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.
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 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.
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:
- Department of Corrections
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Administration
- Department of Public Safety
- Department of Health
- Department of Revenue
- Division of Motor Vehicles
- Division of Taxation
- Department of Environmental Management
- Department of Children, Youths, and Families
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.