- Associated Press - Saturday, May 3, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Submarines bring some good economic news, money rolls into the gubernatorial campaigns and the man who resigned from one of the most powerful seats in state government returns to the Statehouse. Here are five things to know in Rhode Island:


Former House Speaker Gordon Fox took a seat in the chamber for the first time since the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and state police raided his home and Statehouse office, leading to his resignation as speaker. Fox hadn’t been in the Statehouse since the March 21 raids. He refused to discuss the investigation, and few clues have been released about it. But Fox said that resuming his legislative duties - he represents Providence’s East Side - was the right thing to do and that he has a responsibility to his constituents.


A $17.65 billion contract to build submarines brought some good economic news to Rhode Island. The U.S. Navy contract means Electric Boat will build 10 additional Virginia-class submarines at its Quonset Point and New London facilities. The news was hailed by members of the congressional delegation, with Rep. Jim Langevin saying it would have a ripple effect on the state’s economy. Sen. Jack Reed says the contract ensures continued American superiority in its undersea capabilities.


Six months from the November election, the candidates vying to replace Gov. Lincoln Chafee have already raised $9.8 million. That’s more than was spent in the entire 2010 election cycle. The money raised puts this year’s race on its way to becoming one of the most expensive in state history and could surpass even the 2002 race, when the candidates collectively spent more than $10 million. The candidates’ campaigns have spent $2.4 million so far for the 2014 cycle.


Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and several others with knowledge about his failed company’s $75 million state loan guarantee have been asked to testify at the House Oversight Committee. Chairwoman Karen MacBeth says she sent letters to Keith Stokes, the former executive director of the Economic Development Corp., and his then-deputy, Michael Saul. Also receiving letters were some former state lawmakers who sponsored legislation that created the loan guarantee program under which 38 Studios got the funding. MacBeth initially indicated she wanted to subpoena them but decided to invite them to come on their own first.


The fate of straight-ticket voting is now in the hands of the Senate after the House unanimously passed a bill to eliminate it. The option, sometimes called the master lever, allows voters to make one ballot mark to vote for all candidates on a political party ticket. Critics say it can be confusing to some voters and is undemocratic. A Senate committee has heard testimony on a bill but did not vote on it. A spokesman for Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says she is keeping an open mind.

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