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Government of Rhode Island

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The Government of Rhode Island is established and guarded by the Rhode Island Constitution which describes the functioning of the government. The new Rhode Island Constitution was adopted in 1843[1]. The Rhode Island Constitution divides the powers of the government into three separate and distinct departments-- the legislative, executive and judicial.

Rhode Island Executive Branch

The Executive Branch of Rhode Island consists of the Governor, who leads the executive branch of the government as the chief executive head and several executive officials as the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and General Treasurer. These officials work in coordination to ensure the smooth working of the government of the state. 

The Governor of Rhode Island is vested with the chief executive power of the state. The Governor, together with a Lieutenant Governor, is elected by the people. It is the duty of the Governor to ensure that laws are executed faithfully. The governor also serves as the Captain General and Commander in Chief of military and navy. The Governor appoints all officers of the state. The Governor also adjourns the General Assembly and convenes the special sessions of the General Assembly. 

Contact Details
Office of the Governor
82 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2080
Fax: (401) 222-8096
Website: http://www.governor.ri.gov/

Lieutenant Governor

The Lieutenant Governor takes up his respective duties when the office of the Governor is vacant due to death, impeachment, resignation, or inability to serve. The Lieutenant Governor exercises the powers and authority of the Governor until the office of the Governor is filled at the next election.

Contact details
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
82 Smith Street, Room 116
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2371
Fax: (401) 222-2012
Website: http://www.ltgov.ri.gov/


Secretary of State

Following the Governor and Lt. Governor, the Secretary of State is the state’s third ranking elected official. The Secretary of State is Rhode Island’s chief elections officer. The Secretary of State registers voters, certifies election results, prepares ballots and administers oaths of office.

Contact Details
Secretary of State
82 Smith Street,
State House, Room 217
Providence, RI 02903-1120
Phone: (401) 222-2357
Fax: (401) 222-1356
Email: secretarygorbea@sos.ri.gov
website: http://sos.ri.gov/

RI Office of the Attorney General

The Office of the Attorney General is one of the five general officers subject to election by voters. In Rhode Island the Attorney General acts as the top legal official. The duties of the Attorney General include enhancing the economic security of the state, protecting the public safety of our communities and restoring the public trust in state government by fighting corruption.

Contact Details

RI Office of the Attorney General
150 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 274-4400
Website: http://www.riag.ri.gov/

Office of the General Treasurer

The General Treasurer is responsible to receive and disburse all state funds, manage the investment of state funds issue general obligation notes and bonds, and oversee the retirement system for state employees. The Treasurer is also responsible for the management of the Unclaimed Property Division, the state-sponsored CollegeBoundfund and the Crime Victim Compensation Program.

Contact Details
Office of the General Treasurer
82 Smith Street, Room 102
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2397
Fax: (401) 222-6140
Website: http://www.treasury.ri.gov/

Rhode Island Legislative Branch


General Assembly

According to the Constitution of Rhode Island the legislative power is vested in two houses-- the Senate and the House of Representatives which together forms the General Assembly.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives is the lower house and consists of 75 members[2]. The house of representatives has the authority to elect its speaker and other officers. The senior member from the City of Newport presides in the organization of the house.

The Rhode Island Senate is the upper house and consists of 38 members[3]. The senate elects its president who presides in the senate and in grand committee. The senior member from the city of Newport presides in the organization of the senate.

Rhode Island Judicial Branch

According to the Constitution of Rhode Island, the judicial power of this state shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such other inferior courts.

Supreme Court


Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the court of final resort and has appellate jurisdiction upon all questions of law and equity in the state. The court has power to issue prerogative writs and other jurisdiction as may be required by law. The Justices of the Supreme Court hold office during good behavior.

Contact Details
Supreme Court
J. Joseph Baxter, Jr., State Court Administrator
Phone: (401) 222-3266
Website: https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SupremeCourt/Pages/default.aspx

Superior Court

The Superior Court is the forum for jury and non-jury trials of both civil and criminal matters. The court is comprised of 22 judges and 5 magistrates. The court has original jurisdiction in all felony proceedings. The court also hears agency, Probate Court appeals and zoning board among others.

Contact Details
Licht Judicial Complex
250 Benefit Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Joseph V. Conley, Administrator
Phone: (401) 222-3215

Family Court

 Family Court
The Family Court focuses on special attention on individual and social problems concerning families and children. The court looks after the protection and restoration of families whose unity or well being is threatened. It also supervises the decision on divorce, alimony, property, support and custody of children. The court has jurisdiction over laws in cases of delinquent, dependent, abused, wayward, neglected, and mentally deficient or mentally disordered children. 


