Legislative leaders opened the new General Assembly session yesterday by pledging to focus on jobs and education.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed unanimously won re-election to their leadership posts. Mattiello began his chamber’s 2015 session by vowing to keep a continued focus on jobs and the economy. Mattiello won his first full two-year term as speaker on a unanimous vote.
Mattiello has consolidated his support since gaining power after the resignation of his predecessor, Gordon Fox, last March. He said his priorities include exempting Social Security benefits from the state income tax, supporting a job-development tax credit, and emulating a Quonset Business Park program to speed the availability of new sites for business. “One of the biggest complaints that I hear from the business community is that it takes too long to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to start their businesses. We simply cannot let red tape stand in the way of bringing jobs to Rhode Island,” said Mattiello.
Governor Gina Raimondo told lawmakers that she and Mattiello are aligned in their top goal of improving Rhode Island’s economy.
Senate President Paiva Weed has indicated her focal points include a statewide teacher contract.
The part-time legislature typically meets three times a week from January through June.