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Rhode Island Ethics Commission Procedural Regulations

Preliminary Review of Information
Filing of Complaint
Limitations Period on Filing Complaint
Limitation on Pre-election Complaints
Review of Complaint
Initial Determination of Complaint
Investigation of Complaint
Filing a Response
Finding of Probable Cause
Amendment of the Complaint by the Commission
Discovery
Subpoena
Taking of Oral or Written Evidence Under Oath
Informal Disposition
Prehearing Motions
Continuances
Scheduling of Hearings
Commission Deliberations
Hearing to Determine Violation of the Code of Ethics
Rules of Evidence; Standard of Proof
Issuance of Decision
Quorum Requirement
Continuance for Commissioner Unavailablity
Enforcement
Request for New Hearing or Modification of Decision
Judicial Review
Procedure for Complaints Relating to Financial Disclosure
Advisory Opinions
Declaratory Ruling by Commission
Petition for Adoption of Regulations
Adoption of Commission Policy and General Commission Advisory Opinions
Commission Records
Information Voluntarily Supplied

Regulation 1000 - Preliminary Review of Information.

The Executive Director or designee may review any information which indicates a possible violation of the Rhode Island Code of Ethics with the Commission in Executive Session and may thereupon conduct a preliminary investigation. The Executive Director or designee shall report to the Commission regarding such preliminary investigation.

Regulation 1001 - Filing of Complaint.

(a) The Rhode Island Ethics Commission shall investigate allegations of violation of the Rhode Island Code of Ethics. The Commission may proceed to investigate allegations of violations by:

(1) accepting any information which indicates a possible violation of the Rhode Island Code of Ethics. The Executive Director or designee shall be responsible for the review and processing of such information in order to determine whether to conduct a preliminary investigation which may form the basis of a Commission Complaint, which the Commission may file on its own initiative.

(2) accepting the filing of a Complaint by any person, business, state or municipal agency, or any other public body, which alleges a violation of the Code of Ethics. Such Complaint should be signed under oath and should set forth the name of the person who has allegedly violated the Code of Ethics, and should state in detail the specific acts which form the basis of the Complaint. Any such Complaint filed with the Commission should be made on a form provided by the Commission at no cost to the Complainant.

(b) Any Complaint filed with the Commission and all documents in the Commission's official Complaint file relating to such Complaint shall be a public record, except as provided in subparagraph (c) of this Regulation.

(c) All documents or other material related to the investigation of the Complaint, including but not limited to records of counsel and investigators, and interviews of witnesses, whether written or recorded by other means, shall remain confidential, provided that nothing herein shall prohibit the Commission from granting access to the above-described investigative documents or materials to law enforcement agencies.

(d) Any person or entity which files such Complaint is not a party in interest to any action taken by the Commission. The people of the State of Rhode Island and the Respondent shall be the parties in interest. Notice by a Complainant that he or she wishes to withdraw a Complaint shall in no way affect the continuing jurisdiction of the Commission over the Complaint.

Regulation 1001.1 - Limitations Period on Filing of Complaint. (Adopted June 4, 2013)

Any Complaint shall be filed with the Ethics Commission no later than six (6) years from the date of the alleged violation of the Rhode Island Code of Ethics.

Regulation 1001.2 - Limitation on Pre-election Complaints. (Adopted July 19, 2016)

The Ethics Commission shall not accept any complaint against an individual who has filed a valid declaration of candidacy for elective office, during the period of time beginning ninety (90) days prior to the general or special election in which the individual is a candidate, and ending the day after the election. Provided, however, that this restriction shall not apply to investigations or complaints initiated by the Ethics Commission.

Regulation 1002 - Review of Complaint.

(a) Any Complaint filed shall be reviewed as to form. If the Complaint is defective as to form, it shall be returned to the Complainant for correction. If it is not returned to the Commission by the Complainant within twenty (20) days of mailing by the Commission, the Complaint shall not be processed as filed.

(1) Notwithstanding subparagraph (a) of this Regulation, if the Executive Director or designee determines that the facts stated in a defective Complaint are sufficient to allege a violation of the Code of Ethics, the Executive Director or designee may initiate a preliminary investigation, regardless of any defects as to form, or the failure of the Complainant to refile the Complaint.

(2) If the Complaint contains no defect as to form, it shall be reviewed by the Executive Director or designee to determine whether or not the Complaint alleges facts sufficient to constitute a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics, who shall forward the Complaint to the Commission for review at an initial determination.

