What Type of Government Does Rhode Island Have?


Quick Answer

Rhode Island's form of government is modeled after the constitution-based federal republic type of government of the United States, where power is delegated into three separate branches: executive, legislative and judicial. Rhode Island, formally known as the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, derives its political structure and functions from its present-day Constitution, which was ratified in 1986 through a Constitutional Convention held in Providence, the state's capital city.

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Full Answer

The governor is the head of Rhode Island's executive branch. Along with the lieutenant governor, the officers are chosen by the people through an electoral process. The governor serves as captain general and commander-in-chief of the state's armed forces. The power to appoint state officers is also vested in the governor, provided there is approval from the state senate.

Rhode Island's bicameral legislature, referred to as the general assembly, is divided into the state's Senate and House of Representatives. As of 2003, Rhode Island's Senate comprises 38 senators while its House of Representatives is composed of 75 members. The legislative branch is empowered to enact laws that fall within the provisions of the Rhode Island Constitution.

The highest court in Rhode Island is the supreme court. This body functions as the court of last resort in terms of reviewing or overturning the decisions of lower courts.

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