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Making Public Records Requests

Members of the public requesting access to records from state and municipal agencies may find it helpful to consult available records retention schedules. They govern records disposition—facilitating the management and timely disposal of records, or their retention as permanent records.

  • General Records Schedules cover the types of records created or received by all state and local government agencies.
  • Agency Specific Schedules govern the retention and disposition of records unique to a particular state agency’s programs and functions.
  • Municipal Records Schedules cover local government agencies.

Retention periods shown in all schedules are minimum retention periods.  Agencies may need to retain records longer, most notably if the records may be required for a current or pending request under the Access to Public Records Act or for current or pending litigation.

Before records are destroyed, agencies must submit Certificates of Records Destruction to the State Archives and Public Records Administration in the Department of State.  Certificates of Records Destruction authorize the disposal of records and act as the legal replacement for the actual records subsequently destroyed.

Members of the public may also wish to consult resources on the Records Laws page, which includes extracts from Rhode Island General Laws concerning agencies’ recordkeeping responsibilities.

Please note that the Department of State does not have jurisdiction over the Access to Public Records Act.  Questions concerning the APRA should be directed to the Office of the Attorney General.