(b) Subsequent to receipt of a Complaint in proper form, within three (3) working days, the Complainant and Respondent shall be mailed a copy of the Complaint, Notification of Receipt of Complaint, and a copy of the Code of Ethics and any Regulations promulgated thereto.

Regulation 1003 - Initial Determination of Complaint.

(a) At the initial determination, the Commissioners must review the complaint and decide whether or not the facts alleged, if true, are sufficient to constitute a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics. The Commissioners will not review any additional information or engage in any fact finding. The Commissioners are to examine the alleged facts within the four (4) corners of the complaint, without making any judgment as to credibility or examination of any collateral information.

(b) If the Commission determines that the Complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to constitute a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics, the Complaint shall be dismissed and the Respondent and Complainant shall be mailed a written notification of the dismissal within three (3) working days.

(c) If the Commission determines that the Complaint alleges facts sufficient to constitute a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics, the Commission shall promptly investigate the allegations contained therein. The Respondent and Complainant shall also be sent any written notification regarding such initial determination by the Commission within three (3) working days.

Regulation 1004 - Investigation of Complaint.

(a) Upon determining that the Complaint states facts sufficient to constitute a knowing and willful violation, the Commission shall have the power to investigate any and all alleged violations of the Code of Ethics. In furtherance of said investigation, the Commission shall have the power to:

(1) compel the attendance of witnesses and require the production of documentary evidence; and

(2) take oral or written evidence under oath or affirmation. Each Commissioner, the Executive Director or designee, and investigators shall have the authority and power to administer oaths and affirmations.

(b) Upon receipt of a written Complaint alleging a violation of the Code of Ethics, the Commission shall complete its investigation within one hundred eighty (180) days of receipt of the written Complaint, provided that the Commission may grant no more than two (2) extensions of sixty (60) days each, for good cause shown.

Regulation 1005 - Filing a Response.

The Respondent shall be mailed a copy of the Commission's Initial Determination that the Complaint properly alleges a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics, which will be investigated by the Commission. The Respondent shall be further notified of the right to file a response under oath within twenty (20) days of the mailing date on forms provided by the Commission.

Regulation 1006 - Finding of Probable Cause.

(a) The Executive Director or designee shall submit a written report to the Commission summarizing the results of the investigation. The Executive Director or designee may make a recommendation as to the existence or non-existence of probable cause. A copy of this written report shall be sent to the Respondent and/or counsel no less than fourteen (14) days before the scheduled hearing regarding the existence of probable cause. A copy of any report, and written response thereto, so submitted shall be made public and a part of the official Commission Complaint file, upon the issuance by the Commission of either a Finding of Probable Cause or a Dismissal of the Complaint.

(b) The Commission shall permit the Respondent and/or counsel to submit a written statement and/or to appear for the purpose of presenting arguments and/or written evidence in response to the allegations against him or her.

(c) The Commission shall consider the Complaint, any amendment thereto, the written report submitted by the Executive Director or designee, and recommendation, if any, and any response submitted by the Respondent and/or counsel, in addition to any arguments or statements made thereupon by the Executive Director or designee and the Respondent and/or counsel, in finding the existence of probable cause. The Commission shall conduct its hearing regarding probable cause in Executive Session as an investigative proceeding, pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-5(a)(4).

(1) If the Commission finds that probable cause does not exist, the Complaint shall be dismissed with prejudice and the Respondent and the Complainant, if any, shall be sent a copy of the Dismissal of the Complaint within three (3) working days of such issuance. A Complaint dismissed for lack of probable cause shall not be entertained again by the Commission unless new facts are discovered which materially add to the Complaint.

(2) If the Commission finds that probable cause exists to support the allegations of the Complaint, its findings shall state in detail such violations complained of and the manner in which they occurred. A copy of the Finding shall be mailed to the Respondent and the Complainant, if any, within three (3) working days of such issuance. The Commission shall schedule an adjudicative hearing on the matter. The Finding of Probable Cause constitutes the official Commission Complaint upon which the hearing shall be held.

Regulation 1007 - Amendment of the Complaint by the Commission.

If the investigation reveals probable cause exists to believe that violations of the Code of Ethics have been committed, other than those contained in the Complaint, the Commission may amend the Complaint to include such other violations. Any amended Complaint shall be mailed to the Respondent and Complainant, if any, within three (3) working days of such issuance. The Respondent shall have twenty (20) days from the date such amended Complaint is mailed to file a response thereto. Any action by the Commission on such amendment shall be made part of the Commission's findings.

