Government of Rhode Island

The government of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is prescribed from a multitude of sources; the main sources are the Rhode Island Constitution, the General Laws, and executive orders. The governmental structure is modeled on the Government of the United States in having three branches: executive, legislative,and judicial.

Rhode Island State House Top AD
The State House in Providence is the seat of power for the state, and is often referred to as "Smith Hill".


Pursuant to Articles VI, VII, and VIII of the Rhode Island Constitution, the legislature is vested in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The General Assembly is bicameral, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Senate Chamber

The House of Representatives has a total of 75 members currently. The House of Representatives holds the only Libertarian Party elected state legislator in the United States. The Senate has 38 members. The General Assembly meets in the State House.

Executive branch

The state elects a governor, a lieutenant governor, a secretary of state, a General Treasurer, and an attorney general. The governor appoints a Sheriff, who, unlike most other sheriffs, has statewide jurisdiction. The governor appoints many officers to act as commissioners, directors, or other officers.

The executive authority is vested in the governor, typically through various directors and commissioners. The lieutenant governor, though nominally in the executive branch, is a largely ceremonial position. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected on separate tickets by the electorate of Rhode Island. The governor's offices are located in the State House. Rhode Island is one of the few states that lacks a governor's mansion.

Departments and agencies

Rhode Island government has numerous departments, agencies, and divisions. The major ones are:

Judicial branch

The judicial branch of the state government consists of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the lower courts, which consist of the Superior Court, Family Court, District Court, Workers' Compensation Court and the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.

External links

Falstaff Brewing Corporation

The Falstaff Brewing Corporation was a major American brewery located in St. Louis, Missouri. With roots in the 1838 Lemp Brewery of St. Louis, the company was renamed after the Shakespearean character Sir John Falstaff in 1903. Production peaked in 1965 with 7,010,218 barrels brewed, and then dropped 70% in the next 10 years. While its smaller labels linger on today, its main label Falstaff Beer went out of production in 2005. The rights to the brand are currently owned by Pabst Brewing Company.

Governor of Rhode Island

The Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is the head of the executive branch of the Government of Rhode Island and serves as commander-in-chief of the State's Army National Guard and Air National Guard. The current governor is Gina Raimondo.

HealthSource RI

HealthSource RI is the health insurance marketplace for the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The marketplace enables people and small businesses to purchase health insurance, many at federally subsidized rates. The marketplace's web site also allows people to sign up for Medicaid, the health care program for the poor.

As of February 8, 2014, 16,512 people had signed up for private health insurance through HealthSource RI, and 107 small businesses had enrolled 658 employees and dependents. An additional 35,821 people had signed up for Medicaid.On February 4, 2015, Richard Salit of the Providence Journal wrote that 27,000 2014 enrollees may owe money to the IRS because they may have received too large of a subsidy.

List of Rhode Island state symbols

The following is a list of symbols of the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

List of governors of Rhode Island

The Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is the head of the executive branch of the Government of Rhode Island and serves as commander-in-chief of the State's Army National Guard and Air National Guard. The current governor is Gina Raimondo.

List of municipalities in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a state located in the Northeastern United States. According to the 2010 United States Census, Rhode Island is the 8th least populous state with 1,052,567 inhabitants and the smallest by land area spanning 1,033.81 square miles (2,677.6 km2) of land.

It is divided into 39 incorporated municipalities, including 8 cities and 31 towns, grouped into 5 historical counties that have no municipal functions as the state has no county level of government. The entire area of the state is governed by town administrations except for areas within the boundaries of cities.Municipalities in Rhode Island can incorporate as a town or city by a special act of the state legislature and there is no minimum population requirement. Eight municipalities were re-incorporated as cities operating under a charter, while the other 31 remain as towns which perform similar services. Since Rhode Island has no county level of government, cities and towns provide services commonly performed by county governments in other states. The state's cities and towns may adopt one of four forms of government: council–manager, mayor–council, town council–town meeting, or administrator–council. The primary difference between these forms of government is how the chief executive is selected. The Council–manager system involves an elected council who exercise overall control of the local government and a chief executive termed city or town manager who is generally appointed by and responsible to the council for the administration of local policies. Council–manager systems may elect a mayor but they have no formal administrative functions with the potential exception of a degree of veto power. Mayor–council systems have a similarly elected council however the mayor is elected and yields administrative power. In the town council–town meeting system, there is no full-time chief executive. There are no towns or cities in Rhode Island that use the administrator–council form of government.

The largest municipality by population in Rhode Island is the state capital of Providence, with 178,042 residents. The smallest municipality by population is New Shoreham on Block Island, with 1,051 year-round residents. The largest municipality by land area is Coventry which spans 59.05 sq mi (152.9 km2), while Central Falls is the smallest at 1.20 sq mi (3.1 km2). Rhode Island and Hawaii are the only two states in which all of the incorporated municipalities have a population greater than 1,000 people.

Luther v. Borden

Luther v. Borden, 48 U.S. (7 How.) 1 (1849),[1] was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States established the political question doctrine in controversies arising under the Guarantee Clause of Article Four of the United States Constitution (Art. IV, § 4).

Martin Luther was part of the Dorr Rebellion, an attempt to overthrow the charter government of Rhode Island that had stymied the efforts of those who wished to broaden the voting rights of state residents. The rebellion began as a political effort but turned violent. Martin Luther was arrested by Luther M. Borden, a state official, who searched his home and allegedly damaged his property. Luther contended that the charter government was not "republican" in nature because it restricted the electorate to only the most propertied classes; because Article Four states that "the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government," Luther argued that the Supreme Court should find that Borden acted without proper authority. In doing so, the Court would necessarily find that the "Dorrite" alternative republican government was the lawful government of Rhode Island, superseding the charter government.

