Rhode Island

1. What kind of records are covered?

The APRA broadly defines public records as those maintained by any public body, whether required by law or not, including all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, computer stored data (including electronic mail messages, except specifically for any electronic mail messages of or to elected officials with or related to those they represent and correspondence of or to elected officials in their official capacities). R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 38-2-2(4) and 38-2-3(a) (1998).

F. Arbitration


Rhode Island

C. Business and industry relations.

No specific exemption. May be covered by exemptions (6) and (7) on prospective business location and investing funds.

4. Standard of review

Because an appeal of this nature is likely not from a final judgment, it would be considered interlocutory under Rule 13 of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules of Civil Procedure.

b. Are certain executive functions covered?

There is no limitation as to executive functions involved.  The OML covers all public bodies which “convene” to discuss or act upon any matter over which the public body has “supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power”. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-2(a).

2. Criminal

Rhode Island General Laws § 9-19.1-1 et seq., known as the Newsman's Privilege Act or the Rhode Island Shield Law, does not differentiate between subpoenas issued in civil or criminal cases. Rather, the privilege mandates that "no person" shall be required by "any court, grand jury, agency, department, or commission of the state" to disclose confidential information or to reveal confidential sources under most circumstances. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 9-19.1-1 through 9-19.1-3.

Q. Real estate appraisals, negotiations.

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

F. Are there sanctions for noncompliance?

If a request for access to records was initially denied and a court later determines that the request should have been granted, the court has the option of reducing or waiving the statutory fees for search and/or retrieval if it determines that the information requested is in the public interest and likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-4(e). See also Direct Action for Rights and Equality v. Gannon, 819 A.2d 651 (R.I. 2003).

3. Dismissal; considering dismissal of public employees.

Presumably closed pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-5(a)(1).