The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity has joined with over 130 organizations across the United States in support of the SAVE Title IX national movement to protest new and unpopular mandates on K-12 schools and colleges.

SAVE TITLE IX: Center Joins National Movement to Protest Biden’s Proposed Rule Changes

Center Joins 130+ Orgs Across America to SAVE Title IX
National movement protests Biden administration’s attempt to re-write federal regulations to punish schools and people that do not affirmatively further transgender ideologies

Cranston, RI – The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity has joined with over 130 organizations across the United States in support of the SAVE Title IX national movement to protest new and unpopular mandates on K-12 schools and colleges.

“The Biden Administration’s Proposed Title IX Rule Undermines the Rights of Parents,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The Biden Education Department is rewriting federal regulations to require any school that receives federal funds to affirm a child’s gender identity without the approval or knowledge of his or her parents. We believe that parents, not school officials, have the right to teach their children about issues of sex and gender identity.”

For parents and citizens who agree, there is an easy way to make your voices heard by sending an official comment to the US Department of Education; the link to this simple “Title IX Comment Form” can be accessed at the Center’s Action Center, (click here).

The Biden Administration’s Department of Education released on June 23, 2022, their new Title IX regulations which expand its long-standing definition of sex to include “gender identity,” making obsolete the gains made during the Trump Administration.

“The new Title IX policy proposes to expand the biological definition of “sex” to also include “sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity, said Edward Bartlett, founder of the national SAVE organization, which is leading the national movement. “The proposed Biden Title IX plan also violates many provisions found in state-level campus due process laws.”

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Ed Bartlett was the featured guest Wednesday, July 27, on the video podcast, #InTheDugout with Mike Stenhouse; and can be viewed here on The Ocean State Current website.

A rally will be held in Washington, DC on August 11 to highlight these concerns, and to call on the Department of Education to not move forward with its Title IX proposal.

According to SAVE, there are 6 major areas where the proposed new rules would violate rights or moral norms:

  1. Parental Rights: If the definition of sex is expanded to include “gender identity,” parents may lose their right to restrict the exposure of young children to age-inappropriate discussions of sexual practices. Worse, children could be gender “transitioned” and assigned a new name without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
  2. Due Process: Many colleges have failed to abide by the Fourteenth Amendment, which promises due process protections for all. The new Title IX regulation seeks to remove key due process protections for persons, especially male students, accused of violating campus sexual misconduct policies.
  3. Free Speech: A recent survey of 481 colleges reported only 12% received a “green-light” rating. The draft Title IX regulation expands the definition of sexual harassment, which will serve to curtail campus speech about controversial topics. And once the legal definition of “sex” is expanded to include gender identity, students can demand that persons call them by their preferred pronouns. But mandated speech is not free speech. In a recent Wisconsin case, a 13-year-old boy refused to use a fellow student’s preferred “they” and “them” pronouns, resulting in a Title IX complaint against him.
  4. Women’s Sports: Transgenders enjoy numerous physical advantages over biological females. This contradicts the whole purpose of Title IX, which is to assure fairness for all students regardless of sex. For example, transgender Lia Thomas set new school and program records after competing on the women’s UPenn swim team.
  5. Bathrooms and Locker Room Privacy: In August 2021, Loudon County, VA approved a new policy on Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students. During the following three months, a student committed a sexual assault in a girl’s bathroom, high schoolers staged a walk-out to protest the schools’ handling of the incident, and the case became a focus of heated debate during the race for governor. No more safe spaces for children. Their rights being denied and not protected.
  6. Gender Experimentation: The vast majority of children who struggle with their sex come to accept their biological sex by adulthood. Boys and girls need to be supported, not encouraged to question fundamental facts of their biology. Encouraging young children to question their own biology represents a radical experiment in gender engineering.
The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has joined the The Civics Alliance, a national coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving America’s civics education: The Civics Alliance’s model K-12 social studies standards, American Birthright, was launched yesterday, one week before July 4, to honor Independence Day.

Center Joins National Civics Alliance to Inspire Reform at State Education Departments

In Honor of July 4 Independence Day and the Upcoming 250th Anniversary of America’s Birthright of Freedom

Cranston, RI – The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has joined the The Civics Alliance, a national coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving America’s civics education: The Civics Alliance’s model K-12 social studies standards, American Birthright, was launched yesterday, one week before July 4, to honor Independence Day.

The Civics Alliance wants to inspire America’s state education leaders to provide social studies standards that teach American students their birthright of liberty.

Per Civics Alliance Executive Director David Randall, “Every American student should be educated to be another Harry Truman—a high-school graduate who, without ever graduating from college, has a solid grasp of history and is capable of serving as an officer, a judge, a senator, and president.”

