Center co-Sponsors Website Calling on Lawmakers to Support Investigation into 38 Studios; Court Documents to be Unsealed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2015

Groups from Left, Right, and Center Unite in Call for Further 38 Studios Investigations
Demands Legislators Take a Position; Encourages Voters to Act

Providence, RI – Following a joint-press conference last week, which has already led to the unsealing of court documents related the 38 Studios boondoggle, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has again joined with other good-government groups to co-sponsor a website that calls for further investigations that will “provide a comprehensive report on all aspects of the 38 Studios deal – from its beginning to the day the company shut down.”

With one of the group’s original four demands apparently now met, the website that was launched last evening, Investigate38StudiosNow.org, makes it easy to petition state officials and will track whether or not elected officials support or oppose “full and transparent investigations into 38 Studios.”

Joining the Center as co-sponsors are: WatchdogRI.org, RI Taxpayers, Operation Clean Government, and Occupy Providence.

“Now is the time for elected officials take a position; either in support of a search for the truth, or, in opposition to investigations and preventing discovery of potential wrongdoing by their colleagues,” commented Stenhouse. “This disturbing trend of special interest, insider government via backroom deals must come to an end. Any individuals involved must be exposed and held accountable.”

The Center points to similar non-transparent government-by-fiat edicts and actions, such as the secret pension reform compromise arbitrator negotiations, Deepwater Wind, RhodeMap RI, the HPV vaccine mandate, HealthSource RI, as well as the current Pawtucket Red Sox stadium relocation negotiations, sadly now referred to as 38 Stadium.

Media Contacts:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity
401.429.6115 | info@rifreedom.org

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The mission of the 501-C-3 nonprofit organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, July 2015: RI the Gem of the Southern New England Economy

[Click here for the printable one-page PDF of this post.]

 

With another drop in unemployment, to 5.8%, July was another banner month for the Rhode Island economy, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That showing was on the strength of a 1,299 gain in the workforce from revised numbers for June and a 2,086 increase in employment.

As the first chart below shows, 2015 has brought an unabated boom in employiment, in Rhode Island — at least according to these statistics. Employment data is based on a phone survey that the BLS conducts in each state and heavily adjusts according to benchmarks and assumptions about seasonal changes.

The second chart shows that Rhode Island remains well below its employment and labor force as of January 2007 and that this is unique in Southern New England. Comparing this chart to last month’s
iteration, however, would show that Massachusetts and Connecticut are headed in the other direction. If one believes the numbers, Massachusetts lost more than 21,000 employed residents, while Connecticut lost nearly 2,000.

How Rhode Island is moving in the other direction isn’t immediately clear.

The third chart illustrates the significance of the size of the labor force. The red line shows what the curve would have been if the labor force had not shrunk since January 2007, and it ends in a conspicuous cliff. In June, unemployment would still have been 8.2%. Even that represents a huge drop, over the course of this year so far, from 11.0% in December.

RI-laborforceandemp-0107-0715

RIMACT-laborforceandemp-0715perc0107

RI-unemploymentrate-steadyLF-0107-0715

STATEMENT: Center Commends Coventry Resolution Calling for End to HPV Vaccine Mandate; EU launches new safety probe

STATEMENT
August 26, 2015

Coventry School Committee Calls on Governor to Rescind Department of Health Action
Public and Legislative Concerns Intesify Against Unpopular HPV Mandate

The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity commends the Coventry School Committee for unanimously passing a resolution last evening, which calls upon the Governor to rescind the controversial and unpopular HPV vaccine mandate that would exclude children from attending school for not receiving the invasive immunization shot.

CNWJfXUWEAU-642“The Center encourages all school committees and town or city councils to consider taking similar action,” suggested Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Grassroots and local advocacy of this nature is the most effective way to get a clear message to the political class; in this case, that the state should not infringe on the rights of parents and families to make such private and personal decision for themselves.”

The Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) has already backpedaled in two significant areas, by suggesting that parents should use the religious exemption form and by stating that the DOH would not enforce the school exclusion. “If there’s no longer any enforcement and if people are encouraged to opt out, then let’s end this charade … and end this mandate.” concluded Stenhouse.

