November 25, 2014, 6:45 pm
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General Information About Rhode Island Public Records and Laws
In Rhone Island, public records are available under state and federal guidelines. The Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act was put into place to give individuals a better view of the actions of its government. The Act, which is a part of Rhode Island Statutory Code, Chapter 38-2 provides information on what is considered a public record as well as how those records are made accessible to the public. Individuals have the legal right to request this information.
 
What Is a Public Record?
 
Not all information contained or held by a government body is thought to be publically available. Rather, Rhode Island public records are those documents, recordings, audios or other material that is available to the general public. This information includes all records kept or maintained, created by or otherwise in possession by any government body. In most situations, this law states that all information, including laws and regulations, communications and details in relation to the government's actions is to be accessible by the public.
 
Some information is specifically listed as non-public. This information is often sensitive to individuals. It is, in most cases, information that contains private information. This is information protected specifically under federal or state laws. It includes the following types of information.
 
·         All government records that could jeopardize the actions of the government or the people if it was revealed, such as emergency preparedness plans.
·         All medical records for individuals.
·         All student records including any identifiable information or information on prospective students
·         Information regarding medical records completed at autopsy, except for providing to law enforcement or prosecutors
·         Information considered to be trade secrets
·         Any information that is otherwise considered to be private in one capacity or another.
 
In addition, a court may elect to restrict access to some information if it is determined to be sensitive in nature, such as juvenile court records, sexual court records or information related to government officials working under cover.
 
Obtaining Public Records
 
Rhode Island public records are available upon request. Individuals will need to make a formal, written request to the agency in charge of the documents or information. In some cases, this information is readily available at the time requested. In other instances, it can take several days to create. However, the general public must have access to view or copy files as needed.
 
To obtain public record copies, individuals can visit the location where they are stored. In addition, some agencies have moved material online to make it easier to obtain. Third parties also offer some information. The following are some of the most sought after public records and the agencies that manage them.
 
·         Vital statistics are available through the State Department of Health.
·         The Attorney General's Office provides business and nonprofit related information.
·         Available criminal records are through the Department of Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Identification.
 
All Rhode Island public records must serve a purpose and may not be used illegally or with an intent to harm or stalk another.
Rhode Island Public Records
  • Corporation, LLC, LP, LLP, Fictitious Name

    Corporations Division
    148 W. River Street
    Providence, RI 02904-2615
    p (401) 222-3040
    f (401) 222-1309
  • Driver Records

    Driving Record Clerk, Operator Control
    30 Howard Ave, Bldg #58
    Cranston, RI 029202920
    p (401) 462-0800
  • GED Certificates

    GED Testing
    255 Westminster
    Providence, RI 029082908
    p (401) 222-8948
    f (401) 222-4256
  • Governor

    State House, Room115
    Providence, RI 02903-1196
    p (401) 222-2080
    f (401) 222-8096
  • Sales Tax Registrations

    Sales & Use Tax Office
    One Capitol Hill
    Providence, RI 02908-5800
    p (401) 222-2937
    f (401) 222-6288
  • Trademarks/Servicemarks

    Trademark Section
    148 W River St
    Providence, RI 02904-2615
    p (401) 222-1487
    f (401) 222-3879
  • Uniform Commercial Code

    Secretary of State
    148 River St
    Providence, RI 02904-2615
    p (401) 222-3040
    f (401) 222-3879
  • Vehicle Ownership & Registration

    Vehicle Records
    100 Main Street
    Pawtucket, RI 028602860
    p (401) 462-4368
    f (401) 721-2697
  • Vessel Ownership & Registration

    Boat Registration & Licensing
    235 Promenade, Rm 360
    Providence, RI 029082908
    p (401) 222-6647
    f (401) 222-1181
  • Voter Registration

    Elections Division
    148 West River Street
    Providence, RI 02904-2615
    p (401) 222-2340
    f (401) 222-1440
  • Workers' Compensation Records

    Division of Workers' Compensation
    PO Box 20190
    Cranston, RI 029202920
    p (401) 462-8100
    f (401) 462-8105

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