Ethics a thorn as Rhode Island lawmakers wrap up session

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Newport) and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston) react to Gov. Gina Raimondo's budget address. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News
Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Newport) and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston) react to Gov. Gina Raimondo’s budget address. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

MATT O’BRIEN, Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Democratic leaders are dropping hot-button social issues and trying to resolve the controversy surrounding legislative grants as the Rhode Island General Assembly winds down for the year.

A final state budget proposal is expected to hit lawmakers’ desks this week.

Lawmakers are preparing to wrap up earlier than last year as their re-election campaign season begins.

One of the biggest debates is over a small portion of the $8.6 billion state budget: just under $14 million that legislators direct to community organizations, from parade committees to anti-poverty groups.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has dropped from consideration some of the season’s most controversial legislation.

He says there’ll be no votes in the House on bills to legalize recreational marijuana or give driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.