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State House, Room 38
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-3983
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Public Information Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a state board or a commission?

Our database includes the members of every board and commission's board of directors, the term of their appointment and who made the appointment. For those with a yen for public service, our database can also be used to identify opportunities to serve on a state board or commission.

Who can appoint members to a board or a commission?

It depends upon the law, resolution or executive order that created it. Generally, the Governor makes appointments, which sometimes require the advice and consent of the state Senate. A few municipalities also can appoint members to a small number of boards and commissions.

How accurate is the information in this database? How often is it updated?

This database is only as accurate as the information we receive from the appointing authorities for the boards and commissions. Under state law, the Office of the Secretary of State is only a filing agency. State law does not give us the authority to enforce compliance or to change the information stored in our database until the appropriate appointing authority provides us with official notification. When we are made aware that information may be out-of-date, we notify the appointing authority.

Do appointees have to file with the Secretary of State?

Yes. State law, requires anyone who is elected or appointed to office to file a certificate of engagement with us within 30 days.

Why are there people with expired terms still listed in the database?

State law often allows people to serve until replaced even if the term of their appointment has expired. In other cases, it may be because we have not received official notification of a new appointment.

If there are no members listed for a specific board or commission is it still active?

Yes, a board or commission can still be active even if there are no members listed. In most cases, it may be because we have not received official notification of the appointments.

Why are appointments from past administrations listed?

Appointments from past administrations are listed because we have not received official notification of new appointments or new appointments have not been made.

How can I determine how many appointments an official has made?

The best way is to conduct a search of the official's name. For example, if you want to see how many appointments the Governor has made, enter the Governor's last name into the "Enter search term" box. Then select the "Names and titles" search option. Finally, click on "Submit Query." You will get a list of all the boards and commissions to which that Governor has made appointments.

When or how does a board or commission end?

A board or commission ends when the law, resolution or executive order that creates it states that it ends, or if no date is set, when a subsequent law or executive order ends it.

How can I see a copy of the law, resolution or executive order that created a board or commission?

We post that information for most state boards and commissions. First, search for the board or commission that you want to know more about. Then open the board or commission's page in our database. Next to the board or commission's name is the word "Authority" followed by a series of numbers, which is actually a link to the law, resolution or executive order that created it. Click on the series of numbers to see the law, resolution or executive order.

How can I find information about a board or commission that has expired?

The files for expired boards and commissions are preserved at our State Archives.

When I look at the resolution for some boards and commissions, there is no member information. Why?

When a board or commission expires, it might be extended by another resolution. Unfortunately, the new resolution may not give the full text of the original resolution. You can find the original at www.rilin.state.ri.us. Once you are there follow these steps:

  1. Select “Legislative” from the navigation menu near the top of the page.
  2. Under the title “Public Laws, Acts and Resolves” near the bottom of the page, select the appropriate year based on the text of the new resolution.
  3. Under “Resolution,” select “Subject.”
  4. Select the appropriate resolution based on the text of the new resolution.