Underscored by recent reporting that the European Union’s equivalent of the FDA is launching a new investigation into the safety of the HPV vaccine, there are a number of legitimate questions and facts that should cause the Governor, and all lawmakers, to be concerned about continued support of this forced immunization:

  • Voters and parents are outraged. A Facebook group has exploded from just a few hundred members to 2400 since this controversy became public.
  • A parental rights infringement. Parents are outraged that the government is forcing itself into the middle of their relationship with their children and their doctors.
  • Not a public health or school issue. The HPV virus is not communicable in a classroom or other public environment and is transmitted via sexual activity. HPV is a private, family issue that should be handled by parents, not the state government.
    A special-interest handout? Big money from Merck, the pharmaceutical giant pushing the Gardasil vaccine, has been prevalent at both the national CDC level and in lobbying activities and a vendor relationship in the Ocean State. Such payouts raise serious questions about the validity of the CDC claims.
  • Medical concerns: a local physicians group that contacted the Center questions the effectiveness of the vaccine and whether or not its documented side effects are more dangerous to children than the disease itself … and is prepared to cite research sources.
  • Lack of governmental transparency. The Center questions how such a controversial public policy could have been implemented without any legitimate legislative or public debate, and will push for legislation to amend this process.

The Center’s home page for this issue is www.RIFreedom.org/HPV. The Center strongly recommends that any parent uncomfortable with this vaccine for their children should claim a ‘religious medical exemption’, which can be executed via a simple form that can be downloaded from the health.ri.gov website.

Media Contact:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
401.429.6115 | info@rifreedom.org

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The mission of the 501-C-3 nonprofit organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedom

PolitiFact RI Should be Condemned for Ruling on Center’s HPV Statement

Commentary

PolitiFact RI Should be Sentenced to Journalistic Death

Once again twists truth to support pre-determined ruling

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity calls on the Providence Journal to issue a death sentence to its PolitFact RI kangaroo court.

Time after time, in defending the status quo, the so-called “Truth-o-meter” has used tortuously twisted logic and intellectually dishonest rationale as evidence to support  what are obviously pre-determined, biased rulings.

In challenging the corrupt, status quo politics in RI, our Center recently issued the following statement about the burgeoning HPV vaccine mandate debate:

“Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”

In ruling that our Center’s statement was only “Half True”, PolitiFact-RI not only continued its pattern of seeking to find fault with accurate and honest statements, but one of Politifact’s twisted arguments was that a “requirement” is not a “mandate”. In its zeal to condemn our Center, it may not have been clear to the prosecutor-judge-and-jury-all-in-one writers that, PolitiFact’s ruling contradicted its own newspaper headlines.

On July 29, the day before the Center released its statement, the Providence Journal ran this headline at the very top of its front page:  “Rhode Island to mandate HPV vaccine for 7th graders.” The article itself used the word “mandatory” five times.

Further, in reaching its farcical ruling, PolitiFact purposely attempted to deceive our Center. In its initial inquiry to the Center, PolitFact asked:

“We are asking you to provide evidence to support this statement. There are two elements. First, that Rhode Island is the only state to mandate the vaccine. And second, that no other state has mandated the vaccine in the particular way that you describe.”

As the reader can also see in the entire email thread below, there are three important deceptions to point out:

  1. Politifact itself misrepresented the facts in question, as we never claimed that RI was the “only” state to mandate the vaccine. Nice try.
  2. PolitiFact refused to clarify which aspect of our statement they were challenging, despite repeated requests from our end
  3. Similarly, as has also been their pattern, PolitiFact utilized a bait-and-switch tactic; seemingly inquiring about one aspect of the statement, when, in practice, they base their ruling on a contrived interpretation of some other, more obscure aspect (ie, is this a mandate?)

Pointing out other under-handed tactics, Justin Katz further wrote in a related post in The Ocean State Current:

The brief summary under the “Truth-o-meter” reading “Half True” on PolitiFact RI’s main page emphasizes: “Pretty flexible for a despot.”  That’s a reference to the most weaselly part of Mark Reynolds’s quote-unquote analysis, which reads as follows:

[CEO Mike] Stenhouse labels the policies in Virginia and Rhode Island as mandates. But Jason L. Schwartz, an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Public Health, says you can’t call policies with such liberal exemptions mandates. At best, this is an example of the frequent PolitiFact tactic of finding somebody whose opinion the writer prefers and treating that as the authoritative fact.

