Rhode Island’s Administrative Procedure Act is found in Title 42, chapter 35 of General Laws of Rhode Islands. According to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-2, each agency should state the general course and method of operation, so that the public may obtain information. The agency should make available rules, written statements of policy, final orders decisions and opinions for public inspection and copying. Rule, order or decision is not valid against any party until it has been made available for public inspection.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-2.2 provides that each agency should maintain an official rule-making file for each proposed or adopted rule. As per R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-2.3, at the time an agency files an adopted rule with the secretary of state, agency should submit to the secretary of state a concise explanatory statement about the rule stating the reason for adopting the rule.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-3 requires an agency to give at least thirty days notice regarding adoption, amendment or repeal of any rule. Agency should afford all interested persons reasonable opportunity to submit data views, or arguments, orally or in writing. If an agency finds that an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare requires adoption of a rule upon fewer than thirty days notice and states in writing its reasons for that finding, it may proceed without prior notice or hearing or upon any abbreviated notice and hearing that it finds practicable, to adopt an emergency rule. Such rule is effective for a period of not longer than 120 days.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-4 states that agency should file in the office of the secretary of state, a certified copy of each rule adopted by it. Further, the secretary of state should keep a permanent register of the rules open to public inspection. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-5 provides that the secretary of state should publish the full text of all rules promulgated by agencies. The secretary of state should also publish the Rhode Island administrative code with full text of rules and orders.
According to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-6, any interested person may petition an agency requesting the promulgation, amendment, or repeal of any rule. Upon submission of a petition, the agency within thirty days may either deny the petition in writing or initiate rule-making proceedings.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-8 requires an agency to issue declaratory rulings for filing and prompt disposition of petitions as to the applicability of any statutory provision or of any rule or order of the agency.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-9 provides that in a contested case, the agency should afford all parties an opportunity for hearing after reasonable notice. Also, opportunity should be afforded to all parties to respond and present evidence and argument on all issues involved. Findings of fact should be based exclusively on the evidence and matters officially noticed. Further, in a contested case, informal disposition may be made by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order, or default.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-10 provides that in contested cases, irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence should be excluded. The rules of evidence as applied in civil cases in the superior courts of Rode Island may be followed. Additionally, a party may conduct cross examinations required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.
According to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-11, whenever in a contested case a majority of the officials of the agency who are to render the final decision have not heard the case or read the record, the decision should not be made until a proposal for decision is served upon the parties, and an opportunity is afforded to each party adversely affected to file exceptions and present briefs and oral argument to the officials who are to render the decision.
As per R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-12, any final order adverse to a party in a contested case should be in writing or stated in the record. Further, final order should include findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-15 provides that any person who has exhausted all administrative remedies and who is aggrieved by a final order in a contested case is entitled to judicial review. Proceedings for review are instituted by filing a complaint in the superior court of Providence County or in the superior court in the county in which the cause of action arose, or where expressly provided by the general laws, in the sixth division of the district court or family court of Providence County. Proceedings for review should be instituted within thirty days after mailing notice of the final decision of the agency.
According to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-16, any party aggrieved by a final judgment of the superior, family, or district court may, within twenty days from the date of entry of the judgment, petition the supreme court of the state of Rhode Island for a writ of certiorari to review any questions of law involved.