The state of Rhode Island is set to run a deficit of over $100 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year, according to a statement from the RI House Fiscal Office on Tuesday. Projected tax revenue for the state has been increasing since the last deficit forecast, and the state ran a surplus for much of its 2016-17 budget, bringing the projected number from a deficit of about $180 million down to $112 million. Governor Gina Raimondo, who is required by law to submit a balanced budget with no deficit, will submit her new budget on Jan. 19.
A report by nonprofit organization Rhode Island Kids Count announced that Rhode Island students face some of the lowest rates of bullying in the nation. Middle school students in the state reported the lowest numbers for reported bullying, high school students report the second lowest figures. Rates of bullying from 2013 to 2015 dropped slightly, from 40 percent to 38 percent of students reporting being bullied among middle schoolers, and 18 to 16 percent for high school students.
After months of protests, the Dakota Access Pipeline has come to a stop–at least temporarily. Since April, protesters and the Sioux tribe of the nearby Standing Rock Reservation have opposed the final stretch of the Midwestern oil pipeline, claiming it would put their water supply at risk and damage sacred tribal areas. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama’s administration denied Energy Transfer Partners’ progress, the company who is constructing the pipeline, a permit to finish the pipeline in the contested area, while the company claims they have completed all proper permitting process. The halt may be temporary, though, as President-elect Donald Trump supports completion of the pipeline, and Obama’s decision may still be overturned.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) reiterated on Tuesday that a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and begin the process to replace it, is upcoming in the next few weeks at the start of 2017. At the same time, the newly-elected Republican majorities in both houses of congress will consider Democrats’ efforts to delay Trump’s picks for cabinet positions. After a 2013 Senate rules change, known as the “nuclear option,” executive appointments will require just 51 votes for approval by the Senate.
The prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, announced his resignation on Monday. The nation’s referendum on sweeping Constitutional reform, which was supported by Renzi and his Democratic Party, failed, by a vote of 59 percent “no” and just 40 percent for “yes.” The main opponents of the referendum, the “I vote No” campaign, were led by the populist Five Star Movement and its leader Beppe Grillo.
The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court is in the midst of an appeal process over what steps to take next towards leaving the European Union, following the Brexit referendum. The court will deliberate on whether the nation’s parliament must approve a motion to trigger Article 50, known as the “Exit Clause” which would officially begin the process of exiting the EU. Current Prime Minister Theresa May plans to begin the process through Article 50 by March of 2017.