One wonders, though, what rating PolitiFact RI would give its own newspaper.

As for the PolitiFact rating, there are three relevant premises:

Rhode Island is only the second state to require the HPV vaccine for students. Even PolitiFact admits this is true.

The requirement is a mandate. This is so true that the supposedly objective journalists at PolitiFact RI’s home paper ran it in the most prominent spot on the paper.

The mandate was implemented without public debate.  PolitiFact’s evidence of “public debate”  is that the professional activists at the ACLU managed to send in a written objection and post about it on Facebook.  Well, then.

The fact that PolitiFact considers the awareness of the ACLU to be “public debate” — as opposed to hearings and a floor debate by the public’s elected representatives — is one of two highly disturbing aspects of Reynolds’s essay.  The other is the latitude that it gives to government officials to adjust the truth to suit their needs.  Days after the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity helped drum up actual public debate and concern about the HPV mandate, the Dept. of Health came forward to assert that the exemptions are so broad that its mandates should really be considered something more like suggestions.

The Providence Journal should end this fraudulent, government-propaganda feature.  It distorts public awareness and undermines the political process.

Finally, PolitiFact refused to publish the official statement our Center provided in response to its inquiry:

“The Center stands by its statement. In mishandling the plainly presented content of our research in PolitiFact’s original inquiry to us, combined with PolitiFact’s past pattern of twisting the obvious intent of straightforward statements, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has lost faith in PolitiFact’s mission to “find the truth” and will no longer participate in a process, where one organization plays prosecutor, judge, and jury in often reaching intellectually dishonest rulings.

The vital components of our statement have been validated by the Providence Journal’s own reporting and in your own emails to us. The Center further invites PolitiFact readers to conduct their own independent online search on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.”

PolitiFact has become PolitFarce. The people of Rhode Island deserve an honest debate about major public policy issues, where each side has a forum to openly present their respective points of view. When the resources of  a powerful organization like the Providence Journal are used to serve as self-proclaimed judge, yet consistently, and likely purposely, corrupts what should be a helpful fact-finding process, it’s time for PolitiFact RI to be sentenced to journalistic death.