Regulation 1008 - Discovery.

(a) No discovery between the Executive Director or designee and the Respondent shall be permitted prior to the issuance of the Commission's Finding of Probable Cause, provided, however, that this limitation on discovery shall in no way limit the authority of the Commission or staff to conduct its investigation or to subpoena required documents or witnesses as reasonably necessary. No adjudicative hearing shall be scheduled until such time as the Executive Director or designee and the Respondent and/or counsel are afforded a reasonable opportunity to conduct discovery pursuant to this Regulation.

(b) The Respondent and/or Respondent's counsel and the Executive Director or designee may request discovery only in accordance with this Regulation.

(c) Within twenty (20) days after receiving a request, the party to whom the request is directed shall furnish the requesting party with:

(1) the names, addresses and official positions, if any, of all individuals who are known to have information which is relevant to the allegations contained in the Finding of Probable Cause;

(2) a copy of all documents which are known to be relevant to the allegations contained in the Finding of Probable Cause.

(d) The obligation to provide discovery as specified in this Regulation shall be a continuing duty to disclose, and, if subsequent to compliance with the obligation to provide discovery either the Executive Director or designee or the Respondent and/or counsel discovers additional material which is subject to disclosure or has been requested under this Regulation, such disclosure shall be promptly made as required herein.

(e) If at any time during the course of the proceedings the Commission finds that the Executive Director or designee, or the Respondent and/or counsel, has failed to comply with this Regulation, it may prohibit introduction into evidence of the material or the testimony which was not disclosed.

(f) Except as provided for in this Regulation, no other discovery shall be permitted, including interrogatories, depositions or any other discovery mechanism, unless allowed by the Commission upon good cause shown.

Regulation 1009 - Subpoena.

Subject to the provisions of Regulation 1008, the Executive Director or designee, or the Respondent and/or Respondent's legal counsel, may issue a subpoena to compel the production of evidence or the attendance of witnesses regarding any matter pending before the Commission upon the filing of an affidavit detailing the specific persons or documents to be subpoenaed and their relevance to the matter at issue. Said affidavit shall be accepted and filed by the Commission staff and placed in the Commission's relevant complaint file. In addition, at the adjudicative hearing any Commission member shall be authorized to issue a subpoena.

Regulation 1010 - Taking of Oral or Written Evidence Under Oath.

Any member of the Commission shall have the authority to take oral or written evidence and administer oaths in any matter pending before the Commission.

Regulation 1011 - Informal Disposition.

(a) At any time subsequent to a finding by the Commission that the Complaint, and any amendment thereto, states a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics, the Executive Director or designee, with the concurrence of the Respondent and/or counsel, may seek an informal disposition through an agreed settlement, consent order, or other informal resolution of the pending Complaint.

(b) The Executive Director or designee may meet with the Respondent and/or counsel for an informal conference to seek such informal disposition. The informal conference shall not be transcribed or recorded and no statements made by any person at such conference shall be used as evidence in any subsequent proceeding.

(c) These Regulations shall in no way limit the resolution of any matter pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-9(d), provided that any informal disposition of a pending Complaint shall be subject to the approval of the number of Commission members otherwise required to vote in the affirmative to find a violation of the Code of Ethics. For purposes of this Regulation, any hearing conducted by the Commission to review an informal disposition, prior to its approval and issuance, shall be treated as a proceeding in Executive Session, pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-5(a)(4). The approved informal disposition of the Complaint shall become a public record.

(d) If the Complaint at issue has been filed by a Complainant, he or she shall be notified of the date upon which the Commission will consider the proposed informal disposition, shall be notified of any actions taken by the Commission regarding said informal disposition, and shall be provided with a copy of any approved informal disposition agreement and/or order.

Regulation 1012 - Prehearing Motions.

Unless good cause is shown, all prehearing motions shall be filed in writing no later than five (5) days prior to the date set for any hearing held pursuant to these Regulations. The motion shall be disposed of by order of the Commission with or without oral argument in the Commission's discretion. Nothing herein shall prevent or require the filing of a written objection to any such motion. All hearings conducted by the Commission related to any motion filed pursuant to this Regulation, subsequent to the issuance of a Finding of Probable Cause, shall be open to the public.

Regulation 1012.1 - Stenographic Recording of Commission Proceedings

(a) The respondent to any complaint pending before the Ethics Commission may, at his or her own expense, arrange for the creation of a stenographic recording of those portions of the Ethics Commission proceedings to which the respondent has a right of participation or attendance. The respondent shall provide the Ethics Commission with a transcript of any such recording.

