Rhode Island Freedom of Information

In Rhode Island, freedom of information is provided in the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act (APRA).  It was first enacted in 1979.  The Act guarantees access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Rhode Island.  APRA is defined in Chapter 38.2 of the Rhode Island General Laws.  This chapter has 15 different subsections detailing the various aspects of APRA.  The Act was significantly revised in 1991, 1998 and 2008.  The reasoning behind the law, as expressed in its introduction, is, “the public’s right to access public records and the individual’s right to dignity and privacy are both recognized to be principles of the utmost importance in a free society.”

Moreover, as a part of freedom of information, the Rhode Island Open Meetings Act provides the methods by which public meetings are conducted.  Chapter 42-46 of the Rhode Island General Laws define the law. The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states, “it is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be advised of and aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy.”

Inside Rhode Island Freedom of Information