“Here in Rhode Island, our state department of education (RIDE), empowered by enabling legislation in 2019, is forcing local school districts to adopt social studies standards that combine misguided pedagogical theory, low academic standards, and anti-American teachings,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Conversely, American Birthright is an equal opportunity program in that both disadvantaged and better-off students will be exposed to diverse and intensive content standards that fulfill America’s promise of equal educational opportunities for everyone.”

PROGRAMMING NOTE: David Randall will be the featured guest this Thursday, June 30, at 4:00PM EST for an in depth interview on the video podcast, #InTheDugout with Mike Stenhouse and can be viewed at OceanStateCurrent.com/AmericanBirthright.

Too many Americans emerge from our schools ignorant of America’s history, indifferent to liberty, and estranged from their country. We must restore American social studies instruction centered on liberty if we are to restore the American republic to good health.

“Americans of all parties want to take back their schools,” Randall explained. “The Civics Alliance wrote American Birthright to equip governors, state legislators, school boards, and grassroots activists for that fight. Every American needs to know what a proper social studies instruction should be.”

The Civics Alliance crafted American Birthright to teach America’s foundational history of liberty. American Birthright provides the comprehensive content knowledge in history, geography, civics, and economics that schools should teach in each grade from pre-kindergarten through high school, and teaches students to identify the ideals, institutions, and individual examples of human liberty, individualism, religious freedom, and republican self-government; assess the extent to which civilizations have fulfilled these ideals; and describe how the evolution of these ideals in different times and places has contributed to the formation of modern American ideals.

Above all, American Birthright teaches about the expansion of American liberty to include all Americans, the contributions that Americans from every walk of life have made to our shared history of liberty, and America’s championship of liberty throughout the world. Students will learn of heroes of liberty such as Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ronald Reagan.

American Birthright adapts material from several sources that did a particularly good job of providing structure and content for social studies instruction. The largest source of American Birthright is the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Sciences Curriculum Framework.

A distinguished panel of Expert Consultants worked on American Birthright; and the American Birthright coalition includes a large number of organizations and individuals, including many state policymakers. (See Who We Are.) The policymakers who have joined the American Birthright coalition include Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson of North Carolina, Senator Rob Sampson of Connecticut (Assistant Minority Leader), Representative Don Jones of Ohio (Majority Whip), and Representative Garry R. Smith of South Carolina (Chairman, House Operations and Management Committee). Among the organizations who have joined the coalition are the Claremont Institute and the Eagle Forum, individuals include Victor Davis Hanson and Christopher Rufo.

Randall added, “The Civics Alliance crafted rigorous standards to make it straightforward for policymakers to create equally rigorous equivalents with different priorities, whether by abbreviating some topics, expanding others, or adjusting the course sequences. States and school districts should and will modify American Birthright in detail.”

State policymakers should accompany K-12 social studies standards modeled on American Birthright with legislation to ensure that public K-12 schools provide proper social studies instruction, such as the bills in the Civic Alliance’s Model K-12 Civics Code. Americans need to make sure the content in reformed social studies standards reaches students in the classroom.

Proper social studies standards are a linchpin in the work to educate a new generation of Americans who understand and appreciate their nation’s past and who respect and are prepared to sacrifice for their country. American children should be equipped to continue the work bequeathed to them by the Founders—to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. The Civics Alliance offers American Birthright to help its fellow Americans to craft the standards, the curricula, the textbooks, and the lessons that will sustain our republic and our nation.

The Ocean State Current Launches its “Election Waves” Interview and Debate Series

Launch of “Election Waves” Interview and Debate Series
Candidates for Coventry School Committee Special Election Featured

Ron St. Pierre and Ken Block headline debate moderators

Cranston, RI – Which candidates are making waves in the Ocean State? The nonpartisan Ocean State Current announced today that it will broadcast the first of its series of Election Waves interviews and debates tonight at 7:00 PM EST at OceanStateCurrent.com/CoventryD1.

Featured this evening will be the Coventry District-1 School Committee May 3 Special Election. Candidates Ana Isabel dos Reis-Couto and Bethany Chatterley join Mike Stenhouse for back-to-back 1-on-1 interviews on a special election-year version of his popular In The Dugout podcast.

The goal of Election Waves is to encourage more informed participation by citizens in the upcoming election process.

Former radio personality and station executive Ron St. Pierre will anchor the debate moderator team and will be regularly joined by:

  • Moderate Party founder and former gubernatorial candidate Ken Block
  • Former Democratic State Representative Thomas Palangio
  • Former Republican State Representative Anthony Giarrusso

Mike Stenhouse will conduct 1-on-1 interviews on his In The Dugout video podcast.

The Current believes candidates for public office deserve an opportunity to inform voters of their policy positions. An open invitation is extended to all federal, state, General Assembly, and school committee candidates; interested candidates can request an interview by sending an email to OceanStateCurrent@RIFreedom.org from the email address listed on their official Board of Elections filing.

