Dee from the Desk: The end of gun control
With the election of the new Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello, gun enthusiasts can rest easy.
Not only does Mattiello carry an A+ ranking from the National Rifle Association but the two Representatives that he has selected to head the House Judiciary Committee are likely to kill any anti-gun legislation on arrival.
Mattiello has appointed Representative Cale Keable, a lawyer from Burrillville to chair the House Judiciary Committee and in a bipartisan move he appointed Representative Doreen Costa, a Republican representing Exeter and North Kingstown, to be the vice chair.
Costa has been a long time supporter of gun owner's rights, hosting Second Amendment rallies at the State House every time she feels that Second Amendment rights are being challenged by legislation.
Keable, who lives in Northern Rhode Island, which is chock full of sportsmen's clubs is also carries an A rank by the NRA. Between Costa, Keable, and Mattiello, it is unlikely that any anti-gun legislation will make it to a full floor vote, let alone pass through the House entirely.
This is a real change from former chair Edith Ajello who was ranked an F- by the NRA and the former Speaker, Gordon Fox, who carried a C ranking from the NRA.
Of course gun control supporters will continue to press for their legislation but at least for now it has no chance to make it through committee.
A lot of people are pointing fingers at Costa saying that in order to grab this appointment she must have struck a deal with the Democrats. Costa denies the claim. This appointment could just be Mattiello's way of publicly showing that he wants to work across party lines. While it is exciting to Republicans to have a Representative in a leadership position, she is still not the chairman of the committee, who holds the real power. She is the vice chairman. Her job is to preside over the committee if the chairman happens to be absent.
In addition, it is unlikely a deal was struck because Mattiello would really have nothing to gain from this aside from looking "bipartisan." He could have assured the Speaker position without Republican support and the Republicans did not have much of a choice. They could have voted for Mattiello or voted for a more progressive agenda with Rep. Marcello and his team. The other option would have been to abstain.
It's not surprising that some think a deal was struck because it is rare for a Democrat to give a member of the tiny Republican caucus a title.
But perhaps the two Representatives were just friendly in the General Assembly and as a pro-gun guy Mattiello trusts Costa to be a vice chair on the Judiciary Committee or maybe this is Mattiello's way of showing that he plans to be a different kind of leader than the previous House Speakers. Only time will tell.
All eyes will remain on Mattiello as he continues to put his leadership team in place and make his first moves as the new Speaker of the House. So far there has been a few surprises and there are probably more to come.
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Dee DeQuattro is the assignment desk manager and digital news coordinator for ABC6. She studied politics and communications and holds a master's degree from Providence College. Follow her on twitter @deedequattro and log on to ABC6 .com for her latest in depth coverage of politics and news.