Contact Details
Office of Domestic Relations – Divorce, Custody: (401) 458-3200
Office of Juvenile Justice – Juvenile Matters, Adoptions: (401) 458-3290
Reciprocal/Bookkeeping - Child Support, Preparation of cases for Court: (401) 458-3100

District Court

The District Court has the legal power in civil actions at law in which the amount in dispute is less than $5,000. Additionally, the court has original jurisdiction with the Superior Court of all civil actions at law in which the amount in dispute is more than $5,000 and does not exceed $10,000.

Workers' Compensation Court

The Workers' Compensation court is part of the Rhode Island Unified Court System. The court is responsible to hear and decide all disputes between an injured employee and an employer relating to workers' compensation benefits.

Contact Details
J. Joseph Garrahy Judicial Complex
1 Dorrance Plaza
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Phone: (401) 458-5000

Traffic Tribunal Court

The Traffic Tribunal is part of the Rhode Island unified court system. It is comprised of a Chief Magistrate, an Administrative Magistrate, three Associate Judges, and three Magistrates. The Traffic Tribunal has the legal power on civil traffic offenses committed in the state.

Contact Details
Chief Magistrate: (401) 275-2801

Rhode Island Taxation

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation administers the tax laws in the state. Tax laws in the state include personal income tax, employer Taxes, sales/Use, motor fuels, cigarette/tobacco products among others.

Contact Details
Rhode Island Division of Taxation
One Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: (401) 574-8941
Website: http://www.tax.ri.gov/

  • Corporate Taxes, Bank Taxes, Insurance (Gross Premium and Surplus Line): (401) 574-8935
  • Electronic Filings of Personal Income Tax: (401) 574-8829
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Program (Business Taxes): (401) 574-8484
  • Employer Taxes (unemployment or TDI): (401) 574-8700
  • Estate Tax Questions: (401) 574-8900
  • Field Audit: (401) 574-8962
  • Forms: (401) 574-8970
  • Non-Resident Withholding on the Sale of Real Estate or Withholding Tax: (401) 574-8829
  • Office of Audit and Discovery: (401) 574-8756
  • Personal Income Tax - Taxpayer Assistance: (401) 574-8829
  • Sales/Use; Motor Fuels; Cigarette/Tobacco Products: (401) 574-8955
  • Tax Administrator: (401) 574-8922
  • Tax Administrator - Assistant: (401) 574-8922
  • Taxpayer Assistance and Research: (401) 574-8829

Rhode Island State Departments

In Rhode Island various state departments operate to ensure progress and development of the state. These departments work smoothly in coordination for the better function of the government. Some of the main state departments of Rhode Island are the following:

Rhode Island Department of Education


Rhode Island Education

The Rhode Island Department of Education looks after the entire system of education in the state. The Board of Education sets policy affecting elementary and secondary education in Rhode Island. The board exercises its authority to ensure that all students receive the best educational opportunities for enhancing academic success.

Contact Details
255 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-222-4600
Website: http://www.ride.ri.gov/

Rhode Island Department of Transportation

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation constructs, maintains and designs the state's surface transportation system. The department serves as the steward of a statewide multimodal transportation network comprising of 3,300 lane miles of roadway, five rail stations, 1,154 bridges, and more than 60 miles of bike and pedestrian paths.

Contact Details
Two Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2450
Fax: (401) 222-3905
Website: http://www.dot.ri.gov/

Rhode Island Department of Health

The Rhode Island Department of Health looks after the healthcare of the people of the state. The department is responsible to prevent disease and protect and promote the health and safety of the people of Rhode Island.

Contact Details
Rhode Island Department of Health
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: 401-222-5960
Website: http://www.health.ri.gov/

Rhode Island Division of Agriculture

The Rhode Island Division of Agriculture works to promote, sustain, and enhance Rhode Island's agricultural viability.

Contact Details
Rhode Island Division of Agriculture
235 Promenade St.
Room 370
Providence, RI
Phone: 02908-5767
Website: www.dem.ri.gov

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

The RI Department of Labor and Training provides workforce security, workforce development, and workforce protection to the workers, employers and citizens of the state. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers.

Contact Details
RI Department of Labor and Training
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-8000
Fax (401) 462-8872
Website: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/

Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation

The Department of Business Regulation implements states laws mandating the regulation and licensing of designated businesses, occupations, professions, and other specified activities.

Contact Details
Department of Business Regulation
1511 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-9500
Fax: (401) 462-9532
Website: http://www.dbr.state.ri.us/



References:

  1. Rhode Island Constitution
  2. House of Representatives
  3. Senate
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