate to 6.5%
  • How major portions of the progressive agenda are advanced in this budget
  • Per capita spending comparison with our better performing New England neighbors
  • Other deceptive patterns observed in the budget process, including “scooping”
  • Other positive and negative provisions in the budget and impressions of the overall 2017 legislative session

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

The Center recommends that the voters of Rhode Island should decided the fate of the proposed new PawSox stadium, and avoid eminent domain.

Center Recommends Public Referendum on PawSox Stadium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 14, 2017

Bonds Should Be Approved by Voters

Eminent Domain Reforms Also Recommended

Providence, RI — The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in seeking to advance good government that represents the people, recommends that the voters of Rhode Island should decided the fate of the proposed new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

With hearings set to begin on related and controversial legislation, the Center believes an alternative path is a superior approach: where the people of Rhode Island have the question placed directly before them in a 2018 referendum, as is the process for most public bonds. The 38-Studios moral-obligation bond disaster demonstrates what can happen when lawmakers bypass the public.

“There is simply too much distrust of government right now for the public to accept what will be perceived as a backroom deal. If this stadium is to be publicly owned, then the people should have a direct say,” suggested Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “This is not your typical corporate subsidy deal and has many subtleties. Proponents and opponents should have the chance to make their case to the public and let the chips fall where they may.”


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

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Regarding the related issue of eminent domain, the Center encourages state and local officials to avoid setting any precedents before it is clear the public supports the venture. The further Center reiterates its position that the government seizure of private property should never occur for private economic development purposes. However, the fact that the proposed stadium would be publicly owned, presents an added consideration; but is yet another reason why the public should first make the call.

The Center continues to recommend that state eminent domain statutes be reformed to prohibit eminent domain for private uses, similar to the bill (S2409) submitted by Senator Mark Cote (D, Woonsocket) in 2016.

“The Pawtucket Red Sox are all about its fan base. It’s only proper that those fans should decide this issue,” concluded Stenhouse.


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

Increased natural gas pipeline Capacity would bring rates down for Rhode Island families after recent electricity rate hikes.

Center: Progressive Policies Root Cause of Electricity Rate Hikes on RI Families

STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2017

As forewarned, Progressive Energy Agenda Hurting RI Families in their Pocketbooks

Increased Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity Would Bring Rates Down

Providence, RI – Already ranking a dismal 45th in overall family prosperity, Rhode Islanders will soon suffer from a 16-21% increase on their electricity bills, making matters even worse. The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity attributes these artificially high rates to state energy policies that serve to limit the supply of low-cost natural gas in the region and that mandate National Grid to purchase high-cost electricity from unreliable renewable energy producers.

In 2016, the Center forewarned of almost this exact level price increase (13-18%) in its report on the cost of renewable energy mandates.

This price increase is largely due to basic supply and demand forces. The supply of natural gas, which is used to produce low-cost and low-emission electricity, is severely limited due to inadequate natural-gas pipeline capacity into our ISO New England region. Renewable energy mandates and increased fees due to Rhode Island’s membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) exacerbate the problem.

“Today, every Rhode Island family and business more clearly understands the real cost of electing progressive Democrats into the General Assembly and of mainstream Democrats capitulating to their agenda,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The way to spur private sector investment in expanded pipeline capacity is to provide market certainty by eliminating disincentives to produce and sell natural gas electricity.”

The Center laments that while much of the country is enjoying the benefits of abundant low-cost, low-emission natural gas electricity, Rhode Islanders, conversely, are suffering from policies that lead to lower available supplies of natural gas.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

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The price increases are not attributable to profit motives by National Grid. Rather, as advocated by progressives such as US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and State Representative Aaron Regunberg, the federal and state assault on low-cost fossil fuel energy, combined with mandates to sell high-cost green energy, have artificially distorted the free-market, leading to dramatic price increases … with no discernible and offsetting environmental benefit.

Increased production of low-cost and low-emission energy derived from natural gas offers consumers and politicians an acceptable compromise solution. However, without increased pipeline capacity, such increased production is not possible, even if the proposed Burrillville natural gas energy plant were to come online.

The Center suggests that the path to lower electric prices is clear. First, repeal the mandates and subsidies for high-cost renewable energy. Second, clear away the regulations that create market uncertainty, creating a renewed incentive for the private sector to invest in increased natural gas pipeline capacity.

Just last week, the Center also issued a report on progressive bills, two of which would heap an additional $48 million annual burden on Ocean State ratepayers.


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

State to Restrict Free Movement of Goods? Preemptive strike to force truckers to pay future tolls in Rhode Island

STATEMENT: Center Blasts “Truck Toll Tyranny” as Bullying by RIDOT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2017

State to Restrict Free Movement of Goods?

Heavy-Handed Totalitarian Measure Seen as Preemptive Strike to Force Truckers to Pay Future Tolls

Providence, RI – In a heavy-handed edict, reminiscent of soviet-style totalitarianism, the state of Rhode Island is seeking to restrict the free-flow of goods and commerce by restricting trucker traffic on secondary roads. This, according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in response to a RIDOT requested and approved agenda item at a 9:30 AM meeting today of the State Traffic Commission at the State House.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

show less


“This is truck toll tyranny. It is an obvious preemptive attack against the RI Trucking Association by the State in a blatant attempt to force truckers to pay future tolls,” averred Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The dishonesty of the State – in claiming this outrageous move is to preserve the safety of roads – is nothing more than government bullying of a political opponent. This restriction of free-commerce and the free movement of goods is something you would expect to see in soviet socialist countries, not in America. When the power of government is turned against its own citizens, especially when for petty political payback purposes, we all should shudder at this infringement on our liberties.”

The official letter acknowledging this agenda item, with details of restricted roadways:

 

This official letter from the state is a a heavy-handed edict, reminiscent of soviet-style totalitarianism, the state of Rhode Island is seeking to restrict the free-flow of goods and commerce by restricting trucker traffic on secondary roads.


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!