(b) The respondent shall, not less than two (2) business days prior to the proceeding to be transcribed, provide the Ethics Commission with written notice of intent to create a stenographic record.

(c) The Commission may, at its sole option, proceed with any matter in the absence of a stenographer if any of the above conditions are not met, if the stenographer is not prepared to begin at the scheduled time, or if the Commission determines that the creation of the stenographic recording will in any way delay or interfere with the orderly conduct of the proceeding.

Regulation 1013 - Continuances.

Except in emergency cases or by agreement of counsel, any continuance shall be requested in writing stating the reasons therefore and received by the Commission at least two (2) days prior to the hearing. Oral arguments thereupon shall be within the discretion of the Commission, and the period of the continuance shall extend any time period in which the Commission may be otherwise required to act.

Regulation 1014 - Scheduling of Hearings.

Unless good cause is shown, the Respondent shall be given at least fifteen (15) days notice prior to any scheduled adjudicative hearing by the Commission. Failure by any counsel to appear must be documented on the record by proof of actual engagement in Superior or Federal Court or the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

Regulation 1014.1 -- Commission Deliberations

(a) At any hearing held in executive session pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-5 of the Open Meetings Act, the Commission may privately deliberate on the matter under consideration without the presence of any other person or party.

(b) During the private deliberations authorized by this section, if the Respondent to a pending complaint has been excluded, then the Commission shall also exclude all Commission prosecutors, investigators and other members of the Commission staff.

(c) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (b), the Commission may allow the presence of its own independent legal counsel to respond to questions of law and procedure posed by Commission members.

(d) There shall be no motions made, nor votes taken, during private deliberations.

Regulation 1015 - Hearing to Determine Violation of the Code of Ethics.

(a) Adjudicative hearings shall be conducted consistent with these Regulations. The Chair of the Commission, or the Chair's designee, shall act as the presiding officer. All hearings conducted by the Commission subsequent to the issuance of a Finding of Probable Cause shall be open to the public, except for any hearing conducted by the Commission to review an informal disposition prior to its approval and issuance, pursuant to Regulation 1011. Any such hearing shall be treated as a proceeding in Executive Session, pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-5(a)(4).

(b) The Executive Director or designee shall present the case against the Respondent.

(c) The Respondent may either represent himself or herself or appear through counsel.

(d) Unless waived by the Respondent, the presiding officer shall read aloud the Finding of Probable Cause. The Respondent shall then either admit or deny such Finding of Probable Cause.

(e) The Executive Director or designee may make an opening statement. The Respondent and/or counsel may next make an opening statement or delay such statement until the presentation of the Respondent's case.

(f) Oral evidence shall be taken only on oath or affirmation.

(g) The Executive Director or designee and the Respondent and/or counsel shall have the right to compel attendance of witnesses, to compel the production of documents, to examine witnesses and cross-examine opposing witnesses, to introduce exhibits and otherwise to present matters to the Commission relevant to the Complaint.

(h) Commission members may ask questions of each witness during the hearing.

(i) The Respondent and/or counsel may make a closing statement followed by the closing statement of the Executive Director or designee.

(j) A stenographic record shall be made of all evidentiary hearings conducted pursuant to this Regulation. If the Respondent desires a copy of the stenographic record, he or she must make arrangements with the stenographer and bear all costs. The original stenographic record shall be filed with the Commission.

Regulation 1016 - Rules of Evidence; Standard of Proof.

(a) Irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded. The rules of evidence as applied in administrative proceedings shall be followed. When necessary to ascertain facts not reasonably susceptible of proof under those rules, evidence not admissible under strict rules of evidence may be admitted, if it is of the type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs, and generally admissible in administrative proceedings.

(b) The Commission shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law. Objections to the introduction of evidence may be made and shall be noted on the record and the Commission may permit offers of proof to be made. Subject to these requirements, when a hearing will be expedited and the interests of the parties will not be substantially prejudiced, any part of the evidence may be received in written form.

(c) Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts, if the original is not readily available. Upon request, parties shall be given the opportunity to compare the copy to the original.

(d) Notice may be taken of judicially cognizable facts. The civil standard of proof, preponderance of the evidence, shall apply.

Regulation 1017 - Issuance of Decision.

(a) At the conclusion of all evidentiary hearings concerning the alleged violation, the Commission shall immediately begin deliberations on the evidence in Executive Session and proceed to determine whether there has been a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics.

