Chapter 189

Chapter 189

2003 -- H 5747 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 07/10/03








     Introduced By: Representatives E Coderre, Ginaitt, McNamara, Lima, and Dennigan

     Date Introduced: February 11, 2003





It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Section 23-1-18 of the General Laws in Chapter 23-1 entitled "Department

of Health" is hereby amended to read as follows:

     23-1-18. Power to provide rules and regulations in specific areas. -- Without limiting

the generality of section 23-1-17, the rules and regulations relating to sanitation and health

provided for by section 23-1-17 may include:

      (1) Provisions fixing responsibilities of owners, operators, and occupants of land or

buildings for the sanitary condition, maintenance, use, and occupancy of the land and buildings.

      (2) Minimum standards with respect to the reporting of any disease and the quarantine of

persons affected by that disease.

      (3) Minimum standards and conditions for the location, construction, and sanitary quality

of all drinking water supplies.

      (4) Minimum standards for facilities and sanitary conditions for schools and the health

care for school children.

      (5) Minimum standards with respect to the maintenance and operation of food


      (6) Minimum standards of air quality consistent with human health.

      (7) Minimum standards consistent with human health for the quality of the waters of the


      (8) Minimum standards consistent with human health for the quality of public drinking


      (9) Minimum standards for immunization and testing for communicable diseases,

including, but not limited to, tuberculosis, of employees, children, and students at any child day-

care center, family day-care home, private nursery school, any other regular program providing

educational services to preschool-aged children, public or private school, college, or university.

      (10) Provisions requiring the reporting of immunization status and any other relevant

information that the director determines appropriate for persons under the age of eighteen (18)

years for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a childhood immunization registry,

provided however, that all personally identifiable information obtained pursuant to this section

shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 37.3 of title 5.

     (11) Provisions requiring the reporting of inventories and sales of drugs, devices and

other products potentially related to the outbreak of disease. All information acquired under this

subsection by the department of health is confidential and not subject to pubic access pursuant to

chapter 38-2.

     SECTION 2. Section 23-8-4 of the General Laws in Chapter 23-8 entitled "Quarantine

Generally" is hereby amended to read as follows:

     23-8-4. Quarantine. -- If the state director of health, or his or her duly authorized agent,

determines, upon investigation, that a threat to the public health exists because any person is

suffering, or appears to be suffering, from a communicable disease, the director or his or her

authorized agent may cause require or provide that person to be confined, in some proper place,

for the purpose of isolation or quarantine, or another less restrictive intervention treatment,

including, but not limited to, immunization, treatment, exclusion or other protective actions until

the threat to the public health has abated. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a

person who is unable or unwilling for reasons of health, religion, or conscience to undergo

immunization or treatment from choosing to submit to quarantine or isolation as an alternative to

immunization or treatment. Orders under the chapter shall be in accordance with the procedures

for compliance order and immediate compliance orders set forth in sections 23-1-20 through 23-

1-24. A person subject to quarantine under this section shall be entitled to file a petition for relief

from such order at any time, included, but not limited to, a petition based upon compliance with a

treatment under less restrictive alternatives.

     SECTION 3. Chapter 23-8 of the General Laws entitled "Quarantine Generally" is

hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

     23-8-4.1. Power to examine suspected cases Right of individual to own physician.

For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the state department of health is

empowered to make examinations of persons reasonably suspected of having a communicable

disease; provided, however, that any person so examined shall have the right to have present at

that examination, a physician of his or her own choice, at his or her own expense. The state

department of health shall inform him or her of this right and afford him or her a reasonable

opportunity to exercise that right; and at the trial of any person being prosecuted under the

provisions of section 23-1-25, the prosecution must demonstrate that he or she was so informed

and was afforded that opportunity.

     SECTION 4. Sections 30-15-2, 30-15-3, 30-15-6, 30-15-9 and 30-15-15 of the General

Laws in Chapter 30-15 entitled "Emergency Management" are hereby amended to read as


     30-15-2. Purposes of provisions. -- The purposes of this chapter are:

      (1) To reduce vulnerability of people and communities of this state to damage, injury,

and loss of life and property resulting from natural or man-made catastrophes, riots, or hostile

military or paramilitary action or acts of bioterrorism;

      (2) To prepare for prompt and efficient rescue, care, and treatment of persons victimized

or threatened by disaster;

      (3) To provide a setting conducive to the rapid and orderly start of restoration and

rehabilitation of persons and property affected by disasters;