THE ENTIRE EMAIL THREAD
—— Original Message ——
From: “Mike Stenhouse”
To: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
Cc: “Justin Katz” <jkatz@oceanstatecurrent.com>
Sent: 8/13/2015 7:34:08 AM
Subject: Re[6]: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Mark – thank your for your responses, however Politifact’s mishandling of our simple statement, combined with the changing nature of your questions to us, has generated serious concern by our Center about PolitiFact’s capacity to conduct a fair investigation. Below is the only statement our Center will make on this matter, and we ask you to publish it – in full – as our official response to your inquiry:
“The Center stands by its statement. In mishandling the plainly presented content of our research in PolitiFact’s original inquiry to us, combined with PolitiFact’s past pattern of twisting the obvious intent of straightforward statements, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has lost faith in PolitiFact’s mission to “find the truth” and will no longer participate in a process, where one organization plays prosecutor, judge, and jury in often reaching intellectually dishonest rulings.
The vital components of our statement have been validated by the Providence Journal’s own reporting and in your own emails to us. The Center further invites PolitiFact readers to conduct their own independent online search on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.”
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: “Mike Stenhouse”
Sent: 8/12/2015 4:22:30 PM
Subject: Re: Re[4]: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Hi Mike,
The statement we are reviewing and using for the PolitiFact item is the entire statement we sent originally including the part about Virginia.
It’s the following: “Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
–MR
On Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 2:16 PM, Mike Stenhouse wrote:
Hi Mark – appreciate the clarification, but you’ve also raised some new questions. May I ask a question in response?
Will Politifact include the aspects of my original statement that you have since determined to be true as part of your ruling, or is Politifact now focused on the “fiat” and “public debate” aspects as the entire basis to make your ruling?
Regards,
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: “Mike Stenhouse”
Sent: 8/12/2015 12:11:48 PM
Subject: Re: Re[2]: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Dear Mr. Stenhouse,
Wanted to get back to you on my recent outreach and hopefully provide greater clarity than before about where I am at in this process.
As you recall, I saw two elements, or halves, of the statement.
The first part was: “Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine.” I’ve determined that this part of the statement looks like it’s true. The only other state was Virginia. Also, Virginia enacted legislation for requiring the vaccine. It appears Virginia has some opt out provisions. Some say this raises questions about whether the vaccine is really mandated if students can opt out. Do you have any thoughts about that?
So the second part of the statement was: ” … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
I now have some information on this. It’s clear that Rhode Island did not enact legislation as Virginia did. I’m told that the director of the Department of Health, Michael Fine, adopted a regulation that actually took effect on July 1, 2014.
This regulation called for requiring all students entering seventh grade to have at least one dose of the HPV vaccine “beginning Aug. 1, 2015.” Also, the Department of Health did have a public hearing on Jan. 16, 2014, prior to the adoption of the new regulation.
I am curious about your use of the word “fiat.” Why did you choose that particular word?  I’m hoping you find this note helpful. Respectfully,
Mark Reynolds
On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 2:18 PM, Mike Stenhouse wrote:
Again Mark, sorry, but I’m still not clear what you’re looking for. You state you are interested in only 2 elements, yet there are 3 elements in the statement you cite, including “without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
Are you asking us to respond to just 2 or all 3 components?
Enjoy your weekend,
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: “Mike Stenhouse”
Sent: 7/30/2015 6:56:44 PM
Subject: Re: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Dear Mr. Stenhouse,
My apologies for misstating that and my thanks for an opportunity to restate it. The first element is that Rhode Island would be just the second state to mandate the vaccine. To clarify the related question I ask, how do you know that only one state so far has mandated the vaccine?
Let me also be clear that I am formally asking you to provide evidence to support both elements of the statement I’ve referred to, including the second element, which is that Rhode Island, as you put it, would be “the only state to do so(mandate the vaccine) by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
Respectfully,
Mark Reynolds
On Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 6:25 PM, Mike Stenhouse wrote:
Mark – thank you for your inquiry, however the premise of your question is incorrect:
Among the two elements you suggest, you wrote: “First, that Rhode Island is the only state to mandate the vaccine.” This is not what we stated and is a flat-out inaccurate characterization of our statement. Please clarify your inquiry.
I m copying our research director, Justin Katz, so he can monitor your inquiry.
Thank you,
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: Mike Stenhouse
Sent: 7/30/2015 5:33:15 PM
Subject: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
To; Mike Stenhouse, CEO,  RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity
From: Mark Reynolds, Staff Writer, The Providence Journal/PolitiFact.com
July 30, 2015
Dear Mr. Stenhouse,
My name is Mark Reynolds. I’m a longtime reporter for The Providence Journal assigned to PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking organization.
We recently noticed this statement on the web-site for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity:
“Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
We are asking you to provide evidence to support this statement. There are two elements. First, that Rhode Island is the only state to mandate the vaccine. And second, that no other state has mandated the vaccine in the particular way that you describe.
This is your opportunity to back up both elements of the statement with evidence such as documents or whatever you based these observations on.
Also, it seems obvious to ask this sequence of questions: The first element of the statement reflects a knowledge that all but two states have not mandated the vaccine. How do you know this? Did you check this in each of the other states. If so, what did you base your determinations on?
Feel free to telephone me at (401) 277-7490 with any questions about this communication.
Respectfully,
Mark Reynolds

Employee Freedom Week 2015

Did you know it is National Employee Freedom Week? National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW) is a nationwide campaign to let employees know that they have the freedom to opt-out of their union. We want every employee to make the decision about union representation that’s best for him or her. In the Ocean State, the special interests have dominated our state’s public policy culture leading to Rhode Island’s poor national rankings. The time has come to change the status quo in the Ocean State.

RhodeIsland_2015

Polling has found that 1 in 3 of Rhode Island union households don’t know that they can opt-out of union membership and stop paying at least a portion of their union dues without losing their job or any other penalty.

