A N A C T
RELATING TO USE OF VEHICLES BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Sections 42-11.3-1, 42-11.3-2, 42-11.3-3 and 42-11.3-4 of the General Laws in Chapter 42-11.3 entitled "Motor Vehicles Owned by a Governmental Body" are hereby amended to read as follows:
42-11.3-1. Definitions -- As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings unless otherwise specified:
(a) "General officer" shall mean the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the secretary of state and the general treasurer.
(b) (1) "Governmental body" shall mean any department, commission, council, board, bureau, committee, institution, legislative body, agency, government corporation, including, without limitation, the board of governors for higher education and board of regents -- elementary and secondary education or other establishment of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the state.
(2) "Governmental body" also shall mean the Rhode Island industrial recreational building authority, the Rhode Island port authority and economic development corporation, the Rhode Island industrial facilities corporation, the Rhode Island refunding bond authority, the Rhode Island housing and mortgage finance corporation, the Rhode Island solid waste management corporation, the Rhode Island public transit authority, the Rhode Island student loan authority, the Howard development corporation, the water resources board corporate, the Rhode Island health and education building corporation, the Rhode Island higher education assistance authority, the Rhode Island turnpike and bridge authority, the Blackstone Valley district commission, the Narragansett Bay water quality management district commission, Rhode Island telecommunications authority, the convention center authority, channel 36 foundation, their successors and assigns, and any other body corporate and politic which has been here before or which is hereinafter created or established within this state excepting cities and towns.
(c) "Own" shall mean control and the intent to control and shall include any type of arrangement, including by way of illustration, and not by limitation a lease arrangement, whereby an employee of a governmental body is supplied principal or exclusive use of a motor vehicle by his or her employer.
"Security personnel" shall mean members of a state law enforcement division engaged in undercover operations. "Law enforcement officer" shall mean an individual: (i) who is employed on a full-time basis by a governmental body that is responsible for the prevention or investigation of crime involving injury to persons or property (including the apprehension or detention of persons for such crimes); (ii) who is authorized by law to carry firearms, execute search warrants, and to make arrests (other than merely a citizen's arrest); and (iii) who regularly carries firearms (except when it is not possible to do so because of the requirements of undercover work). The term law enforcement officer shall include an arson investigator if the investigator otherwise meets these requirements.
(e) "Commuting" shall mean driving a motor vehicle owned by a governmental body to and from the work place and the employee's residence.
(f) "Employee" shall mean an individual who works for a governmental body not less than thirty-five (35) hours a week.
42-11.3-2. Registration of vehicles owned by a governmental body -- Every motor vehicle owned by a governmental body shall be registered in accordance with section 31-3-11.1, permanent registration and plates, or section 31-3-15, special plates for state officers and mayors. Vehicles used by
security personnel law enforcement officers engaged in undercover operations are exempt from this section.
42-11.3-3. Identification of vehicles owned by a governmental body -- The division of motor vehicles shall issue a distinctive colored plate for vehicles owned by a governmental body. The division of motor vehicles shall determine the color of the plate.
Each vehicle owned by a governmental body shall display on the rear of the vehicle a sticker with letters at least two (2) inches in height stating: "State of Rhode Island". Under or next to said phrase shall be the phrase, "Please report misuse" and the telephone number established for such reporting shall be inserted. The general officers, security personnel, and the directors of the various state departments are exempt from the provisions of this section.
Each vehicle owned by a governmental body shall display a decal on the rear window. Said decal shall state: "Please report misuse" and the telephone number established for such reporting shall be inserted. Unmarked law enforcement vehicles and the directors of various state departments are exempt from the provisions of this section.
42-11.3-4. Reimbursement of governmental body for commuting mileage -- (a) The user of a vehicle owned by a governmental body shall reimburse, on a monthly basis, costs incurred as a result of the use of the vehicle in commuting. No vehicle may be used for commuting except upon written approval of the employee's appointing authority and the director of administration. Any such approval will terminate on December 31 of each year but may be annually renewed. Cost shall be determined by multiplying the number of miles by the rate set forth in 26 U.S.C. section 162.
(b) The general officers,
security personnel law enforcement officers and the directors of the various state departments are exempt from this section provided however, that the use of a vehicle by a general officer for political purposes shall be subject to this section.
A user of a vehicle owned by a governmental body who is subject to be recalled to work at any time shall not be required to reimburse the governmental body for those trips required by a recall to a work site when the user is recalled to work.
(d) The director of each governmental body shall submit to the director of administration, the house fiscal advisory staff and the senate fiscal advisory staff the name and address of each user of a vehicle owned by a governmental body who is subject to recall at any time.
The Except for the following circumstances, the director of a governmental body shall not require an employee to use a vehicle owned by a governmental body for commuting purposes:
(i) vehicles assigned to law enforcement officers;
(ii) vehicles assigned to employees who are on emergency response status; the need for these employees to respond to emergencies in an assigned vehicle must be clearly established and must be clearly beneficial to the state;
(iii) vehicles assigned to employees which serve as the employee's primary office; such employees must work outside their work location for at least eighty percent (80%) of the workweek;
(iv) vehicles assigned to employees in situations where it is clearly more beneficial for the state if the employee goes directly from his or her residence to a temporary or seasonal work site;
(v) vehicles assigned to employees who are using the vehicle on a per trip basis and are required to use the vehicle either before or after regular working hours; and
(vi) specially equipped vehicles assigned to employees who are required to work with the vehicle after their regular working hours.
(2) Notwithstanding the above, no employee shall use a vehicle owned by a governmental body for commuting purposes except upon the written recommendation of the appointing authority and the written approval of the director of administration. Any such approval will terminate on December 31 of each year but may be annually renewed.
(3) Employees who have received approval to use an assigned vehicle for commuting purposes pursuant to this subsection are not required to reimburse the state for such use.
(f) Nothing in this statute shall affect the obligations of the vehicle operator as set forth in 26 U.S.C. section 280F.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.