In order to comply with IRS tax-exempt nonprofit guidelines, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity (operator of The Ocean State Current) will remain impartial and nonpartisan when it comes to candidates and elections. The Center and The Current never support or oppose any political candidate.

For more information on The Current’s Election Waves policies, go to OceanStateCurrent.com/ElectionWaves.

Only on The Current. The Ocean State Current is rapidly becoming the trusted source for issues that are important to Rhode Island families at OceanStateCurrent.com 

With one of the most technologically advanced websites in the industry, The Current offers text-to-audio translation for posts for easy mobile listening, automatically pulls posts from select content partners, features an advanced and easy search capacity, and displays a unique Watch, Read, and Listen layout.

Center Signs-On to Coalition Letter to Decouple RI from California’s Oppressive Emissions Policies

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has signed-on to a regional coalition letter to protest California’s extreme and influential carbon emissions policies, along with 28 other organizations. On March 10, the Center’s CEO participated in a press conference with other coalition partners from New England.

READ THE REGIOINAL COALITION LETTER – Click Here

Most Rhode Islanders do not realize, in addition to the costly and non-productive ‘green’ policies imposed upon them by state and federal lawmakers, that the Ocean State, along with 15 other states, is also beholden to enact emissions policies enacted by California.

At specific issue, is a California ban of the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE), which Rhode Island must statutorily also adopt, which would dramatically drive up the cost of personal automobiles. As such, given the soaring energy costs across America, the regional coalition is recommending that member states work to “decouple” themselves from California’s increasingly oppressive and irrational policies.

The Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse, published an opinion piece representing many of the arguments put forth in the coalition letter, along with a link to the letter.

Have Teacher Unions in Rhode Island Been Unlawfully Collecting Dues for Years?

 

Government officials take an oath of office to preserve the constitutional rights of their constituents. However, in Rhode Island, school board officials who approved agreements with special-interest public employee unions have effectively hidden those rights from their employees via unconstitutional collective bargaining provisions that are in direct defiance of the Supreme Court Of the United States (SCOTUS).

In 2018, the highest court in America ruled that public employees must retain power over their own paychecks. Yet, since then, many government unions in Rhode Island may have unlawfully collected dues from employees by propagating misleading language that overtly shields them from knowledge of their rights.

The landmark June 2018 US Supreme Court decision in the Janus v AFSCME case opened the door to worker freedom in America. But some of the old political machines were taken aback, especially government employee unions at the state and local level. SCOTUS ruled that no longer could a public employee be mandated to pay union “dues”, “Association fees”, “agency fees”, or “shop fees” as a condition of their employment.

Under the weight of this ruling, most public employee unions across the country, reluctantly realizing the great financial and legal risk of non-compliance, immediately amended their policies and subsequent contract agreements to comply with the new law … such that any dues payments could only be collected once the employee affirmatively provided clear authorization … but not so for many unions in Rhode Island.

According to the Mackinac Center in Michigan, one of nation’s top legal and public policy experts when it comes to government unions, Rhode Island’s rate of non-compliance with the Janus ruling looks to be among the highest in the country. The extent to which blatantly anti-Janus-constitutional provisions still exist in many teacher union Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) is alarming.

An initial review of about three dozen collective bargaining agreements with local school districts in Rhode Island reveals an alarming number – eleven (more than 1 in 4) – that were signed or put into effect after the Janus ruling, contained dues or fees mandate provisions that clearly defy the Supreme Court’s ruling … provisions that are legally unenforceable.

Types of language clearly violating the Janus Supreme Court ruling that were found in the eleven Rhode Island CBAs with local chapters of the NEA, AFT, AFL-CIO, and AFSCME … unlawful provisions that remained in effect for years after 2018 … can be summarized as including passages that:

  • Require automatic deduction of dues or fees from employee paychecks without their expressed consent
  • Require payment of dues or fees as a condition of employment
  • Limit the union opt-out time-window for employees

The table below summarizes the unlawful language of offending school districts (supporting details appear as an Appendix at the end of this report:)

As an example of what a properly worded CBA should look like, post-Janus, we look to provisions in the agreement between the Glocester K-5 school district and the Glocester Teachers’ Association for the time period July 2019 to June 2022:

The Glocester school district maintained the above Articles 20 and 21, post-Janus, but appropriately REMOVED the following provision that appeared in the district’s pre-Janus CBA:

As national examples of how post-Janus federal court cases compelled government unions to appropriately modify their dues/fees collection policies, what follows is language from two related US Third Circuit cases:

LaSpina v. SEIU Pennsylvania State Council, 985 F.3d 278, 282 (3rd Cir. 2021). After the Supreme Court decided Janus, the Union abandoned its agency-fee setup. The day the Court issued its decision, Steve Catanese, president of SEIU Local 668, wrote to Jack Finnerty of the Scranton Public Library “that the Supreme Court has ruled in Janus” and has “held public-sector employers may no longer deduct agency fees from non-consenting employees.” Supp. App. 69. Catanese’s letter instructed Finnerty to, “effective immediately, please discontinue fair-share fee deductions.” Id. (emphasis in original).

