Rhode Island Public Record Laws


R.I. Gen. Laws §38-2

Exemptions to Disclosure

The following records shall not be deemed public:

  • Trade secrets;
  • Preliminary drafts, notes, impressions, memoranda, working papers, and work products.

Access Rights

  • Any person can get records. Cost is 15 cents/page for normal copies; a search fee of no more than $15/hr may be charged. If the information requested is in the public interest and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, fees can be waived.
  • Custodian of records has 10 business days after receiving the request to respond. If the inspection of copying cannot be accomplished within the 10 days, the custodian must explain in rewriting that more time is needed. The explanation must be particular to the records requested. In such a circumstance the custodian can have up to 20 additional business days to comply with the request. § 38-2-3
  • Failure to respond to a request for records is deemed a denial.

Destruction of Public Records

No public official may mutilate, destroy, sell, loan, or otherwise dispose of any public record without the consent of the public records administration program of the secretary of state. RIGL § 38-1-10

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