(b) Legal Counsel to the Commission may not participate in the deliberations of the Commission. Counsel shall respond to questions of law posed by Commission members.

(c) In order for the Commission to issue a decision that there has been a knowing and willful violation of the Code of Ethics, it shall be necessary that a majority of members who have attended all hearings, but in no case fewer than three (3) members of the Commission, shall vote in the affirmative to so find.

(d) The written decision shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law, and shall be reviewed by all members participating in the deliberations. The decision is rendered on the date on which the presiding officer affixes his signature.

Regulation 1018 - Quorum Requirement.

For any action of the Commission to be taken by the Commission, there shall be a quorum of five (5) members present. For every two members who recuse themselves from participation in a particular hearing, the number required for quorum shall be reduced by one (1).

Regulation 1019 - Continuance for Commissioner Unavailability.

If the quorum requirements set forth in Regulation 1017 are not satisfied at any scheduled proceeding of the Commission, said proceeding shall automatically be continued to the next available hearing date when a sufficient number of Commission members will be present.

Regulation 1020 - Enforcement.

The Commission, upon a finding that there has been such a violation of the Code of Ethics, shall issue an order that may:

(a) require such violator to cease and desist such violation of the provisions of the Code of Ethics; and/or

(b) require such violator to file any report, statement, or other information as required by the Code of Ethics; and/or

(c) require such violator to pay a civil penalty of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) for each such violation of the Code of Ethics and the pecuniary value of any unjust enrichment realized by the violator as the result of his or her violation of the Code of Ethics; and/or

(d) remove such violator from office who is not subject to impeachment, provided that such removal may only occur upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of those members of the Commission participating in the issuance of the decision and order, and further, that such removal shall be conditioned upon a finding by the Commission that the conduct of the violator was a knowing, willful, wanton and reckless violation of the prohibited activities provisions of the Code of Ethics;

(e) refer the entire record of its proceedings to the Attorney General, or any appropriate law enforcement agency. Such referral shall not affect any continuing jurisdiction of the Commission over the matter.

Regulation 1021 - Request for New Hearing or Modification of Decision.

(a) A request for a new hearing or modification of a decision of the Commission may only be made by the Executive Director or designee or the Respondent and/or counsel within fourteen (14) days of the date on which the decision is mailed.

(b) Such request shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for the requested new hearing or modification of the decision. Any such request shall be handled as a priority matter by the Commission. No oral arguments shall be heard unless requested by the Commission.

(c) In order for the Commission to order a new hearing or modification of the decision, it shall be necessary that a majority of the members who attended all hearings, but in no case fewer than three (3) of said members, shall so vote.

(d) The Respondent, and Complainant, if any, shall be notified of the Commission's action regarding the request for a new hearing or modification of the decision.

(e) If a new hearing is granted, the Respondent, and Complainant, if any, shall be notified of the new hearing date. If the request is denied, appeal may be taken pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-15.

Regulation 1022 - Judicial Review.

Any final decision of the Commission may be subject to judicial review pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-15.

Regulation 1023 - Procedure for Complaints Relating to Financial Disclosure.

Complaints which solely relate to alleged violations of the Code of Ethics regarding either delinquent or deficient financial disclosure statements, shall be processed pursuant to the procedures set forth in this Regulation, unless otherwise determined by the Commission.

(a) The Commission shall adopt, by a majority vote, a schedule of fines and penalties to which a Respondent shall be subject if he or she consents to the entry of a finding of a violation for failure to file a financial disclosure statement which complies with the requirements of the Code of Ethics, in violation thereof. Such schedule shall not apply to any adjudicative hearing as described in subparagraph (e) of this Regulation.

(b) Whenever records of the Commission reveal that a person required to file a financial disclosure statement has not complied with the requirements of the Code of Ethics, the Executive Director or designee may file a Complaint against said person, accompanied by an affidavit specifying the basis upon which the Respondent is required to file such statement, and setting forth in detail any non-compliance.

(c) Upon the filing of any Complaint described above in Regulation 1023(b), a copy of the Complaint and copies of all documents supporting such Complaint shall be mailed to the Respondent by certified mail, along with a copy of the Code of Ethics, Commission Regulations, waiver of right to appear, stipulation and agreement, and the schedule of fines and penalties adopted pursuant to this Regulation.

(d) If the Respondent agrees to the waiver of his or her right to appear and pays the appropriate fine as determined by the above-described schedule, and properly files any delinquent or deficient financial disclosure statement, and stipulation and agreement, no hearing on the matter will be required.