“Therefore, under Janus I, Pennsylvania’s public sector agency shop law was no longer constitutional.” Diamond v. Pennsylvania Educ. Ass’n, 972 F.3d 262, 268 (3rd Cir. 2020). Circuit law directly on point.

Other Supreme Court precedent illustrates what must be done to demonstrate employee consent. The Court has ruled that, to demonstrate consent to a waiver of constitutional rights, there must be evidence that the waiver is a “knowing, intelligent act … done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.” Brady v United States, 397 U.S. 742, 748 (1970). “It must also be done with “a full awareness of both the nature of the right being abandoned and the consequences of the decision to abandon it.” Moran v. Burbine, 475 U.S. 421,421 (1986) …

Per the SCOTUS ruling, before employees can consent to financially supporting a public sector union, they must know both what their rights are and the consequences of waiving those rights.

Yet, not every school district in Rhode Island was as careful to follow the law as was Glocester, as many districts continued to allow overtly unconstitutional language to remain in their post-Janus CBAs, without providing employees with the required notification of their rights.

One of the most blatant examples of such an unconstitutional provision appears in the September 2018 Westerly Teachers’ Association CBA:

How did this happen? Elected school committee members were either complicit with teacher unions in allowing such “unlawful” language to remain, or they were unwitting victims of malfeasance or ill-advice by their school committee solicitors, who are highly paid to provide accurate legal guidance.

The fact is, that for over three years, many teachers and other school district staff in Rhode Island may have been fraudulently deceived into paying union dues or association fees because of the unconstitutional language in their respective CBAs. These employees likely had dues automatically deducted from their paychecks without ever understanding that their First Amendment rights – that they could not be forced to pay part of their paycheck to their union – had been restored in 2018.

Indeed, as compared with opt-out rates nationally, Rhode Island teachers and other public employees are choosing to “opt-out” of paying union dues at rates far lower than their counterparts in other states. While states like California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are seeing more than 15% of workers opt out of paying money to their unions, we estimate that less than 5% of Rhode Island union members have opted out. Now, we may know why.

In the majority Supreme Court decision in 2018, Justice Alito was noted that billions of dollars were likely collected by government unions nationwide in recent decades. Much of this money came from employees who never wanted to pay union dues in the first place but were forced to, because of prior legal precedent.

However, over the past three and a half years, Rhode Island unions may have similarly, yet unlawfully, collected millions of dollars in dues from employees who may have chosen to opt-out … had they not been deceived by clearly unconstitutional language.

Obvious questions must be asked, including:

  • How many teachers and school staff would not have paid union dues if they had been appropriately advised of their rights? How much money was fraudulently collected by unions?
  • Why do so man teacher union CBAs in Rhode Island contain such unconstitutional language? 
  • Why did Rhode Island school committees and teacher unions engage in such non-compliance so much more than any other state?
  • Did school committee members knowingly turn a blind eye towards this malfeasance, or were they completely ignorant of these obvious violations?
  • How can high-paid school committee solicitors allow such obviously unconstitutional language to be included in recent CBAs?
  • Is anything comparable to this level of unconstitutionality occurring in non-teacher public employee CBA contracts in Rhode Island?

Why in some cases, does the AFSCME CBA have proper language regarding dues and fees, while the teacher contract over the same period in the same school district has unconstitutional language?

The main question this report raises … is whether or not certain public teacher unions in Rhode Island conspired to illicitly collect union dues from unwitting teachers and staff?

This is not the first time that a government entity in Rhode Island has exhibited such blatant defiance of the US Supreme Court’s Janus decision. In 2018, our Center’s MyPayMySayRI.com campaign triggered a public letter of warning from then Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, after our outreach initiative sought to educate government workers about their restored Janus rights. The letter from Rhode Island’s highest law enforcement official contained numerous unsubstantiated, unspecified, and false assertions of “misinformation” being put forth by our RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, such as the bogus claim that we were mis-informing public employees of their rights not to join or pay union dues or fees.

Then, as now, the pattern of government officials in Rhode Island conducting the bidding of public sector unions – at both the state and local level – even to the extent of seeking to obfuscate the constitutional rights of its members … runs directly contrary to the public oaths they took upon entering office.

A review of non-school district CBAs will soon be conducted by the Center.

The following Appendix lists images the actual passages from post-Janus teacher-union CBAs in Rhode Island that contain language that does not comply with the US Supreme Court’s Janus ruling.


