§ 23-24.2-4. Regulation of flammable fabrics.
(a) Whenever the director finds on the basis of the investigations or research conducted pursuant to § 23-24.2-11 that a new or amended flammability standard or other regulation, including labeling, for a fabric, related material, or product may be needed to protect the public against unreasonable risk of the occurrence of fire leading to death or personal injury, or significant property damage, he or she shall institute proceedings for the determination of an appropriate flammability standard (including conditions and manner of testing) or other regulation or amendment to it for the fabric, related material, or product, so that state standards on those products are in conformity with or more stringent than federal regulations.
(b) Each standard, regulation, or amendment to it promulgated pursuant to this section shall be based on findings that the standard, regulation, or amendment to it is needed to adequately protect the public against unreasonable risk of the occurrence of fire leading to death, injury, or significant property damage, is reasonable, technologically practicable, and appropriate, is limited to those fabrics, related materials, or products which have been determined to present unreasonable risks, is in conformity with any federal regulations on those products, and shall be stated in objective terms. Each standard, regulation, or amendment to it, shall become effective twelve (12) months from the date on which the standard, regulation, or amendment is promulgated, unless the director finds for good cause shown that an earlier or later effective date is in the public interest and publishes the reason for that finding. Each standard or regulation or amendment to it shall exempt fabrics, related materials, or products in inventory or with the trade as of the date on which the standard, regulation, or amendment to it, becomes effective; except that, if the director finds that this fabric, related material, or product is so highly flammable as to be dangerous when used by consumers for the purpose for which it is intended, he or she may under any conditions as the director may prescribe, withdraw or limit the exemption for the fabric, related material, or product.
(c) The director may obtain from any person by regulation or subpoena issued pursuant to it any information in the form of testimony, books, records, or other writings as is pertinent to the findings or determinations which he or she is required or authorized to make pursuant to this chapter. All information reported to or obtained by the director or his or her representative pursuant to this subsection, which information contains or is related to trade secrets, processes, operations, style of work, or apparatus, or to identity, confidential statistical data, amount or source of income, profits, losses or expenditures of any person, shall be considered confidential; except that the information may be disclosed to other officers or employees concerned with carrying out this chapter or when relevant in any proceeding under this chapter. Nothing in this section shall authorize the withholding of information by the director or any officer or employee under his or her control, from the duly authorized committees of the general assembly.
(d) The provisions of chapter 35 of title 42 shall apply to the issuance of all standards or regulations or amendments to it under this section.
(e)(1) Any person, who will be adversely affected by any standard or regulation or amendment to it when it is effective, may, at any time prior to the sixtieth (60th) day after the standard or regulation or amendment to it is issued, file a petition with the Rhode Island superior court for the county where that person resides or transacts business or, if that person is a nonresident or has no principal place of business within this state or if the superior court shall not be in session in the counties applicable as provided, may be brought in the superior court of Providence County for a judicial review of it. A copy of the petition shall be immediately transmitted by the clerk of the court to the director or other office designated by him or her for that purpose. The director then shall file in the court the record of the proceedings on which the director based the standard or regulation, as provided in § 42-35-15(a).
(2) If the petitioner applies to the court for leave to adduce additional evidence and shows to the satisfaction of the court that the additional evidence is material and that there were reasonable grounds for the failure to adduce that evidence in the proceeding before the director, the court may order that additional evidence (and evidence in rebuttal of it) to be taken before the director and to be adduced upon the hearing, in any manner and upon any terms and conditions as to the court may deem proper. The director may modify his or her findings, or make new findings, by reason of the additional evidence taken, and he or she shall file these modified or new findings, and his or her recommendations, if any, for the modification or setting aside of his or her original standard or regulation or amendment to it with the return of that additional evidence.
(3) Upon the filing of the petition referred to in subdivision (1) of this subsection, the court shall have jurisdiction to review the standard or regulation in accordance with § 42-35-15 and to grant appropriate relief as provided in this chapter.
(4) The judgment of the court affirming or setting aside, in whole or in part, this standard or regulation of the director shall be final, subject to review by the supreme court of the state of Rhode Island upon certiorari or certification as provided in § 42-35-16.
(5) Any action instituted under this subsection shall survive, notwithstanding any change in the person occupying the office of director or any vacancy in that office.
(6) The remedies provided for in this subsection shall be in addition to and not in substitution for any other remedies provided by law.
(f) A certified copy of the transcript of the record and proceedings under subsection (c) shall be furnished by the director to any interested party at his or her request, and payment of the costs of this transcript, and shall be admissible in any criminal or other proceeding arising under or in respect of this chapter, whether proceedings concerning the standard or regulation or amendment to these have previously been initiated or become final under subsection (e).
(P.L. 1977, ch. 90, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 23-38.3-4; P.L. 1979, ch. 39, § 1.)