Chapter 223

2013 -- H 5670 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 07/11/13





     Introduced By: Representatives O`Grady, Amore, Fellela, Messier, and Johnston

     Date Introduced: February 27, 2013


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Section 38-2-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 38-2 entitled "Access to

Public Records" is hereby amended to read as follows:


     38-2-2. Definitions. -- As used in this chapter:

      (1) "Agency" or "public body" means any executive, legislative, judicial, regulatory, or

administrative body of the state, or any political subdivision thereof; including, but not limited to,

any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, any school, fire,

or water district, or other agency of Rhode Island state or local government which exercises

governmental functions, any authority as defined in section 42-35-1(b), or any other public or

private agency, person, partnership, corporation, or business entity acting on behalf of and/or in

place of any public agency.

      (2) "Chief administrative officer" means the highest authority of the public body.

      (3) "Public business" means any matter over which the public body has supervision,

control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.

      (4) "Public record" or "public records" shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps,

books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data

processing records, computer stored data (including electronic mail messages, except specifically

for any electronic mail messages of or to elected officials with or relating to those they represent

and correspondence of or to elected officials in their official capacities) or other material

regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in

connection with the transaction of official business by any agency. For the purposes of this

chapter, the following records shall not be deemed public:

      (A) (I) (a) All records relating to a client/attorney relationship and to a doctor/patient

relationship, including all medical information relating to an individual in any files.

      (b) Personnel and other personal individually-identifiable records otherwise deemed

confidential by federal or state law or regulation, or the disclosure of which would constitute a

clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy pursuant to 5 U.S.C. section 552 et. seq.;

provided, however, with respect to employees, and employees of contractors and subcontractors

working on public works projects which are required to be listed as certified payrolls, the name,

gross salary, salary range, total cost of paid fringe benefits, gross amount received in overtime,

and any other remuneration in addition to salary, job title, job description, dates of employment

and positions held with the state, municipality, employment contract, or public works contractor

or subcontractor on public works projects work location, and/or project, business telephone

number, the city or town of residence, and date of termination shall be public. For the purposes of

this section "remuneration" shall include any payments received by an employee as a result of

termination, or otherwise leaving employment, including, but not limited to, payments for

accrued sick and/or vacation time, severance pay, or compensation paid pursuant to a contract

buy-out provision.

      (II) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, or any other provision of the general

laws to the contrary, the pension records of all persons who are either current or retired members

of any public retirement systems as well as all persons who become members of those retirement

systems after June 17, 1991 shall be open for public inspection. "Pension records" as used in this

section shall include all records containing information concerning pension and retirement

benefits of current and retired members of the retirement systems and future members of said

systems, including all records concerning retirement credits purchased and the ability of any

member of the retirement system to purchase retirement credits, but excluding all information

regarding the medical condition of any person and all information identifying the member's

designated beneficiary or beneficiaries unless and until the member's designated beneficiary or

beneficiaries have received or are receiving pension and/or retirement benefits through the

retirement system.

      (B) Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person, firm,

or corporation which is of a privileged or confidential nature.

      (C) Child custody and adoption records, records of illegitimate births, and records of

juvenile proceedings before the family court.

      (D) All records maintained by law enforcement agencies for criminal law enforcement

and all records relating to the detection and investigation of crime, including those maintained on

any individual or compiled in the course of a criminal investigation by any law enforcement

agency. Provided, however, such records shall not be deemed public only to the extent that the

disclosure of the records or information (a) could reasonably be expected to interfere with

investigations of criminal activity or with enforcement proceedings, (b) would deprive a person of

a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (c) could reasonably be expected to constitute an

unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (d) could reasonably be expected to disclose the

identity of a confidential source, including a state, local, or foreign agency or authority, or any

private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, or the information

furnished by a confidential source, (e) would disclose techniques and procedures for law

enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement

investigations or prosecutions or (f) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical

safety of any individual. Records relating to management and direction of a law enforcement

agency and records or reports reflecting the initial arrest of an adult and the charge or charges

brought against an adult shall be public.

      (E) Any records which would not be available by law or rule of court to an opposing

party in litigation.

      (F) Scientific and technological secrets and the security plans of military and law

enforcement agencies, the disclosure of which would endanger the public welfare and security.

      (G) Any records which disclose the identity of the contributor of a bona fide and lawful

charitable contribution to the public body whenever public anonymity has been requested of the

public body with respect to the contribution by the contributor.

      (H) Reports and statements of strategy or negotiation involving labor negotiations or

collective bargaining.

      (I) Reports and statements of strategy or negotiation with respect to the investment or

borrowing of public funds, until such time as those transactions are entered into.

      (J) Any minutes of a meeting of a public body which are not required to be disclosed

pursuant to chapter 46 of title 42.

      (K) Preliminary drafts, notes, impressions, memoranda, working papers, and work

products; provided, however, any documents submitted at a public meeting of a public body shall

be deemed public.

      (L) Test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used to administer a

licensing examination, examination for employment or promotion, or academic examinations;

provided, however, that a person shall have the right to review the results of his or her


      (M) Correspondence of or to elected officials with or relating to those they represent and

correspondence of or to elected officials in their official capacities.

      (N) The contents of real estate appraisals, engineering, or feasibility estimates and

evaluations made for or by an agency relative to the acquisition of property or to prospective

public supply and construction contracts, until such time as all of the property has been acquired

or all proceedings or transactions have been terminated or abandoned; provided the law of

eminent domain shall not be affected by this provision.

      (O) All tax returns.

      (P) All investigatory records of public bodies, with the exception of law enforcement

agencies, pertaining to possible violations of statute, rule, or regulation other than records of final

actions taken provided that all records prior to formal notification of violations or noncompliance

shall not be deemed to be public.

      (Q) Records of individual test scores on professional certification and licensing

examinations; provided, however, that a person shall have the right to review the results of his or

her examination.

      (R) Requests for advisory opinions until such time as the public body issues its opinion.

      (S) Records, reports, opinions, information, and statements required to be kept

confidential by federal law or regulation or state law, or rule of court.

      (T) Judicial bodies are included in the definition only in respect to their administrative

function provided that records kept pursuant to the provisions of chapter 16 of title 8 are exempt

from the operation of this chapter.

      (U) Library records which by themselves or when examined with other public records,

would reveal the identity of the library user requesting, checking out, or using any library


      (V) Printouts from TELE -- TEXT devices used by people who are deaf or hard of

hearing or speech impaired.

      (W) All records received by the insurance division of the department of business

regulation from other states, either directly or through the National Association of Insurance

Commissioners, if those records are accorded confidential treatment in that state. Nothing

contained in this title or any other provision of law shall prevent or be construed as prohibiting

the commissioner of insurance from disclosing otherwise confidential information to the

insurance department of this or any other state or country, at any time, so long as the agency or

office receiving the records agrees in writing to hold it confidential in a manner consistent with

the laws of this state.

      (X) Credit card account numbers in the possession of state or local government are

confidential and shall not be deemed public records.

      (Y) Any documentary material, answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony

provided under any subpoena issued under Rhode Island general law section 9-1.1-6.

     (Z) Any individually identifiable evaluations of public school teachers made pursuant to

state or federal law or regulation.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.



LC01501/SUB A