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BC-RI--Rhode Island News Digest 1:30 pm, RI

January 23, 2019

Good afternoon. Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up in Rhode Island.

Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP Boston bureau at 617-357-8100 or 800-882-1407.

New England News Editor Bill Kole can be reached at 617-357-8100 or bkole@ap.org. New England Photo Editor Bill Sikes is reachable at 617-357-8106 or bsikes@ap.org.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

A reminder that this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Eastern.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

TODAY’S TOP STORIES:

SEX ABUSE-LAWSUIT LIMITS

In many states across the U.S., victims of long-ago child sex-abuse have been lobbying for years, often in vain, to change statute of limitation laws that thwart their quest for justice. This year seems sure to produce some breakthroughs. New York state is Exhibit A. The Democrats’ takeover of the formerly Republican-controlled Senate seems almost certain to produce a more victim-friendly policy in place of one of the nation’s most restrictive laws. Prospects are considered good for similar changes in Rhode Island and New Jersey. By David Crary. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-WHALES

Rescuers who respond to distressed whales and other marine animals say the federal government shutdown is making it more difficult to do their work. A network of rescue groups in the U.S. works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to respond to marine mammals such as whales and seals when the animals are in trouble, such as when they are stranded on land or entangled in fishing gear. But the federal shutdown, which is entering its 33rd day on Wednesday, includes a shuttering of the NOAA operations the rescuers rely upon. SENT: 600 words.

MEEK MILL-CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

A coalition of big names in sports and entertainment is taking on criminal justice reform. Rappers Meek Mill and Jay-Z and the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots came together in New York City on Wednesday to announce the launch of an organization that will lobby for changes to state probation and parole laws. SENT: 320 words.

PUERTO RICO-ELECTION 2020-ELIZABETH WARREN

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren promised to help rebuild Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria and support laws to give the U.S. territory equal treatment and debt relief as she condemned President Donald Trump during a visit Tuesday to the island, which has become an obligatory stop for potential and presidential candidates. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

MASSACHUSETTS BUDGET

With an eye on a slowing economy and pressure to boost spending on education, transportation, climate change and other priorities, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is expected on Wednesday to unveil a roughly $42 billion state budget proposal. UPCOMING: 500 words by 2 p.m.

IN BRIEF:

_ GAS OUTAGE: Officials with utility National Grid say they’re making good progress restoring natural gas to thousands of Rhode Island customers who lost service during the coldest day of the year. SENT.

_ ANTI-ABORTION PROTESTS: Anti-abortion activists in Rhode Island are fighting legislative attempts to enshrine abortion protections in state law. SENT.

_ POLICE OFFICER-OVERTIME PROBE: The Providence Police Department has placed a veteran officer on paid leave amid a probe into whether he falsified his electronic timesheet to inflate the number of hours he worked. SENT.

_ FATAL MOTRCYCLE CRASH: A Rhode Island man authorities say was drunk when he crashed his car into a motorcycle in 2016, killing the operator, has been sentenced to seven years in prison. SENT.

_ TRANSIT CHAIRMAN RESIGNS: The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority Board chairman has announced he is resigning amid conflict of interest concerns. SENT.

_ STORM RESPONSE FINE: Massachusetts has penalized National Grid $750,000 for what the state calls the utility’s inadequate preparation and response to a destructive 2017 wind storm. SENT.

_ RIGHT WHALE PROTECTION: The developer of an offshore wind energy project is partnering with environmental groups on a plan to try to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. SENT.

_ GIRL DIES: Authorities say an 11-year-old Massachusetts girl who died days after going into medical distress at her great uncle’s house had fentanyl in her system. SENT.

_ MISSING WOMAN: Boston police have charged a man with kidnapping in connection to the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman outside a bar. SENT.

_ TEEN FATALLY SHOT: The victim of a weekend shooting in Pittsfield has been publicly identified as an 18-year-old man from Dalton. SENT.

SPORTS

CAVALIERS-CELTICS

The Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Boston Celtics. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

PATRIOTS-STEADY DEFENSE

It hasn’t been perfect, but after a slow start the Patriots have stabilized a defense that gave up 25 or more points four times in its first eight games and looked lost at times following the departure of former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. But it came together down the stretch under de facto coordinator Brian Flores, the All-Pro season of cornerback Stephon Gilmore and improved play up front. By Kyle Hightower. UPCOMING: 700 words by 6 p.m., photos.

RAMS-BETTING BIG

The Los Angeles Rams made a big bet on themselves last spring, and it’s paying off with a Super Bowl run. After the Rams lost their first playoff game in 13 years last season, general manager Les Snead decided they needed to leap through this championship window by acquiring high-priced defensive veterans and giving huge contracts to their two best players. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 9 p.m. EST.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Providence at Xavier, 6:30 p.m. UPCOMING: 650 words.

VCU at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. UPCOMING: 150 words, more on merits.

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