R.I. Senate committee approves open records measure

Virgie Townsend | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | May 30, 2008

Rhode Island’s Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved updated legislation that will limit the time state agencies have to respond to record requests to seven days instead of the current 10.

Police departments would have just 24 hours to respond to requests seeking the arrested person’s name and charge, though they would have seven days to release portions of the police report. Agencies facing larger and more complicated requests would see their time frame reduced from 30 days to 20. Employees who didn’t comply with the law would be charged a $1,000 fine.

The legislation comes as the first overhaul of the state’s Open Records Law in a decade. The bill’s sponsor, Government Oversight Committee Chairman J. Michael Lenihan, said this is the third or fourth time he has proposed such legislation.