(e) If the Respondent contests the Complaint described above in Regulation 1023(b), the Commission shall conduct a proceeding regarding probable cause, pursuant to Regulation 1006, and, should a Finding of Probable Cause issue, the Commission shall conduct a hearing thereupon, pursuant to Regulation 1015.

Regulation 1024 - Advisory Opinions.

(a) A person subject to the Code of Ethics may request an advisory opinion relative to the provisions of the Code which may affect him or her. An entity subject to the Code may request an advisory opinion relative to the provisions of the Code which may affect all members of the entity, or a majority thereof. The request shall be in writing, include a complete statement of the facts, disclose the reasons for requesting the opinion and state any time period for Commission action which may be significant. The request shall be signed by the person requesting the opinion or by his or her representative.

(b) Upon receipt of the request for an advisory opinion, the Commission shall acknowledge the request and the right to submit supporting data.

(c) The Commission shall notify the person or entity requesting the opinion of the date the Commission intends to consider the request. All requests for advisory opinions shall be considered by the Commission in Open Session.

(d) The Commission, in its discretion, may invite the person or entity requesting an opinion, counsel, or any other interested person, to make a written or oral presentation.

(e) Any advisory opinion rendered by the Commission regarding provisions of the Code of Ethics must be approved, prior to issuance, by a majority of the members of the Commission.

(f) Any advisory opinion rendered by the Commission, until amended or revoked by a majority of the Commission, shall be binding on the Commission in any subsequent proceeding concerning the person or entity who requested the opinion and who acted in reliance on it in good faith, unless material facts were omitted or misstated in the request for the opinion.

(g) Advisory opinions are based upon the representations made by, or on behalf of the person or entity requesting the opinion, and are not the result of adversary or investigative proceedings.

(h) The Commission may issue general advisory opinions and emergency advisory opinions in such form and under such circumstances as the Commission shall deem appropriate.

Regulation 1025 - Declaratory Ruling by Commission.

Any interested person may petition the Commission for a declaratory ruling as to the applicability of any provision of the Code of Ethics or of any regulation or order of the Commission. The Commission shall promptly respond to each such petition. Any ruling disposing of petitions shall have the same status as Commission orders in contested cases.

Regulation 1026 - Petition for Adoption of Regulations.

(a) Any interested person may petition the Commission for the promulgation, amendment, repeal or adoption of any regulation. The petition shall be signed by the petitioner and shall state the specific reasons for the request. The Commission shall thereafter acknowledge receipt of the petition and advise the petitioner of the right to submit supporting data.

(b) Within thirty (30) days of receipt of the petition, the Commission shall either deny the petition in writing (stating its reasons for the denial) or initiate rule-making procedures in accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-3.

(c) The Commission shall notify the petitioner of the date the Commission intends to consider the petition and may, at its discretion, invite the petitioner or other interested parties to make oral or written presentation.

Regulation 1027 - Adoption of Commission Policy and General Commission Advisory Opinions.

Final adoption of any policy or general Commission advisory opinion shall require an affirmative vote at two separate meetings of the Commission. The initial vote may occur at any public meeting of the Commission. The second or final vote shall only be taken after the proposed policy or general advisory opinion has been incorporated by specific reference on a public meeting notice relating to an open and public meeting of the Commission, thereby providing an opportunity for public comment on any proposed policy or general advisory opinion. Specifically excluded from these policies are any proposed regulations which are subject to promulgation pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-3.

Regulation 1028 - Commission Records.

(a) All Commission records, other than those referenced in R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(d) (Access to Public Records) and those relating to the investigations of complaints, shall be open to public inspection at reasonable times. Such records shall include, but are not limited to, pending Complaints and advisory opinion requests.

(b) Any person wishing to review Commission records shall be entitled to examine said information during Commission business hours and upon reasonable notice and request. Copies of such public material shall be available to all persons, subject to the payment of costs as provided in R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-4, except those costs required to be paid by the Respondent in Regulation 1015(j).

Regulation 1029 - Information Voluntarily Supplied.

(a) A public official or employee who is not required to file a financial disclosure statement pursuant to the Code of Ethics may voluntarily choose to file such statement, or any other document otherwise required, with the Commission. The Commission shall accept such documents which shall be treated in the same manner as documents received from persons required to submit them.

(b) A person subject to the Code of Ethics may choose to submit information in excess of that which is required under the Code. Such information shall be treated in the same manner as information required to be filed. The Commission will not, however, accept any document in lieu of appropriately completed forms.