2011 -- H 5375 AS AMENDED
A N A C T
RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY - CEMETERIES
Introduced By: Representatives Tanzi, Lally, Walsh, Kennedy, and Ehrhardt
Date Introduced: February 15, 2011
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 23-18-10.1, 23-18-11.2 and 23-18-13 of the General Laws in
Chapter 23-18, entitled “Cemeteries,” are hereby amended to read as follows:
23-18-10.1. Registering historical cemeteries. -- In addition to the records and indexes
now required to be maintained by every recorder of deeds in all cities and towns, the recorder of
deeds in every city and town shall
record with an
appropriate symbol maintain a register of all
historical cemeteries located within the city or town
shall register these historical cemeteries on an official tax plat or similar instrument used by
that city or town to record all plats or parcels of land. The symbol shall be established by the . The tax
assessor of each city or town shall note the location of each historical cemetery so registered on
the appropriate tax assessor’s map with a symbol consisting of the letters “CEM” inside a rectangle.
23-18-11.2. Regulation of excavation - Removal and transfer of graves and
cemeteries - Penalties. -- (a) The city or town council of any municipality may by ordinance
prescribe standards, in addition to those required by section 23-18-10, regulating the excavation,
removal, and transfer of any graves, grave sites, and cemeteries in the municipality so as to
provide an accurate record of any such activity and to insure that any remains removed are
properly re-interred and the location of the new interment is recorded. In the absence of a local
ordinance establishing standards, regulations adopted by the
Commission on Historical Cemeteries (Chapter 18.3 of this title),
after providing an opportunity for interested parties to be heard,
historical preservation and heritage commission shall govern. A report
grave removal and relocation from one cemetery or burial ground to another shall be filed in the
clerk's office for each municipality and shall, to the extent permitted by law, be available for
public inspection. In instances where there is a headstone or other burial marker identifying the
original grave, the headstone or burial marker shall be erected on the site to which any remains
(b) To the extent not promulgated pursuant to section 23-3-5.1, the state registrar of vital
records shall promulgate regulations to establish a system of record-keeping to allow descendants
to locate their ancestors’ graves in
(c) Any person convicted of violating this section shall be subject to a fine of not more
two hundred fifty dollars ($250) one
thousand dollars ($1,000) and such fine shall be deemed
civil in nature and not a criminal penalty.
(d) The provisions of this section shall be considered to be in addition to any other
penalties provided for desecration or vandalism to cemeteries.
Notification of state archaeologist. -- Notification
of historical preservation
and heritage commission. -- The
archaeologist historical preservation and heritage
commission shall be notified whenever an ancient burial place contains or is suspected to contain
the remains of one or more
American Indians persons.
SECTION 2. Chapter 23-18.3-1, 23-18.3-2, 23-18.3-3 and 23-18.3-4 of the General Laws
in Chapter 23-18.3 entitled “Advisory Commission on Historical Cemeteries” are hereby
amended as follows:
23-18.3-1. Establishment – Purpose – Membership – Compensation. -- (a) There is
created a permanent advisory commission to study the location, condition, and inventory of
historical cemeteries in
to the general
relative to historical cemeteries in
(b) The commission
shall consist of
fourteen (14) eighteen (18) members, all
shall be citizens and residents of this state. One shall be the director of veterans' cemeteries or his
or her designee.
(c) One shall be the executive
director of the Rhode Island
and heritage commission
or his or her designee.
(d) One shall be the director of the
Historical Society or his or her
(e) One shall
be a representative of the
League of Cities and Towns to be appointed by the governor, who shall serve for one year.
One shall be the state registrar of vital records, or his or her designee.
The governor, in
consultation with and upon the recommendation of local historical or preservation societies
within each county, shall appoint
ten (10) thirteen
(13) members of the general public consisting
of two (2) representatives from
County, two (2) representatives from
County, and four (4) representatives from
(c) Beginning on
September 1, 2011, one representative from
August 31, 2012, one representative from Kent County,
one representative from
County, and two (2) representatives from
year terms to expire August 31, 2013, and one
serve three (3) year terms to expire August 31, 2014. Thereafter, each county representative shall
be appointed for a three (3) year term. County representatives shall serve until their successors are
appointed. Vacancies shall be filled by the authority making the original appointment.
(d) The members shall annually elect a
chairperson, a vice chairperson, and a secretary
of the commission. The secretary need not be a
member of the commission.
Any vacancy shall be filled by the authority making the original appointment.
(e) Members of the commission shall serve without compensation.
Eleven (11) members A simple majority of the commission shall
constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business.
speaker of the house shall make available suitable quarters for commission meetings. Meetings may be called upon reasonable
notice by the chairperson.
23-18.3-3. Rules and regulations. -- The commission shall adopt reasonable rules and
regulations in compliance with the open meetings law
its operations and procedure to carry out the purposes of this chapter to govern the conduct of its meetings and the
accomplishment of its purposes under this chapter.
Commission report. --
The Annually, the commission shall report its
and recommendations to the general assembly, to the governor, and to the historical preservation
and heritage commission
on or before January 15 of each year.
SECTION 3. Chapter 34-11 of the General Laws, entitled “Form and Effect of
Conveyances,” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
34-11-1.5. Historical cemeteries. -- Every deed presented for recording a transfer in
ownership of property that has located on it a historical cemetery registered pursuant to section
23-18-10.1 shall have endorsed upon the deed, in capital letters, a notation that a historical
cemetery is located on the property. Failure to comply with this section shall not effect the
validity of any deed.
SECTION 4. Chapter 44-3 of the General Laws entitled “Property Subject to Taxation” is
hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
44-3-63. Historical cemeteries. -- City and town councils are authorized to provide by
ordinance an abatement from taxation for any real property on which is located a historical
cemetery registered pursuant to section 23-18-10.1 and to provide by ordinance for full or partial
reimbursement of expenses incurred in repairing and maintaining such historical cemeteries,
including walls or fences surrounding such cemeteries.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon passage.