Chapter 393

2005 -- H 5715

Enacted 07/19/05





     Introduced By: Representatives Diaz, Almeida, Slater, Kilmartin, and Moura

     Date Introduced: February 17, 2005


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Title 42 of the General Laws entitled "State Affairs and Government" is

hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:


     CHAPTER 9.3




     42-9.3-1. Establishment. There shall be established within the department of attorney

general an office of civil rights advocate. The civil rights advocate shall be appointed by the

attorney general and is authorized to perform his or her duties as the attorney general may direct,

including, but not limited to, training and education, reviewing complaints and conducting

investigations, and bringing civil actions under this chapter.


     42-9.3-2. Action by attorney general. (a) Whenever any person, whether or not acting

under color of law, intentionally interferes or threatens to intentionally interfere, by physical force

or violence against a person, by damage or destruction of property or by trespass on property,

with the exercise or enjoyment by any other person of rights secured by the United States

Constitution or the laws of the United States or of rights secured by the Constitution of Rhode

Island or laws of the state, the attorney general may bring a civil action for injunctive or other

appropriate equitable relief in order to protect the peaceable exercise or enjoyment of the rights


     (b) A civil action under this chapter shall be brought in the name of the state for or on

behalf of any person so aggrieved and shall be instituted in the superior court for the county

where the alleged victim resides or has a principal place of business or where the alleged

violation occurred or is threatened.


     42-9.3-3. Penalties. Each violation of this chapter is a civil violation for which a civil

penalty of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each defendant may be adjudged.

This penalty shall be paid to the general fund after the attorney general is reimbursed for costs of

bringing the action. Said penalty shall not serve as a defense to or in mitigation of any action for

damages brought by any person so aggrieved.


     42-9.3-4. Severability. If any provision or part of this chapter or the application thereof

to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or

applications of the section which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application,

and to this end the provisions or parts of this section are severable.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.