Spotlight on the Statehouse: March 9, 2016

News Editor
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

SEC charges RICC with fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a complaint against the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and underwriter Wells Fargo Securities, accusing them of willfully misleading investors when they offered  bonds for video game company 38 Studios, the Providence Journal reported Monday.

“We allege that the (RICC) and Wells Fargo knew that 38 Studios needed an additional $25 million to fund the project, yet failed to pass that material information along to bond investors, who were denied a complete financial picture,” Andrew Ceresney, director of SEC, told the Journal.

The state loaned $75 million to the video game company, owned by former Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling, in 2010 to produce a massively multiplayer online role playing game. The company declared bankruptcy in 2012, leaving many taxpayers wondering where the state’s loan went.

Bill could increase judiciary diversity

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee is now considering a bill to require the Judicial Nominating Commission to be representative of the state’s racial and gender proportions and to list a lawyer of color every time the commission sends the names of potential judges to the governor, the Journal reported.

“It’s come to the point where we do not need to study it. We do not need to talk about it much more, but rather we need to act,” said Rep. Anastasia William, D-Providence, while addressing the House Judiciary Committee.

The process currently favors those whose fathers were or are judges, and often results in the “bogus” disqualification of lawyers of color, Williams said.

myRA in RI

A new program titled “myRA” will create a simple savings program for Rhode Islanders who don’t have experience with saving, WPRI reported.

“It’s a way for people at all income levels to begin building wealth and preparing themselves for retirement,” said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI.

myRA is a Roth IRA, a special retirement account that will invest money in a U.S. Treasury savings bond, which has no risk of losing money. Standard paychecks, checking or savings account funds and federal tax refunds can all be deposited into the account.

Richard Ludlow, executive director of the myRA told WPRI that people have already began contributing to their savings for the first time. Once an account reaches $15,000, it will automatically roll over to a Roth IRA plan from a private financial institution.

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