WNPR

John Bender

John Bender is RIPR's Morning Edition Producer; he researches stories, interviews newsmakers and writes scripts for the morning news.  He also does additional reporting throughout the day for general reporting and special projects.

A legislative commission studying the use of solitary confinement in Rhode Island prisons reported back to lawmakers Thursday. The group also made recommendations to reform the practice, which critics say can create lasting mental health issues in the prison population.

Local immigration lawyers say questions remain about portions of the president’s temporary ban on travel from six majority-Muslim countries, reinstated this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Gina Raimondo's position statement came as a welcome surprise to dozens of protestors gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday.

Residents and lawmakers had crammed into the Statehouse rotunda to protest federal plans to move rail infrastructure in parts of Charlestown and Westerly. Then, Charlestown Town Councilor Virginia Lee told the crowd the governor agreed with them.

The federal government is offering official approval for Rhode Island’s plan to toll commercial trucks on state bridges. The toll has generated opposition from the trucking industry and some businesses concerned about how the new tolls might impact the economy.

State Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti says the go-ahead from the federal government is the final step needed to move forward with the project.  The tolls will be installed in 13 locations, and 34 bridges so far are slated for repairs from the toll revenue.

  A judge in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island began hearings Wednesday in a lawsuit against the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, spurred by a local journalist.

Providence-based writer Phil Eil, says he’s fought for more than five years to obtain access to thousands of pages of public evidence from a pill-mill trial, about which he plans to write a book.

“I think it’s long overdue that the press and the public have access to the evidence, and I hope the judge will agree with that and say this has gone on long enough,” said Eil. 

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