APPENDIX

Rhode Island School Districts with Unconstitutional Collective Bargaining Provisions

 

Burrillville: NEA Contract Period: September 2021-2024

Page-40: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=YnNkLXJpLm5ldHxob21lfGd4Ojc1NTMwZjU2M2U5MDhiMQ

Page-5: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/236104/CF_CBA_18-21_FINAL_FORM.pdf 

Foster-Glocester: NEA Contract Period 2020-2023

Page-29: http://www.fg.k12.ri.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=9841126

Johnston: AFL-CIO Local 808 Contract period 2017-2020, extended in 2020 by the school district

Pages 4-5: https://www.johnstonschools.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=20171014

June 2020 Johnston School District Minutes

 

Lincoln: AFSCME Contract Period September 2018-2021

Page-4: https://www.lincolnps.org/cms/lib/RI50000681/Centricity/Domain/44/L2671-contract-2018-2021-02-07-19-FINAL.pdf

New Shoreham: AFSCME Contract Period 2019-2022

Page-2: https://4.files.edl.io/4ef8/11/15/19/153226-ac2437cb-2ef2-43d3-8fb7-ab0bbf4cb0cf.pdf

North Smithfield: NEA Contract Period 2021-24

Page-6: NSTA Collective Bargaining Agreement

Portsmouth: AFSCME Contract Period September 2018-2021
Page-2:

https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1355692/Council_94_Contract_7.1.18_-_7.30.21.pdf

Tiverton: NEA Contract Period; 2019 –

Page-9: http://www.tivertonschools.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=8558123

Westerly: NEA Contract Period September 2018-2021

Page-5: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V6e4ChNvhLkp6-Y0zqPUdieauxOzAMvm/view

West Warwick: AFT Contract Period September 2018-2023

Page-21: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NdyhtJYJb0SibVVm0BXmthzTkehxDtjU/view

MEDIA RELEASE: Ron St. Pierre Joins The Ocean State Current, New Brand Logo for In The Dugout

Ron St. Pierre Joins The Ocean State Current
New Executive Producer Role & Anchor of Election 2022 Debates

In The Dugout Logo Contest Winner Announced

Cranston, RI – The Ocean State Current announced today that Ron St. Pierre will join its staff and that it has selected a new brand logo for its In The Dugout video podcast.

The Ocean State Current is Rhode Island’s fastest growing all-digital news and information source. In promoting common sense policies and opinions as the media arm of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, The Current is quickly becoming the voice of parents and concerned citizens who seek improvement over the Ocean State’s failed status quo.

Along with its flagship video podcast, In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse, The Current features video, text, and audio posts from citizen journalists and policy experts. An increasing lineup of content and new programming is expected in the near future, as Ron St. Pierre, popular on-air radio personality and former station president and general manager, will serve in the newly created position as Executive Producer for The Current, beginning March 1.

Beginning this week, St. Pierre will be joined by his longtime radio partner, Jen Brien, to co-host In The Dugout shows on Mondays, along with Mike Stenhouse. This special Monday podcast will soon launch a unique “talk video” format.

News & Views to Turn the Tide! The Current features a team of citizen journalists as well as prominent local and national personalities from across the political spectrum, who present a wide range of perspectives and common sense solutions … in text, audio, and video formats.

National contributors include: Stephen Moore, Chief Economist at the Heritage Foundation, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, Andy Bernstein, Ayn Rand expert and Objectivist, and Hans Von Spakovsky, elections expert at the Heritage Foundation.

In addition to dozens of mom and dad parental-rights advocates, local contributors include: Judge Robert Flanders, former Associate Justice of the RI Supreme Court,  Stephen Laffey, former Cranston mayor and US Senatorial candidate, Anthony Giarrusso, former state Representative from East Greenwich, Tom Ward, founder of The Valley Breeze newspaper, Jen Brien, radio personality, and Tyler Rowley, religion & morality expert.

Election 2022. Ron St. Pierre will also anchor an Election 2022 debate series that will focus on upcoming state and local elections in Rhode Island. Also as part of St. Pierre’s role, The Current will also be developing premium content that will soon be available to monthly subscribers.

The Current also announces today that its new In The Dugout logo (below) was selected from a national logo contest among graphic artists and was the clear selection in a private survey. The new logo portrays both baseball and broadcast themes in a classic style, along with more contemporary elements. Stenhouse was a former Major League Baseball player in the 1980’s with the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Montreal Expos.

The In The Dugout podcasts, which normally air live Monday through Thursday from 4:00-5:00 PM EST, are reminiscent of some of Stenhouse’s favorite baseball memories when he and his teammates would engage in talk about all manner of issues while sitting in the dugout before or after a game. Stenhouse invites all of his guests to join him in donning a cap of their favorite team or organization.

