2005 -- H 5715
A N A C T
RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT
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:
OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCATE
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.