TITLE 22
General Assembly

CHAPTER 22-13
Auditor General

SECTION 22-13-9


§ 22-13-9 Access to executive sessions of a public agency – Access to records – Disclosure by the auditor general.

(a) Whenever a public agency goes into executive session, the auditor general or his or her designated representative shall be permitted to attend the executive session or if the auditor general or his or her designee is not in attendance at the executive session, the auditor general or his or her designee, upon written request, shall be furnished with copies of all data or materials furnished to the members of the public agency at the executive session. If the auditor general or his or her designee attends the executive session, the auditor general shall be furnished the same data in the same form and at the same time as members of the public agency.

(b) Within three (3) working days of a written request by the auditor general, the public agency shall furnish a copy, whether approved by the agency or not, of the minutes of any meeting, including any executive session of the public agency.

(c) The auditor general shall have full and unlimited access to any and all records of any public agency, in whatever form or mode the records may be, unless the auditor general's access to the records is specifically prohibited or limited by federal or state law. In no case shall any confidentiality provisions of state law be construed to restrict the auditor general's access to the records; provided, the auditor general's access to any confidential data shall not in any way change the confidential nature of the data obtained. Where an audit or investigative finding emanates from confidential data, specific confidential information will not be made public. The records shall include those in the immediate possession of a public agency as well as records which the agency itself has a right to. In the event of a dispute between the agency involved and the auditor general as to whether or not the data involved are confidential by law, the matter will be referred to the attorney general for resolution.

(d)(1) If in the course of an executive session any fact comes to the attention of the auditor general or his or her designated representative, which in his or her judgment constitutes an impropriety, irregularity, or illegal transaction, or points to the onset of an impropriety or illegal transaction, then the auditor general shall disclose that information to the joint committee on legislative services, the director of administration, and the chairperson of the public agency involved. Where the facts or the data upon which the facts are based are deemed confidential pursuant to the provisions of federal or state law, the auditor general's access to the information shall not in any way change the confidential nature of the data obtained.

(2) In the event of a dispute between the agency involved and the auditor general as to whether or not the data involved are confidential by law, the matter will be referred to the attorney general for resolution.

(e) The auditor general or his or her designated representative shall be immune from any liability to any party for claims arising out of disclosure authorized by this section.

(f) For the purposes of this section, the phrase "public agency" shall include the following: the Rhode Island industrial building authority, the Rhode Island recreational building authority, the Rhode Island economic development corporation, the Rhode Island industrial facilities corporation, the Rhode Island refunding bond authority, the Rhode Island housing and mortgage finance corporation, the Rhode Island resource recovery corporation, the Rhode Island public transit authority, the Rhode Island student loan authority, the water resources board, the Rhode Island health and educational building corporation, the Rhode Island turnpike and bridge authority, the Narragansett Bay commission, the convention center authority, their successors and assigns, and any other body corporate and politic which has been or which is subsequently created or established within this state.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1986, ch. 287, art. 22, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 129, art. 14, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 73; P.L. 2013, ch. 144, art. 7, § 5; P.L. 2015, ch. 141, art. 7, § 10.)