Title 42
State Affairs and Government

Chapter 35
Administrative Procedures

R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-1

§ 42-35-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) Except as otherwise provided herein, “agency” means a state agency, authority, board, bureau, commission, department, district, division, institution, office, officer, quasi-public agency, or other political subdivisions created by the general assembly or the governor, other than the legislature or the judiciary, that is authorized by law of this state to make rules or to determine contested cases.

(2) “Agency action” means:

(i) The whole or part of an order or rule;

(ii) The failure to issue an order or rule; or

(iii) An agency’s performing, or failing to perform, a duty, function, or activity or to make a determination required by law.

(3) “Agency head” means the individual in whom, or one or more members of the body of individuals in which, the ultimate legal authority of an agency is vested.

(4) “Agency record” means the agency rulemaking record required by § 42-35-2.3.

(5) “Contested case” means a proceeding, including but not restricted to, ratemaking, price fixing, and licensing, in which the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a specific party are required by law to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for hearing.

(6) “Electronic” means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

(7) “Electronic record” means a record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means.

(8) “Final rule” means a rule promulgated under §§ 42-35-2.6 through 42-35-2.9, an emergency rule promulgated under § 42-35-2.10, or a direct, final rule promulgated under § 42-35-2.11.

(9) “Guidance document” means a record of general applicability developed by an agency which lacks the force of law but states the agency’s current approach to, or interpretation of, law or describes how and when the agency will exercise discretionary functions. The term does not include records described in subdivisions (19)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv).

(10) “Index” means a searchable list in a record of subjects and titles with page numbers, hyperlinks, or other connectors that link each index entry to the text to which it refers.

(11) “License” includes the whole or part of any agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of permission required by law, but it does not include a license required solely for revenue purposes.

(12) “Licensing” includes the agency process respecting the grant, denial, renewal, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal, or amendment of a license.

(13) “Order” means the whole or a part of a final disposition, whether affirmative, negative, injunctive, or declaratory in form, of a contested case.

(14) “Party” means each person or agency named or admitted as a party, or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted as a party.

(15) “Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, the department of environmental management, governmental subdivision, or public or private organization of any character other than an agency.

(16) “Promulgate,” with respect to a rule, means the process of writing a new rule, or amending or repealing an existing rule. “Promulgation” has a corresponding meaning. The process of “promulgation” begins with the filing of the notice of proposed rulemaking under § 42-35-2.7 and ends upon the effective date of the rule. “Promulgate” also includes the completion of the rulemaking process for emergency rules (§ 42-35-2.10) or direct final rules (§ 42-35-2.11), if applicable.

(17) “Reasonable charge” means the lowest, customary charge for a service.

(18) “Record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(19) “Rule” means the whole or a part of an agency statement of general applicability that implements, interprets, or prescribes law or policy or the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of an agency and has the force of law. The term includes the amendment or repeal of an existing rule. The term is used interchangeably in this chapter with the term “regulation.” The term does not include:

(i) A statement that concerns only the internal management of an agency and which does not affect private rights or procedures available to the public;

(ii) An intergovernmental or interagency memorandum, directive, or communication that does not affect private rights or procedures available to the public;

(iii) An opinion of the attorney general, or an opinion of the ethics commission pursuant to § 36-14-11;

(iv) A statement that establishes criteria or guidelines to be used by the staff of an agency in performing audits, investigations, or inspections, settling commercial disputes, negotiating commercial arrangements, or defending, prosecuting, or settling cases, if disclosure of the criteria or guidelines would enable persons violating the law to avoid detection, facilitate disregard of requirements imposed by law, or give an improper advantage to persons that are in an adverse position to the state;

(v) A form developed by an agency to implement or interpret agency law or policy; or

(vi) A guidance document.

(20) “Sign” means, with present intent, to authenticate a record:

(i) To execute a tangible symbol; or

(ii) To attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.

(21) “Small business” shall have the same meanings that are provided for under 13 C.F.R., Pt. 121, as may be amended from time to time.

(22) “Small business advocate” means the person appointed by the chief executive officer of the commerce corporation as provided in § 42-64-34.

(23) “State register” means the publication required under chapter 8.2 of title 42.

(24) “Website” means a website on the internet or other similar technology or successor technology that permits the public to search a database that archives materials required to be published or exhibited by the secretary of state or an agency under this chapter.

(25) “Writing” means a record inscribed on a tangible medium. “Written” has a corresponding meaning.

History of Section.
G.L. 1956, § 42-35-1, P.L. 1962, ch. 112, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 368, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 253, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 281, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 335, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 96, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 100, § 2; P.L. 2010, ch. 88, § 2; P.L. 2010, ch. 114, § 2; P.L. 2015, ch. 141, art. 7, § 18; P.L. 2016, ch. 203, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 206, § 2.