§ 8-16-4.1. Subpoena powers of commission.
The members of the commission are hereby severally authorized and empowered to administer oaths; and the commission, in all cases of every nature pending before it, is hereby authorized and empowered to summon and examine witnesses and to compel the production and examination of papers, books, accounts, documents, records, certificates, and other legal evidence that may be necessary or proper for the determination and decision of any question before or the discharge of any duty required by law of the commission. All subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum shall be signed by the chairperson or, in the absence or disqualification of the chairperson, by any other member thereof, shall be served as subpoenas are now served in civil cases in the superior court; and witnesses so subpoenaed shall be entitled to the same fees for attendance and travel as are now provided for witnesses in civil cases in the superior court. If any person fails to obey the command of any such subpoena without reasonable cause, or if a person in attendance before the commission shall, without reasonable cause, refuse to be sworn, or to be examined, or to answer a legal and pertinent question, the commission may apply to any justice of the superior court, upon proof by affidavit of the fact, for a rule or order, returnable in not less than two (2) or more than five (5) days, directing the person to show cause why he or she should not be adjudged in contempt. Upon the return of the order, the justice before whom the matter is brought for a hearing shall examine under oath the person and such person shall be given an opportunity to be heard, and if the justice shall determine that the person has refused without reasonable cause or legal excuse to be examined, or to answer a legal and pertinent question, or to produce books, accounts, papers, records, and documents material to the issue which he or she was ordered to bring or produce, he or she may forthwith commit the person to the adult correctional institutions, there to remain until he or she submits to do the act which he or she was so required to do, or is discharged according to law. If an application for contempt pursuant to this section relates to the actions of a witness at a public hearing, then the papers filed with and proceedings before the court shall be open to the public; otherwise, such papers and proceedings shall be confidential.
(P.L. 1976, ch. 312, § 2; P.L. 1987, ch. 492, § 1.)