§ 42-35-8. Declaratory order.
(a) A person may petition an agency for a declaratory order that interprets or applies a statute administered by the agency or states whether, or in what manner, a rule, guidance document, or order issued by the agency applies to the petitioner.
(b) An agency shall promulgate rules prescribing the form of a petition under subsection (a) and the procedure for its submission, consideration, and prompt disposition. The provisions of this chapter concerning formal, informal, or other applicable hearing procedure do not apply to an agency proceeding for a declaratory order, except to the extent provided in this section or to the extent the agency provides by rule or order.
(c) Not later than sixty (60) days after receipt of a petition under subsection (a), an agency shall issue a declaratory order in response to the petition, decline to issue the order, or schedule the matter for further consideration.
(d) If an agency declines to issue a declaratory order requested under subsection (a), it shall notify, promptly, the petitioner of its decision. The decision must be in a record and must include a brief statement of the reasons for declining. An agency decision to decline to issue a declaratory order is subject to judicial review for abuse of discretion. An agency failure to act within the applicable time under subsection (c) is subject to judicial action under § 42-35-15.
(e) If an agency issues a declaratory order, the order must contain the names of all parties to the proceeding, the facts on which it is based, and the reasons for the agency's conclusion. If an agency is authorized not to disclose certain information in its records to protect confidentiality, the agency may redact confidential information in the order. The order has the same status and binding effect as an order issued in a contested case and is subject to judicial review under § 42-35-15.
(f) An agency shall publish each currently effective declaratory order on its agency website.
(g) An agency shall maintain a current and publicly accessible index of all of its currently effective declaratory orders on its website; file the index with the secretary of state; make the index readily available for public inspection; and make available for public inspection and, for a reasonable charge, copying the full text of all declaratory orders to the extent inspection is permitted by law of this state other than this chapter. Declaratory orders are effective only if filed with the secretary of state.
(G.L. 1956, § 42-35-8; P.L. 1962, ch. 112, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 281, § 7; P.L. 2016, ch. 203, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 206, § 2.)