Only on The Current. The Ocean State Current is rapidly becoming the trusted source for issues that are important to Rhode Island families … issues that the corporate media won’t cover or put forth with a false narrative. For those who are tired of the bias of the mainstream media, give The Current a look by browsing regularly at OceanStateCurrent.com

With one of the most technologically advanced websites in the industry, The Current offers text-to-audio translation for posts for easy mobile listening, automatically pulls content from select media partners, features an advanced and easy search capacity, and displays a unique Watch, Read, and Listen layout.

Center’s Chairman Files Federal Lawsuit to Overturn State of RI Ban on Caring for His Patients

Dr. Skoly Files Federal Lawsuit
Complaint alleges that the State’s actions barring him from caring for his patients are unconstitutional, irrational, arbitrary, and vindictive

Cranston, RI – Dr. Stephen Skoly and his legal team today filed a lawsuit in federal court against defendants Governor Daniel McKee and Nicole Alexander-Scott, the outgoing Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), seeking an order to enjoin the State from barring him from caring for his patients as well as a restraining order that would immediately restore his right to continue his practice.

Dr. Skoly, Chairman of the RI Center for Freedom of Prosperity and a highly respected oral and maxillofacial surgeon who regularly provided service to those institutionalized by the State, was ordered by RIDOH on October 1, 2021 to cease providing his critical surgical care to patients, after his request for a medical exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine was denied.

The official complaint was prepared by attorney Brian Rosner, Senior Litigation Counsel for the nationally renowned and Washington, DC based New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) and was filed today in the United States District Court for Rhode Island by local attorney Gregory Piccirilli.

“After four months of being forced out of work, I still held out some hope that all mandates might come to an end in mid February. But now, with Rhode Island’s Speaker of the House and Senate President openly planning with Governor McKee to extend his executive orders and unilateral powers for at least another two months … I am left with no choice but to file this lawsuit,” exclaimed Skoly, who for 18 months of the pandemic safely cared for his patients.

At a special breaking news event, Rosner and Skoly will address the public and the media live today at 4:00 PM virtually on The Ocean State Current in a hybrid press-conference/interview format, hosted by the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse.

The 34-page complaint puts forth two primary arguments for the Court to consider:

First, the complaint claims that Dr. Skoly’s “equal protection” and “due process” rights were violated, under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which states that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In Dr. Skoly’s case, the State of Rhode Island has awarded hundreds of related exemptions to various healthcare professionals, while simultaneously denying Dr. Skoly equal consideration and failing to provide the legal due process that he is entitled to.

Second, the complaint cites that it was an “irrational and arbitrary move” for RIDOH to deny Dr. Skoly’s valid request for a medical exemption. The complaint not only documents Dr. Skoly’s naturally acquired immunity and antibody testing, but also his personal medical history of suffering from Bell’s Palsy facial paralysis, a condition that has scientifically been demonstrated to be associated with the Covid-19 vaccine … and where at least fifteen such cases have been reported in Rhode Island. Risking re-activation of such paralysis in order to continue his medical practice is repeatedly cited in the complaint as an irrational demand by the State of Rhode Island, which has caused “hardship and suffering to hundreds of Rhode Islanders” who are denied care by Dr. Skoly.

In advancing its “equal protection” argument, the complaint discusses how N95 masking has essentially been designated by the State as an acceptable alternative to vaccination. Dr. Skoly, who has agreed to comply with required testing and masking protocols, presents no more risk to patients than the hundreds and thousands of other healthcare workers, vaccinated or not, infected or not, who are currently allowed to care for patients under those same protocols. The complaint continues that the State, in allowing masked and “infected” workers to retain their livelihoods, while barring (infection-free) Dr. Skoly from practicing his profession, is guilty of an “arbitrary and capricious distinction” that “denies Dr. Skoly the equal protection of the law” .. an “action that has the appearance of being vindictive.”

Sources have informed the Center that RIDOH staff have privately admitted that Dr. Skoly was being made an example of, in part, because of his association with “that conservative organization” … as Chairman of our RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

Supporting Dr. Skoly’s position, and included in the filing, are over a dozen affidavits from local medical professionals, including statements from multiple national experts on Bell’s Palsy and Covid-19, as well as citation of recent findings from the CDC and updated policies from other countries.

Also, to date, about 4000 emails have been delivered to state officials via an online petition whereby concerned citizens and can #StandWithDocSkoly . The petition, plus related documentation and links can be found on the Center’s website at RIFreedom.org/DocSkoly.

RIDOH

McKee Must Remake RI DOH in a New Image

Why Governor McKee Must Completely Remake RI DOH
With Someone Like Dr. Andrew Bostom, Who Got It Right All Along?

