By MATT O'BRIEN, Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo's signature initiative this year would provide two years of free tuition at the state's public colleges, but it's off to a rocky start.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, a fellow Democrat, has called it ``unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible.'' Other lawmakers are also voicing skepticism.

Raimondo says the concerns are part of the normal give-and-take of the legislative process.

The proposal gets its first hearing Wednesday in the House Finance Committee.

Raimondo's plan would cover the two years of tuition at the Community College of Rhode Island or the final two years of a four-year-degree at the University of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College.

She touts positive feedback she's received from families and businesses.

But some lawmakers say the ``free'' label has hurt its chances.

© The Associated Press WLNE-TV  2017