      (4) To clarify and strengthen the roles of the governor, state agencies, and local

governments in prevention of, preparation for, and response to and recovery from disasters;

      (5) To authorize and provide for cooperation in disaster prevention, preparedness,

response, and recovery;

      (6) To authorize and provide for coordination of activities relating to disaster prevention,

preparedness, response, and recovery by agencies and officers of this state, and similar state-

local, interstate, federal-state, and foreign activities in which the state and its political

subdivisions may participate; and

      (7) To provide a disaster management system embodying all four (4) phases of

emergency management: mitigation; preparedness; response; and recovery.;

     (8) [Deleted by P.L. 2000, ch. 170, section 2].;

     (9) To prepare for emergency health threats, including those caused by acts of

bioterrorism, which require the exercise of extraordinary government functions;

     (10) To provide the state with the ability to respond, rapidly and effectively to potential

or actual public health emergencies or disaster emergencies.

     30-15-3. Definitions. -- As used in this chapter:

      (1) "Disaster" means occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage,

injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or man made cause, including but not

limited to:

     (i) Fire;

     (ii) Flood;

     (iii) Earthquake;

     (iv) Wind, storm, wave action, oil spill, or other water contamination requiring

emergency action to avert danger or damage;

     (v) Volcanic activity;

     (vi) Epidemic;

     (vii) Air contamination;

     (viii) Blight;

     (ix) Drought;

     (x) Infestation;

     (xi) Explosion;

     (xii) Riots;

     (xiii) Hostile military or paramilitary action; or

     (xiv) Endangerment of the health, safety, or resources of the people of the state; or

     (xv) Acts of bioterrorism;

     (2) "Political subdivision" means any city or town in Rhode Island; and

     (3) "Unorganized militia" means all able-bodied persons between the ages of sixteen (16)

and fifty (50) years.; and

     (4) "Bioterrorism" is the intentional use of any microorganism, virus, infectious

substance, or biological product that may be engineered as a result of biotechnology, or any

naturally occurring or bioengineered component of any such microorganism, virus, infectious

substance, or biological product, to cause death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a

human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism.

     30-15-6. Advisory council. -- (a) There is hereby created the Rhode Island emergency

management advisory council (hereinafter in this chapter called the "council"). The council will

consist of thirty-one (31) thirty-two (32) members as follows:

      (1) Sixteen (16) Seventeen (17) ex officio members as follows:

      (i) The lieutenant governor;

      (ii) The adjutant general;

      (iii) The director of administration/statewide planning;

      (iv) The director of health;

      (v) The director of transportation;

      (vi) The director of human services;

      (vii) The superintendent of state police;

      (viii) The public utilities administrator;

      (ix) The director of the department of environmental management;

      (x) The director of mental health, retardation, and hospitals;

      (xi) The director of elderly affairs;

      (xii) The chairperson of the state water resources board;

      (xiii) The chairperson of the governor's commission on disabilities;

      (xiv) The chairperson of the Rhode Island public transit authority;

      (xv) The executive director of the coastal resources management council or his or her


      (xvi) The executive director of the American Red Cross, Rhode Island chapter; and

     (xvii) The executive director of the Rhode Island emergency management agency; and

     (2) Fifteen (15) members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the governor, as


      (i) Two (2) members of the senate, recommended by the president of the senate, not

more than one of whom shall be from the same political party;

      (ii) Two (2) members of the house of representatives, recommended by the speaker of

the house, not more than one of whom shall be from the same political party;

      (iii) One representative of the electric industry;

      (iv) One representative of the gas industry;

      (v) One representative of the telephone industry;

      (vi) The executive director of the Rhode Island petroleum association or other similarly

situated person;

      (vii) Two (2) representatives of the general public, one who shall have expertise in

disaster preparedness;

      (viii) One representative of the Rhode Island league of cities and towns;

      (ix) One representative of E-911, the uniform emergency telephone authority;

      (x) One representative of the media;

      (xi) One representative of the water supply industry;

      (xii) One representative of the health care industry; and

      (xiii) One representative of the Rhode Island firefighters association.