Cranston, RI – The departure of two top executives from the RI Department of Health (RI DOH), and with more resignations expected to follow, Governor Dan McKee should not seek to rebuild the failed health organization in the same image, according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

In a detailed opinion piece (Remake RI DOH) published over the weekend on The Ocean State Current, the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse, chronicled the many failures and shortcomings of the RI DOH strategy from the very start of Covid-19; a politically-driven strategy that failed to take a comprehensive approach to managing the pandemic in the Ocean State.

As opposed to the status quo replacements that will likely be put forth, health professionals who continually got it wrong by denying the science, who instead succumbed to political and public pressure from the left, and who arbitrarily pushed for un-necessary lockdown measures, the Center recommends, conversely, that medical experts with a successful track record be newly installed at RI DOH.

Indeed, there have been few medical professionals who have dared to publicly challenge the government’s false narrative, who conducted their own independent thorough and open-minded research of the available Covid-19 studies and trials, and who demonstrated a proven track record of accurately interpreting the data and advocating for a more effective public policy strategy. It is this kind of health expert that should provide the foundation for the re-building of the new RI DOH.

Rhode Islanders would benefit greatly from someone like Dr. Andrew Bostom, a Brown University credentialed epidemiologist and adjunct scholar to the Center, who should be a central part of Rhode Island’s new health administration. Bostom, who gained statewide public trust and a large following from his weekly appearances on the popular internet show, In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse; and who repeatedly and accurately foretold of issues related to various pandemic-related treatments and policies.

“Someone like Dr. Bostom, who often was many months ahead of the curve in boldly speaking out about what was allowed to be stated publicly and that we now know as fact; someone who continually and correctly analyzed emerging research data from across the globe; someone who was un-deterred by the cancel-culture that tried to silence him; someone with an appropriately open-minded and academic approach; and someone who ultimately was proven to be correct in virtually everything that he discussed on my show … that is the exact kind of someone who would bring a successful approach that is so obviously needed at the RI DOH,” advised Stenhouse.

The Center recognizes the enormous challenge that Covid-19 presented public health officials worldwide. This is why the RI DOH requires a new culture that will consider a comprehensive range of science-driven counter-measures for this and future public health challenges, as opposed to the narrow one-size-fits all approach that has dominated our state’s health department. Ocean Staters can enjoy far greater health and economic protections if the next administration at the RI DOH adopts a strategy that is on-mark, effective, and appropriate for a free society.

DLT Joins RI DOH in Persecution of Doc Skoly

DLT Denies Unemployment Benefits Under Pressure from DOH
Governor and General Assembly Silent as Targeted Abuse Continues

Cranston, RI – In a shocking example of coordinated government abuse, the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training (DLT) has apparently caved under pressure from the Department of Health (DOH) to deny benefits to Dr. Stephen Skoly, after the latter issued a compliance order that banned the longtime surgeon from providing critical care to his private and wards-of-the state patients, effectively shutting down his practice.

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has obtained copies of notices from DLT to Dr. Skoly, citing “Voluntary Quit” and “potentially fraudulent activity” as reasons why his claims for unemployment benefits were “disqualified” … even though another government agency was directly responsible for Skoly’s unemployment status.

It was initially communicated by a DLT official that Skoly’s original benefit denial was in error … and would soon be remedied. However, it appears RI DOH has since over-ruled the DLT, as part of its effort to destroy Dr. Skoly for daring to exercise his first-amendment rights.

“I have always put the safety of my patients as my number one priority. But this act of government totalitarianism clearly indicates that public health is not the DOH’s top priority. In targeting me for punishment, these vengeful acts demonstrate that this is all about politics” exclaimed Skoly, the Center’s Chairman, who for decades was the sole contractor to the RI DOH to provide his specialty care. Dr. Skoly has not been allowed to care for his patients for two months and was forced to lay-off his 12 person staff, who are now collecting unemployment payments at taxpayer expense. “My attorneys are right now preparing my legal challenge.”

Dr. Skoly’s plight will be discussed in detail by Mike Stenhouse and co-host Steve Laffey today at 4:00 PM EST on the popular In The Dugout show at OceanStateCurrent.com/LIVE .

Even worse, even though Skoly has been paying into the state’s unemployment fund for decades for himself and his staff, DLT has also denied benefits to laid-off employees of Dr. Skoly’s practice.

“Outrageous; this is an obvious and corrupt conspiracy. I have learned through my sources that government officials are making an example of Dr. Skoly because of his affiliation with our Center,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO. “It should be of grave concern to every Ocean Stater that unelected bureaucrats like Nicole Alexander-Scott can wield such vengeful and absolute power … while feckless elected officials like Governor McKee and Speaker Shekarchi just stand back and let it all be. We have truly reached crisis levels of unchecked bureaucratic tyranny.”

