This Week at the State House

By WPRO News and the Associated Press

Deloitte contract extended 

Despite a botched 2016 rollout of the UHIP computer system for benefits, Deloitte will continue to oversee the system.

Governor Gina Raimondo said Friday that Deloitte will remain under contract through June 2021 to operate and maintain the system. She says as part of the agreement, Deloitte will pay Rhode Island $50 million and provide heavily discounted services, a total of $212 million in cash and discounts from the company.

Raimondo admitted there were times when she couldn’t imagine keeping Deloitte in charge and had even wanted to sue, but realized that could mean getting into years of expensive litigation. She also said securing a new vendor would have been difficult and costly.

“I don’t know if it would have been possible. It would have been enormously disruptive. We would have had to start from scratch, and years from now, we’d still be rebuilding the system,” she said.

She emphasized that officials would continue holding Deloitte’s “feet to the fire.”

House approves mobile sports betting

A bill to legalize mobile sports betting is headed to the governor’s desk. Rhode Island is the only New England state that allows sports betting, but currently bets must be placed in person at the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton.

The bill allows for the creation of an app that people could use to access the sports betting offerings at Twin River Casino. Anyone placing a bet would have to be in Rhode Island when they wage.

The governor’s proposed budget for upcoming fiscal year counts on $30 million from sports betting, $3 million of which from mobile gambling.

House Minority Leader Blake Filippi joined WPRO’s Matt Allen to discuss how Republicans wanted to amend the bill.

Listen to “Rep. Blake Filippi” on Spreaker.

RI Promise Expansion

Raimondo hosted a rally at the State House on Tuesday prior to testifying to a House committee, promoting her proposal to expand the “Rhode Island Promise” scholarship to provide students with two free years at Rhode Island College. The scholarship is currently only active at the Community College of Rhode Island, but Raimondo said she’d met a number of students that made her case for expansion.

“Every one of them worked more than one job, was going to school full time, and was struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “The reality is, the number one reason people don’t finish [college] is money.”

Raimondo was joined by RIC President Frank Sanchez and a number of students at the rally. House Finance Committee Chair Marvin Abney discussed the proposal with WPRO’s Tara Granahan.

Listen to “Rep. Marvin Abney” on Spreaker.

Speaker introduces school safety bill

House Speaker Nick Mattiello introduced a bill to create “threat assessment teams” as part of a plan to increase school safety. The bill, based on recommendations from the state School Safety Committee created after the Parkland school shooting, would create teams at each school to help students and staff recognize threatening behavior.

Schools would have teams with experts in counseling, school administration and law enforcement. Anyone believed to pose a threat to themselves or others would be reported to the superintendent or another school administrator, who would contact parents.

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