PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The state faces a bleak budget picture and a former Rhode Island attorney general possibly lobbies his old office without registering with the state. Here are things to know about Rhode Island this week:
Lawmakers learned that the state faces a $29 million anticipated shortfall in the current year’s budget and a projected hole of $187 million for the coming year. The House fiscal adviser said at a budget hearing that most agencies are projecting cost overruns for the current year, totaling more than $60 million. Sharon Reynolds Ferland says the incoming governor, Gina Raimondo, faces major budget challenges. Raimondo’s first budget blueprint is due Feb. 5. The budget for this fiscal year is more than $8 billion.
The secretary of state’s office is conducting an inquiry into former Attorney General Patrick Lynch’s interactions with his old office in an attempt to determine whether he should have registered as a lobbyist. Secretary of State spokeswoman Raina Smith said Friday that the office is corresponding with Lynch. Lynch did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. The New York Times first reported on Lynch’s activities last month. Lynch has never registered as a lobbyist in Rhode Island as required.
Hasbro Inc. has created instructional videos and tools to help children with developmental disabilities learn how to play with their toys. Hasbro partnered with The Autism Project, a group of parents and professionals, and launched the “ToyBox Tools” initiative at a national conference on autism and disabilities. Parents and caregivers can access the tools for eight of Hasbro’s classic toys for free online at the ToyBox Tools website.
Rhode Island’s third and final medical marijuana dispensary opened in Warwick. Other dispensaries opened last year in Providence and Portsmouth. Three are allowed in Rhode Island. All had to be approved by the Department of Health.
David Greer, a doctor who co-founded a group that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for working to prevent nuclear war and who helped transform the medical school at Brown University, died at age 89 at his home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Greer was a founding director of the Nobel-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. He was Brown’s dean of medicine from 1981 to 1992. Colleagues from Brown remembered Greer as a “visionary” who taught students about social responsibility.
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