This is not the first time unelected and unaccountable ideologues at DOH have maliciously exerted their power over other branches of government. Shortly after DOH issued its October 1 compliance order against him, and with it becoming increasingly obvious that wards of the state were suffering because they could not receive his care, Dr. Skoly received word that Governor McKee might consider offering him a special-circumstance extension. However, in subsequent negotiations, Alexander-Scott’s staff refused to acknowledge the Governor’s offer, which was immediately pulled from the table.

Initially, after issuing its compliance order against Dr. Skoly, the RIDOH also refused to comply with the prescribed regulatory process or provide any formal hearing, as required, to consider Skoly’s unique medical exemption claim, which includes high levels of naturally acquired immunity against the Covid-19 virus.

As an oral and maxillo-facial surgeon, Dr. Skoly’s practice should be regulated by the state’s Board of Examiners in Dentistry, a legitimate and long-standing regulatory review process. However, RI DOH … recognizing the great respect Dr. Skoly has rightfully earned from this board’s members after decades of stellar service as a contractor to the State and as service provider to private patients … instead bypassed that longstanding process and arranged a sham ‘administrative’ hearing earlier this month to uphold its unlawful compliance order.

Then, in early November, the RI DOH openly defied Governor McKee … after he granted extensions to workers at two hospitals regarding their compliance with Rhode Island’s healthcare worker vaccine mandate … when it slapped violation notices on the Landmark Medical Center and the state-operated Eleanor Slater Hospital as a precursor to eventual fines and patient care restrictions.

Dr. Skoly, an oral and maxillo-facial surgeon, questions why the RIDOH refuses to recognize his naturally acquired immunity to Covid19 (and other healthcare workers’) as a legitimate medical exemption. In late September, he made public his decision to not comply with the state’s October 1 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, a decision he based on his personal and rare medical history as well as his principled belief in individual liberty.

As the over-whelming body of scientific evidence supports Dr. Skoly’s position, the Center has for months publicly called for the DOH to include natural immunity as an allowed exemption for any Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

While the Center opposes government-imposed mask and vaccine mandates, the data clearly demonstrates that “natural immunity” is an important policy consideration; and that the existing RI DOH healthcare worker vaccine mandate, for as long as it is allowed to legally stand, must be immediately modified (as the science overwhelmingly suggests) to include “natural immunity” as an approved case for exemption.

Earlier this fall, based on analysis of state and international research data, as performed by Dr. Andrew Bostom, in support of a conclusion that has been publicly advanced by a growing host of nationally prominent immunologists, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity (Center) called on the Rhode Island Department of Health to include “natural immunity” as an allowed “contraindication to vaccination” on the official RI DOH medical exemption form.

In the Center’s policy brief published by Dr. Bostom, an adjunct medical scholar to the Center and a Brown University credentialed epidemiologist, when assessing the benefits and risks of natural immunity to Covid-19 as compared with immunity from the vaccine, Bostom joins an increasing number of medical professionals and institutions in concluding that the body’s natural immune system provides a more robust and longer lasting protection against Covid-19 than do the currently offered vaccines.

To date, about 4000 emails have been delivered to state officials via an online petition whereby concerned citizens and can #StandWithDocSkoly . The petition, plus related documentation and links can be found on the Center’s website at RIFreedom.org/DocSkoly.

RI Must Throw In The Towel after MA Governor Baker Rejects the TCI Gas Tax

Time for RI Governor & Speaker to Admit Defeat
Governor Baker’s Departure from TCI Dooms the Regional Compact

Providence, RI – On Thursday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker followed the surrender to reality by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont earlier this week by publicly divorcing themselves from the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) gas tax. The rejection of TCI by the powerful two New England Governors leaves Rhode Island as the only state among the original 14 states that is still considering imposing a crushing fuel tax on motorists.

Despite the rejection by Baker, a founding member and primary driver of this plan to systematically restrict the supply of gasoline, Ocean State Governor Dan McKee and Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi are still on record as supporting the TCI gasoline cap-and-trade scheme.

“It’s time for the Governor and Speaker to throw in the towel and admit defeat. In no reality-based scenario could any politician support a unilateral major gas tax hike in the coming election year, especially given the historically high gas prices that we are already seeing due to misguided energy policies advanced by climate alarmists,” suggested Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity. “The defeat of TCI is a tremendous victory for the 14-state #NoTCItax coalition we are part of, which has been fighting against this job-killing initiative for many years.”

Motorists are encourage to take action and to say no the the TCI Gas Tax here.

Such a highly highly regressive gas tax, and the projected $1200 per family cost, according to research and a poll conducted by the Center, are highly unpopular among the public. A petition opposing TCI has already generated over 14,500 emails to state lawmakers.

This past March, the Center unilaterally called on McKee to withdraw from TCI. The state Senate passed enabling legislation last spring, but the House did not take up the measure. A May open letter to the Governor by the Center, listing 12 coalition signatories and a range of reasons not to join the TCI compact, can be found on the Center’s website, here.