Title 23
Health and Safety

Chapter 18

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-18-10

§ 23-18-10. City and town regulation of burial grounds.

(a) The city or town council of any city or town may prohibit burials in the compact or thickly-populated parts of the city or town, and may make any bylaws and ordinances relating to burials and the use of grounds for burials in the city or town that it may think necessary for preserving the health of the city or town, and as necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, and may enforce the ordinances in the manner provided in chapter 18 of this title.

(b) The town councils of the towns of East Greenwich and Smithfield and the city councils of the cities of East Providence, Warwick, Cranston, and Woonsocket, after having prevented further burials in those parts of their towns or cities as provided in subsection (a), may order, in accordance with this chapter, the owner of the burial ground so prohibited, and in the interest of public welfare, to cause to be removed the cadavers or remains of any persons buried in the burial ground, and transferred to and interred in some other cemetery within the state, the removal and interment to be under the direction of a qualified funeral director and with the approval of the nearest of kin of the deceased and at the expense of the owner of the land.

(c) No cadaver or remains shall be removed unless the owner of the land shall give notice by certified mail to the nearest of kin known to him or her, and by advertising in one or more daily newspapers having circulation within the town or city at least once a week for three (3) successive weeks. In the event there shall be no nearest of kin known to the owner or that the nearest of kin shall neglect or refuse to approve the removal and interment, the city or town shall cause the cadavers or remains to be removed, transferred, and interred in any other cemetery in accordance with the laws, rules, and regulations of the religious denomination, if any shall be known or ascertained, to which the deceased subscribed.

History of Section.
G.L. 1896, ch. 91, § 18; G.L. 1909, ch. 107, § 18; G.L. 1923, ch. 119, § 18; G.L. 1938, ch. 601, § 17; G.L. 1956, § 23-18-10; R.P.L. 1957, ch. 147, § 1; P.L. 1958, ch. 96, § 1; P.L. 1958, ch. 107, § 1; P.L. 1959, ch. 182, § 1; P.L. 1966, ch. 38, § 1; P.L. 1968, ch. 252, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 542, § 48; P.L. 1993, ch. 45, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 86, § 72.