News Minute: Here is the latest Rhode Island news from The Associated Press at 8:40 a.m. EST
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A class action lawsuit claiming the state of Rhode Island has failed to prepare young people to fully participate in civic life will be heard by a federal court. The lawsuit asks for a ruling declaring that all students nationwide have a constitutional right to an education that prepares them to be capable voters and jurors and exercise effectively all of their constitutional rights. A court will hear Thursday the state's motion to dismiss the suit against Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, education officials and others. The state argues plaintiffs haven't explained exactly what they mean by ''educational adequacy.''
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The chief of Rhode Island’s largest hospital group says the system will look to cut costs after finishing the 2019 fiscal year with a net loss of $35 million. Lifespan President and CEO Timothy Babineau said Wednesday those measures include an early retirement plan. He says layoffs will be a last resort. Babineau attributed the loss o several factors, including a dramatic reduction in Medicare funding following a change in the federal government’s formula for determining rates. Lifespan operates Rhode Island Hospital as well as Miriam, Newport and Bradley hospitals and is the state's largest private employer.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Transportation officials say a self-driving shuttle service has taken more than 25,000 trips during its first six months of operating in Rhode Island. The Boston Globe reports Wednesday that transportation officials released data for the first six months of the “Little Roady” one-year pilot program, with an average of 146 free shuttle trips daily in Providence in November. That's up from an average of 137 trips daily in October and 125 trips daily in June.
BOSTON (AP) - A Massachusetts accountant has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for embezzling almost $1.3 million from his clients. Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Jeffrey Kellem, of Newton, was also ordered to pay restitution and fined $250,000. He pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud and filing a false tax return for failing to pay taxes on the stolen money. Kellem used his position as an accountant for an elderly client, and the estate of a deceased client, to transfer the money to bank accounts he opened and controlled and without the authorization of his clients.
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