      (b) It shall be the duty of the council to advise the governor and the adjutant general on

all matters pertaining to disaster preparedness. The lieutenant governor shall serve as chairperson

of the council and the adjutant general shall serve as vice-chairperson. In providing advice to the

governor and the adjutant general, the council shall, among other matters reasonably related to

their authority, do the following:

      (1) Establish a regular meeting schedule and form subcommittees as may be appropriate;

      (2) Review emergency management plans and other matters as may be acted upon or

otherwise provided for in this chapter;

      (3) Establish priorities and goals on emergency management matters on an annual basis;

      (4) Study emergency management plans in conjunction with the adjutant general, and

otherwise conduct such other studies as may be deemed appropriate;

      (5) Review the coordination of the state's emergency management programs with

appropriate authorized agencies and conduct studies on the programs as may be necessary;

      (6) Review the plans and operations of the various cities and towns in disaster

preparedness in conjunction with the director and his or her office as required or necessary; and

      (7) [Deleted by P.L. 2000, ch. 170, section 2];

      (8) Provide an annual report on its activities in conjunction with the adjutant general.

     30-15-9. Governor's responsibilities relating to disaster emergencies. -- (a) The

governor shall be responsible for meeting the dangers to the state and people presented by


      (b) A state of emergency shall be declared by executive order or proclamation of the

governor if he or she finds a disaster has occurred or that this occurrence or the threat thereof is

imminent. The state of disaster emergency shall continue until the governor finds that the threat

or danger has passed or the disaster has been dealt with to the extent that emergency conditions

no longer exist and terminates the state of disaster emergency by executive order or proclamation,

but no state of disaster emergency may continue for longer than thirty (30) days unless renewed

by the governor. The general assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster

emergency at any time. Thereupon, the governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation

ending the state of disaster emergency and what actions are being taken to control the emergency

and what action the public should take to protect themselves. All executive orders or

proclamations issued under this subsection shall indicate the nature of the disaster, the area or

areas threatened, and the conditions which have brought it about or which make possible

termination of the state of disaster emergency. An executive order or proclamation shall be

disseminated promptly by means calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general

public and, unless the circumstances attendant upon the disaster prevent or impede, promptly

filed with the agency, the secretary of state, and the city and town clerks in the area to which it


      (c) An executive order or proclamation of a state of disaster emergency shall activate the

state and local disaster emergency plans applicable to the political subdivision or area in question

and shall be authority for the deployment and use of any forces to which the plan or plans apply

and for the use or distribution of any supplies, equipment, and materials and facilities assembled,

stockpiled, or arranged to be made available pursuant to this chapter or any other provision of law

relating to disaster emergencies.

      (d) During the continuance of any state of disaster emergency the governor is

commander-in-chief of the organized and unorganized militia and of all other forces available for

emergency duty. To the greatest extent practicable, the governor shall delegate or assign

command authority by prior arrangement embodied in appropriate executive orders or

regulations, but nothing herein restricts the governor's authority to do so by orders issued at the

time of the disaster emergency.

      (e) In addition to any other powers conferred upon the governor by law, the governor

may exercise the following powers, limited in scope and duration as is reasonably necessary for

emergency response:

      (1) Suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for

conduct of state business, or the orders, rules, or regulations of any state agency, if strict

compliance with the provisions of any statute, order, rule, or regulation would in any way

prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency, provided that the

suspension of any statute, order, rule or regulation will be limited in duration and scope to the

emergency action requiring said suspension;

      (2) Utilize all available resources of the state government as reasonably necessary to

cope with the disaster emergency and of each political subdivision of the state;

      (3) Transfer the direction, personnel, or functions of state departments and agencies or

units thereof for the purpose of performing or facilitating emergency services;

      (4) Subject to any applicable requirements for compensation under section 30-15-11,

commandeer or utilize any private property if the governor finds this necessary to cope with the

disaster emergency;

      (5) Direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or

threatened area within the state if the governor deems this action necessary for the preservation of

life or other disaster mitigation, response, or recovery;

      (6) Prescribe routes, modes of transportation, and destinations in connection with


      (7) Control ingress and egress to and from a high risk area, the movement of persons

within the area, and the occupancy of premises therein;

      (8) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages,

firearms, explosives, and combustibles;

      (9) Make provision for the availability and use of temporary emergency shelter;

      (10) Make and promulgate such rules and regulations as the governor may deem

advisable for the assigning, detailing, and making available for duty and use in any city or town

of this state any of the personnel, apparatus, or equipment of any police or fire department of any

other city or town, or of any volunteer fire company, or of any fire district, and that personnel

shall have the same powers, duties, rights, privileges, and immunities as if performing their duties

in the city or town in which they normally would be employed, but the personnel shall obey the

orders of the police and fire authorities of the city or town to which assigned, detailed, or made

available. When assigned, detailed, or made available as aforesaid, the city or town in which the

police or firemen shall perform outside duties shall provide them with subsistence or pay them a

reasonable allowance therefor, and shall also be liable for any damage to the apparatus or

equipment incurred while being so used; provided, however, that a city or town shall be

reimbursed by the state out of the general fund of the state for all expenses incurred under the

foregoing provisions of this subsection;