From poor service to union leaders being prosecuted for embezzling millions of their dues dollars, many union members are tired of funding organizations that don’t meet their needs.  

You can learn more about NEFW here!

BREAKING: Center Issues Joint Statement Calling for More Investigation and Transparency into 38 Studios and 38 Stadium deals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 20, 2015

Joint Statement with other Good Government Groups
Calls on Judge Silverstein, Governor Raimondo, and Speaker Mattiello to Take Decisive Action

Warwick, RI – In the wake of new revelations about the state government’s apparent expanded role in a conspiracy that resulted in the 38 Studios boondoggle, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity joined with other good-government groups to issue a joint statement at a 2:00 pm press conference today to call on Superior Court Judge Silverstein, Governor Raimondo, and Speaker Mattiello to take decisive action on related investigations and document releases.

In addition to the statement, which calls for new and renewed investigations and court document releases, individuals from the group – Ken Block from WatchdogRI.org, Monique Chartier from the RI Taxpayers Association, and the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse – made additional comments at the event in the offices of Block’s Simpatico Software Systems company.

“It is government at its worst when special-interest deals and other major policy programs are secretly developed and implemented by crony insiders, at great expense to taxpayers, without rigorous public debate or adequate oversight by our duly elected state legislators,” commented Stenhouse. “This disturbing trend of insider government by executive fiat, regulatory despotism, and backroom negotiated deals supersedes the authority of the General Assembly and must come to an end. Further any individuals involved must be exposed and held accountable.”

The Center points to similar non-transparent government-by-fiat edicts and actions, such as the secret pension reform compromise arbitrator negotiations, Deepwater Wind, RhodeMap RI, the HPV vaccine mandate, HealthSource RI, as well as the current Pawtucket Red Sox stadium relocation negotiations, sadly now referred to at 38 Stadium.

Media Contacts:

Mike Stenhouse, CEO, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity
401.429.6115 | info@rifreedom.org

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The mission of the 501-C-3 nonprofit organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.

Center Joins Good Government Groups in Statement Calling on Judge, Governor, Speaker to Take Decisive Action Following Gordon Fox 38-Studios Revelation

August 20, 2015

Joint Statement Today by Good Government Groups 
Calls on Judge Silverstein, Governor Raimondo, and Speaker Mattiello to Take Decisive Action

[button url=”http://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/38-Studios-press-conference1.pdf” target=”_blank” size=”medium” style=”royalblue” ] Read The Joint Statement Now [/button]

Warwick, RI – In the wake of new revelations about the state government’s apparent expanded role in a conspiracy that resulted in the 38 Studios boondoggle, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity joined with other good-government groups to issue a joint statement at a 2:00 pm press conference today to call on Superior Court Judge Silverstein, Governor Raimondo, and Speaker Mattiello to take decisive action on related investigations and document releases.
.
In addition to the statement, which calls for new and renewed investigations and court document releases, individuals from the group – Ken Block from WatchdogRI.org, Monique Chartier from the RI Taxpayers Association, and the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse – made additional comments at the event in the offices of Block’s Simpatico Software Systems company.
.
“It is government at its worst when special-interest deals and other major policy programs are secretly developed and implemented by crony insiders, at great expense to taxpayers, without rigorous public debate or adequate oversight by our duly elected state legislators,” commented Stenhouse. “This disturbing trend of insider government by executive fiat, regulatory despotism, and backroom negotiated deals supersedes the authority of the General Assembly and must come to an end. Further any individuals involved must be exposed and held accountable.” The Center points to similar non-transparent government-by-fiat edicts and actions, such as the secret pension reform compromise arbitrator negotiations, Deepwater Wind, RhodeMap RI, the HPV vaccine mandate, HealthSource RI, as well as the current Pawtucket Red Sox stadium relocation negotiations, sadly now referred to at 38 Stadium.

 

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The mission of the 501-C-3 nonprofit organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.

