§ 35-21-1 Credit card payments on amounts due state and local governments.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of general law to the contrary, any department or agency as defined in chapter 1 of this title, or other unit of state or local government delineated in this section, which is required or authorized to receive or collect any payments to state government, may be authorized, but not required, to accept credit card payments of such amounts and in such manner as may be prescribed or limited by this chapter. Any such department, agency or other governmental unit receiving approval from the director of the department of administration pursuant to this chapter shall be known as an "authorized department or agency."
(b) Subject to the provisions of this chapter, the director of the department of administration shall establish procedures, in consultation with the state controller and general treasurer, by which: (i) a department, agency or other governmental unit may be approved as an authorized department or agency; (ii) specific fees, charges, taxes, tuition or other payments to state or local government may be approved for payment by credit card by an authorized department or agency; and (iii) the manner of acceptance of credit card payments is established. Factors which may be considered in making such determinations or establishing such procedures may include, but are not necessarily limited to, improved governmental cash flow, reduction of governmental overhead costs, improved governmental financial security, the benefit of increased public convenience or a combination of one or more of the foregoing.
(c) For purposes of this section, the term "credit card" shall be deemed to include credit cards, charge cards, debit cards, electronic funds transfers or similar means of automatic transmission of funds.
(d) The state controller and general treasurer are jointly authorized to enter into appropriate agreements with credit card issuers, financial institutions or other appropriate parties as needed to facilitate the acceptance of credit card payments pursuant to this chapter. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, such agreements may provide for the acceptance of credit card payments at a discount from their face amount or the payment or withholding of administrative fees from the face amount of such payments, provided such payment or discount does not exceed a commercially reasonable percentage of the face amount of such payment as may be determined by the state controller and general treasurer. Any such agreement shall provide that it may be canceled at any time, but the agreement may include provisions for a reasonable brief period of notice for cancellation.
(e) No person making any payment by credit card shall be relieved from liability for the underlying obligation except to the extent that the state realizes final payment of the underlying obligation in cash or the equivalent. If final payment is not made by the credit card issuer or other guarantor of payment in the credit card transaction, then the underlying obligation shall survive and the state shall retain all remedies for enforcement which would have applied if the credit card transaction had not occurred. No contract may modify the provisions of this subsection. This subsection, however, shall not make the underlying obligor liable for any discount or administrative fees paid to the credit card issuer or other party by the state, except with child support payments. Credit cards shall only be accepted for child support payments if a means is established to ensure that the full amount of the child support payment made by credit card is received by the recipient and that state revenue is not used to pay any fee charged by the credit card company for the child support payment.
(f) A state officer or employee who accepts a credit card payment in accordance with this section and any applicable procedures, policies, rules, or regulations of the state shall not thereby incur any personal liability for the final collection of such payments.
(g) This section shall be broadly construed to authorize, but not require, acceptance of credit card payments by authorized departments or agencies. The decision as to whether to utilize credit card payments for any particular type of payment may be made by the authorized department or agency, subject to this chapter.
(h) Credit card account numbers in the possession of a state or local government are confidential and shall not be deemed public records.
(P.L. 2003, ch. 376, art. 45, § 1.)