2007 -- S 0142
A N A C T
RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- OPEN MEETINGS
Introduced By: Senators Ciccone, Maselli, Moura, Badeau, and Ruggerio
Date Introduced: January 24, 2007
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 42-46-5 of the General Laws in Chapter 42-46 entitled "Open
Meetings" is hereby amended to read as follows:
42-46-5. Purposes for which meeting may be closed -- Use of electronic
communications -- Judicial proceedings -- Disruptive conduct. -- (a) A public body may hold
a meeting closed to the public pursuant to section 42-46-4 for one or more of the following
(1) Any discussions of the job performance, character, or physical or mental health of a
person or persons provided that such person or persons affected shall have been notified in
advance in writing and advised that they may require that the discussion be held at an open
Failure to provide such notification shall render any action taken against the person or
persons affected null and void. Before going into a closed meeting pursuant to this subsection, the
public body shall state for the record that any persons to be discussed have been so notified and
this statement shall be noted in the minutes of the meeting.
(2) Sessions pertaining to collective bargaining or litigation, or work sessions pertaining
to collective bargaining or litigation.
(3) Discussion regarding the matter of security including but not limited to the
deployment of security personnel or devices.
(4) Any investigative proceedings regarding allegations of misconduct, either civil or
(5) Any discussions or considerations related to the acquisition or lease of real property
for public purposes, or of the disposition of publicly held property wherein advanced public
information would be detrimental to the interest of the public.
(6) Any discussions related to or concerning a prospective business or industry locating
in the state of Rhode Island when an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the interest
of the public.
(7) A matter related to the question of the investment of public funds where the
premature disclosure would adversely affect the public interest. Public funds shall include any
investment plan or matter related thereto, including but not limited to state lottery plans for new
(8) Any executive sessions of a local school committee exclusively for the purposes (a)
of conducting student disciplinary hearings or (b) of reviewing other matters which relate to the
privacy of students and their records, including all hearings of the various juvenile hearing boards
of any municipality; provided, however, that any affected student shall have been notified in
advance in writing and advised that he or she may require that the discussion be held in an open
Failure to provide such notification shall render any action taken against the student or
students affected null and void. Before going into a closed meeting pursuant to this subsection,
the public body shall state for the record that any students to be discussed have been so notified
and this statement shall be noted in the minutes of the meeting.
(9) Any hearings on, or discussions of, a grievance filed pursuant to a collective
(10) Any discussion of the personal finances of a prospective donor to a library.
(b) No meeting of members of a public body or use of electronic communication,
including telephonic communication and telephone conferencing, shall be used to circumvent the
spirit or requirements of this chapter; provided, however, these meetings and discussions are not
(1) Provided, further however, that discussions of a public body via electronic
communication, including telephonic communication and telephone conferencing, shall be
permitted only to schedule a meeting.
(2) Provided, further however, that a member of a public body may participate by use of
electronic communication or telephone communication while on active duty in the armed services
of the United States.
(3) Provided, further however, that a member of that public body, who has a disability as
defined in chapter 87 of title 42 and:
(i) cannot attend meetings of that public body solely by reason of his or her disability;
(ii) cannot otherwise participate in the meeting without the use of electronic
communication or telephone communication as reasonable accommodation, may participate by
use of electronic communication or telephone communication in accordance with the process
(4) The governor's commission on disabilities is authorized and directed to:
(i) establish rules and regulations for determining whether a member of a public body is
not otherwise able to participate in meetings of that public body without the use of electronic
communication or telephone communication as a reasonable accommodation due to that
(ii) grant a waiver that allows a member to participate by electronic communication or
telephone communication only if the member's disability would prevent him/her from being
physically present at the meeting location, and the use of such communication is the only
reasonable accommodation; and
(iii) any waiver decisions shall be a matter of public record.
(c) This chapter shall not apply to proceedings of the judicial branch of state government
or probate court or municipal court proceedings in any city or town.
(d) This chapter shall not prohibit the removal of any person who willfully disrupts a
meeting to the extent that orderly conduct of the meeting is seriously compromised.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.