Stop the HPV Vaccine Mandate & Preserve Parental Rights

REGULATORY DESPOTISM? To view our press conference videos, photos, media links, and for more info …

Go to our HPV home page

“NO” HPV MANDATE PRESS CONFERENCE & RALLY – Tonight – NEW 1-PAGER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2015

Multiple Speakers to Address Numerous Concerns Over Mandate
RI ACLU Statement; RI DOH Backing Away from School Exclusion Penalty
Center Publishes New 1-Page Summary Sheet

Cumberland, RI – A large crowd is anticipated to attend a press conference and protest rally – calling on Governor Raimondo to halt the State’s mandate of the controversial HPV vaccine for all 7th graders – that will be held this evening at the

Cumberland public library by the nonpartisan Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in association with Rhode Islanders Against Mandated HPV Vaccinations, a parents group which has attracted over 2300 members in the past two weeks.

NO HPV VACCINE MANDATEAmong those expected to speak at the event are concerned parents, physicians, legal experts, and families that claim to have suffered adverse side-effects from the vaccine. Numerous concerns about the mandate will be covered by the speakers ranging from public health policy, parental rights, medical research and side-effects, government transparency, and ethics, to constitutional questions. These concerns have been summarized in an HPV one-pager published today by the Center.

Further, with IndependentRI.com reporting that the Department Of Health has backtracked on enforcing the school exclusion penalty, the Center also calls on the DOH to officially recommend ending its controversial mandate, which was implemented without rigorous public debate and without direct legislative oversight.

“A mandate is useless if there is no longer any penalty or enforcement mechanism,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Let’s end the charade and end this unpopular mandate once and for all.” In a statement to the Center, the RI -ACLU argues that the school exclusion penalty is “extremely severe” and “unfitting and disproportionate.”

The event will be held prior to the last of five pre-scheduled public forums orchestrated by the RI Department of Health.

The Center strongly recommends that any parent uncomfortable with this vaccine for their children should claim a ‘religious medical exemption’, which can be executed via a simple form that can be downloaded from the health.ri.gov website.

The Center’s home page for the HPV issue is RIFreedom.org/HPV.
The parents group website is VaccineChoiceRI.com.

WHAT: Press Conference & Protest Rally Against Mandated HPV Vaccine

WHEN: Monday, August 17; 5:40 pm rally; 6:10 pm press conference

WHERE: Cumberland Public Library, back entrance by Hayden Meeting Center; 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI 02864

WHO: In addition to Stenhouse from the Center, statements are expected to be made at the event by:
Shawna Lawton and Aimee Gardiner; parent advocates from RIers Against Mandated HPV Vaccine
Dr. Mark Brady and Dr. Christopher Black; physicians
Justin Price; House of Representatives, RI-D39
Giovanni Cicione; lawyer for Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights

Media Contacts:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity
401.429.6115 | info@rifreedom.org

Shawna Lawton: RIers Against Mandated HPV Vaccinations
401.339.9226 | sllawton40@gmail.com

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The mission of the 501-C-3 nonprofit organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.

Rhode Island ACLU Offers Statement on HPV

ACLU Statement on HPV:

“The ACLU of Rhode Island recognizes the Department of Health’s legitimate interest in promoting the HPV vaccine for both boys and girls. We also appreciate that there are some illnesses that warrant imposition of mandatory vaccinations in order to protect children attending school. However, excluding middle and high school students from school for being unvaccinated against HPV strikes us as an unfitting and disproportionate remedy.

Exclusion from school is an extremely severe penalty that should be used only when truly necessary, and not as a stick to promote more generalized public health goals.  We believe the state’s efforts would be much better spent on educating parents and students on the importance of the HPV vaccine rather than using a punitive approach that deprives children of a public education. Rhode Island’s record, prior to implementation of this mandate, of leading the nation in HPV vaccination rates supports this notion.

Encouraging preventive measures to protect children’s health is extremely important, but so is a child’s right to an education. In light of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the requirement, we encourage the Department of Health to formally clarify that school districts should not exclude children from school solely because they do not receive the HPV vaccine, and that the law’s “religious” exemption broadly encompasses objections of conscience as well.”

Hillary Davis
Policy Associate
ACLU of Rhode Island
128 Dorrance Street, Suite 220
Providence, RI 02903
P – (401) 831-7171
F – (401) 831-7175
www.riaclu.org