§ 40-6-12. Records as to assistance.
(a) All records pertaining to the administration of public assistance pursuant to this chapter and chapter 8 of this title are hereby declared to constitute confidential matter. It shall be unlawful for any person to make use of, or cause to be used, any information contained in records for purposes not directly connected with the administration thereof, except with the consent of the individual concerned.
(b) The director of the department shall have the power to establish rules and regulations governing the custody, use, and preservation of the records, papers, files, and communications dealing with the administration of public assistance. The rules and regulations shall have the same force and effect as law. The records shall be produced in response to subpoena duces tecum properly issued by any federal or state court; provided, however, that the purpose for which the subpoena is sought is directly connected with the administration of public assistance. No subpoena shall be issued by a court asking either for the records, or for persons having custody or access to the records, unless the litigation involved in such matters is directly connected with the administration of public assistance.
(c) Any person who by law is entitled to a list of individuals receiving any of the assistance as provided in this section, shall not publish or cause to be published the list except by the express consent of the director of the department, or to make use thereof for purposes not directly connected with the administration thereof. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section, or the lawful rules and regulations made pursuant to this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars ($200) or shall be imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit the director of the department, or his or her agents duly authorized for that purpose, from issuing any statistical material or data, or publishing or causing the data to be published whenever he or she shall deem it to be in the public interest. The director of the department may inquire into the records of any state department or agency in the course of his or her administration of public assistance.
(P.L. 1987, ch. 118, art. 13, § 2; P.L. 1997, ch. 326, § 127; P.L. 2006, ch. 216, § 17.)