Political party strength in Rhode Island

The following table indicates the party of elected officials in the U.S. state of Rhode Island:


Lieutenant Governor

Secretary of State

Attorney General

State TreasurerThe table also indicates the historical party composition in the:

State Senate

State House of Representatives

State delegation to the U.S. Senate

State delegation to the U.S. House of RepresentativesFor years in which a presidential election was held, the table indicates which party's candidate received the state's electoral votes.

The parties are as follows: Anti-Administration (AA), Country (C), Democratic (D), Democratic-Republican (DR), Federalist (F), Independent (I), Law and Order (LO), no party (N), Native American (NA), National Republican (NR), Pro-Administration (PA), Prohibition (P), People's Party (Reb), Republican (R), Unionist (U), and Whig (W).

For a particular year, the noted partisan composition is that which either took office during that year or which maintained the office throughout the entire year. Only changes made outside of regularly scheduled elections are noted as affecting the partisan composition during a particular year. Shading is determined by the final result of any mid-cycle changes in partisan affiliation.

President of the Rhode Island Senate

President of the Rhode Island Senate is the presiding officer of the Rhode Island Senate. Unlike most other states, the Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island does not preside of the state senate. Instead, the lieutenant governor has roles in "emergency preparedness and homeland security".

The role of president was established in 2003. Rhode Island Constitution provides that the lieutenant governor would no longer preside over the Senate in 2003, and power would be transferred to a president elected by senators . The first elected president is Joseph A. Montalbano, a Democrat from North Providence.

Rhode Island Commodore

Rhode Island Commodore, formally Commodore of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is Rhode Island's highest honor, and an honorary title bestowed upon individuals by approval of the Governor of Rhode Island. It is not a military rank, requires no duties, and carries with it no pay or other compensation. However, the Rhode Island Commodores are organized as a non-profit, non-partisan organization with the purpose "to assist and stimulate economic enterprise within Rhode Island by direct action through education, economic promotion, and hospitality."

Rhode Island Department of Administration

The Rhode Island Department of Administration, RIDOA, is a department level agency of the Government of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island General Assembly

The State of Rhode Island General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. A bicameral body, it is composed of the lower Rhode Island House of Representatives with 75 representatives, and the upper Rhode Island Senate with 38 senators. Members are elected in the general election immediately preceding the beginning of the term or in special elections called to fill vacancies. There are no term limits for either chamber. The last General Assembly election took place November 6, 2018.The General Assembly meets at the Rhode Island State House on the border of Downtown and Smith Hill in Providence. Smith Hill is sometimes used as a metonym for the Rhode Island General Assembly.

Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab

The Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL) is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Office of the Governor of Rhode Island and researchers at Brown University. The lab’s mission is to help state agencies design evidence-based policies that improve the quality of life for Rhode Islanders.RIIPL examines current Rhode Island policies, and works with government partners to design and rigorously evaluate new programs that deliver better social outcomes at a lower cost. The lab is directed by Dr. Justine Hastings, Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs at Brown University and Faculty Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Rhode Island Lottery

The Rhode Island Lottery (or The Lot) is run by the government of Rhode Island. The modern form of the Rhode Island Lottery was inaugurated in 1974, following a constitutional amendment passed in 1973. It is a charter member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). Rhode Island Lottery games include Mega Millions, Powerball, Wild Money, keno, and scratch tickets. Rhode Island also offers video lottery, which includes the multi-jurisdictional MegaHits game.

The minimum age to play the Rhode Island Lottery is 18.

Rhode Island Senate

The Rhode Island Senate is the upper house of the Rhode Island General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Rhode Island, the lower house being the Rhode Island House of Representatives. It is composed of 38 Senators, each of whom is elected to a two-year term. Rhode Island is one of the 14 states where its upper house serves at a two-year cycle, rather than the normal four-year term as in the majority of states. There is no limit to the number of terms that a Senator may serve. The Rhode Island Senate meets at the Rhode Island State Capitol in Providence.

Like other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to executive departments, commissions and boards and Justices to the Rhode Island Judiciary.

Rhode Island State House

The Rhode Island State House is the capitol of the state of Rhode Island, located on the border of the Downtown and Smith Hill sections of Providence. It is a neoclassical building which houses the Rhode Island General Assembly and the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and general treasurer of Rhode Island. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Solar power in Rhode Island

Solar power in Rhode Island has become economical due to new technological improvements and a variety of regulatory actions and financial incentives, particularly a 30% federal tax credit, available through 2016, for any size project. A typical residential installation could pay for itself in utility bill savings in 14 years, and generate a profit for the remainder of its 25 year life. Larger systems, from 10 kW to 5 MW, receive a feed-in tariff of up to 33.45¢/kWh.Due to the state's small size and comparatively low insolation, solar installations are limited to predominantly rooftop and megawatt scale installations. Approximately 23% of electricity used in Rhode Island could be provided from rooftop solar panels.

White Horse Tavern (Newport, Rhode Island)

The White Horse Tavern was constructed before 1673 and is believed to be the oldest tavern building in the United States. It is located on the corner of Farewell and Marlborough streets in Newport, Rhode Island.

Federal district
Insular areas
Current members of the Rhode Island State Senate

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