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Contact Us

Public Information
State House, Room 38
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-3983
Fax: (401) 222-1404
TTY: 711

Email

Open to the public
Monday-Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Public Information Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who needs to file meeting notices and agendas with the Secretary of State?
A: State Law requires all public bodies to file meeting notices and agendas electronically with us. Notice of regularly scheduled meetings must be filed at the beginning of each calendar year and supplemental meeting notices must be filed at least 48 hours before the date of the meeting, in most cases.

Q: Who needs to file meeting minutes?
A.  Only decision-making public bodies within the executive branch of state government and all decision-making state public boards, agencies and corporations, are required to electronically file meeting minutes with us. Meeting minutes must be filed no more than 35 days after a meeting. Public bodies that are advisory in nature are exempt from the requirement.

Q: What happens if a meeting notice is not filed at least 48 hours prior to a meeting?
A: Most meetings held without at least 48-hours notice will not comply with state law. Emergency meetings may be held with less than 48-hours notice under certain circumstances.

Q: Can a public body hold a meeting without filing electronically with the Secretary of State, if they have posted in two other locations?
A: State law requires public bodies to electronically file a meeting notice with us prior to every meeting, even emergency meetings.

Q: If a public body posts its notice in two locations, but fails to complete the electronic filing due to malfunctions in their system or in the Secretary of State’s system, can the meeting be held?
A: If your system is down, you can file from any computer that has access to the Internet. If you believe there is a malfunction with the Secretary of State’s Open Meeting filing page, call us at 222-3983 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Q: What happens if I forget to post a meeting notice in time; can I post it after the meeting has taken place?
A: Our system will not accept meeting notices filed after the scheduled date of the meeting.

Q: I posted the wrong information for a meeting. Can the Secretary of State change it?
A: We cannot add, edit or remove notices or meeting minutes once they are posted on our Open Meetings page. If the meeting has not occurred and you can comply with all the other provisions of the Open Meetings Act, you can filed an amended notice with us.

Q: I marked a meeting as an Annual Calendar meeting. Now I can’t post meeting minutes or an amendment to the notice. What do I do?
A: Call us at 222-3983 and the designation can be changed for the meeting.

Q: What if there are third party documents that I want to file with the meeting
minutes?
A: Third party documents or exhibits will not be accepted. When uploading meeting minutes to your Open Meetings page, you will be able to check a box indicating that third party attachments to the original meeting minutes exist on file with the public body. Once you indicate that there are additional attachments to the minutes, you will have to indicate the location of the attachments and their availability for public viewing.

Q: Can the Secretary of State accept a hard copy of the filings (meeting notices and
minutes) in lieu of an electronic filing?
A: No, state law requires these documents to be filed electronically.