With numerous amendments to the state’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA) taking effect on September 1st, the Rhode Island ACLU today has published a brochure advising people of their rights under the statute. The brochure is posted on the Affiliate’s website, along with information explaining in detail how people can go about requesting records from public bodies under the revised law.
The amendments approved this year to strengthen APRA followed years of negotiation between open government groups, law enforcement, and the Attorney General’s office. While technology has advanced, making the release of public documents much simpler, APRA had not been updated in more than a dozen years and had loopholes that were exploited by some government agencies. As a result, Rhode Islanders had a comparatively weak tool for holding their government accountable.
The revised law makes significant improvements in expanding the types of records that are available to the public, eases the procedures for making requests for records, requires training of public information officers, and holds public bodies more accountable for violations of the law.
Additional information about open government issues is available here.