      (11) Designate as a special emergency health and sanitation area, any area within the

state which has been seriously damaged by disaster, or in which the existence of any military,

naval, or air establishment of the United States of America or of any industrial establishment

constructed or enlarged for purposes of national defense, has caused an increase in the population

of that area to such an extent as to produce unusual problems of health and sanitation. It is the

duty of state health authorities and the local code enforcement officials to make and enforce rules

and regulations designed to prevent the introduction of any contagious or infectious disease and

to safeguard the public health within the area. The governor may promulgate and enforce

additional rules and regulations for the protection of the public health within areas as may be


      (12) Whenever, in the governor's opinion, due to a disaster there is liable to be a serious

shortage in the supply of food, fuel, clothing, antitoxins, serums, immunizing agents or any other

pharmaceutical agents or medical supplies, or any other necessity of life or defense, and the

federal authorities are not adequately dealing with the situation, promulgate such rules and

regulations as he or she from time to time deems necessary to regulate the sale, purchase, or

distribution of those necessities and to prohibit and prevent the wasting, secreting, hiding, or

hoarding of or profiteering from those necessities; and

      (13) Do all other things necessary to effectively cope with disasters in the state not

inconsistent with other provisions of law.;

     (14) Adopt and enforce measures to provide for the safe disposal of infectious waste as

may be reasonable and necessary for emergency response due to a state disaster emergency. Such

measures may include, but are not limited to, the collection, storage, handling, destruction,

treatment, transportation, and disposal of infectious waste;

     (15) Adopt and enforce measures to provide for the safe disposal of corpses as may be

reasonable and necessary for emergency response due to a state disaster emergency. Such

measures may include, but are not limited to, the embalming, burial, cremation, interment,

disinterment, transportation, and disposal of corpses; and

     (16) Compel a person to submit to a physical examination and/or testing as necessary to

diagnose or treat the person. The medical examination and/or testing may be performed by any

qualified person authorized by the department of health and must not be reasonably likely to

result in serious harm to the affected individual. The medical examination and/or testing shall be

performed immediately upon the order of the department of health without resort to judicial or

quasi-judicial authority. If the department of health is uncertain whether a person who refuses to

undergo medical examination and/or testing may have been exposed to an infectious disease or

otherwise poses a danger to public health, the department of health may subject the individual to

isolation or quarantine, pursuant to section 23-8-4.

     30-15-15. Immunity from liability -- Compensation for death or injury of disaster

response workers. -- (a) All functions under this chapter and all other activities relating to

disaster response are hereby declared to be governmental functions. Neither the state nor any

political subdivision thereof nor other agencies of the state or political subdivision thereof, nor,

except in cases in wilful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith, any disaster response worker

complying with or reasonably attempting to comply with this chapter, or any order, rule, or

regulation promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or pursuant to any ordinance

relating to precautionary measures enacted by any political subdivision of the state, shall be liable

for the death of or injury to persons, or for damage to property, as a result of disaster response

activity. The provisions of this section shall not affect the right of any person to receive benefits

to which he or she would otherwise be entitled under this chapter, or under the Worker's

Compensation Act, chapters 29 -- 38 of title 28, or under any pension law, nor the right of any

person to receive any benefits or compensation under any act of congress.

      (b) Any requirement for a licensee to practice any professional, mechanical, or other skill

shall not apply to any authorized disaster response worker who shall, in the course of performing

his or her duties as, practice any professional, mechanical, or other skill during a disaster


      (c) In the absence of any other benefits as provided by law, all disaster response workers

who shall be killed or sustain disability or injury while in training for or on disaster response duty

shall be construed to be employees of the state, any other provisions of the law to the contrary

notwithstanding, and shall be compensated in like manner as state employees are compensated

under the provisions of chapters 29 -- 38 of title 28.

      (d) As used in this section, the term "disaster response worker" shall include any full or

part time paid, volunteer, or auxiliary employee of this state, other states, territories, or

possessions, the District of Columbia, the federal government, any neighboring country, or any

political subdivision thereof, or any agency or organization or any private person, firm or

corporation performing disaster response services at any place in this state subject to the order or

control of, or pursuant to a request of, the state government or any political subdivision thereof.

     SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon passage.



LC01631/SUB A/3