Located in the New England Region, Rhode Island is the smallest US state by area, at approximately 1200 sq miles, and the eighth least populous state with nearly 1.1 million residents. It is the final of the original 13 Colonies and was admitted into the union on May 29, 1790. The state’s official name, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is the longest named-state in the US. Providence is both the state capital and most populous city in the state.
Rhode island contributes 4 electoral votes during Presidential elections. In terms of the state's politics, it has recently abolished capital punishment, making it the 19th state in the union to do so. The state was the 3rd in the union to legalize use of medicinal marijuana in 2011, and also passed a bill to allow for civil unions in 2011. It was also the 8th state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013. The state has one of the highest tax rates in the US, with the 7th highest property tax, and 6th highest real-estate tax rates respectively.
With a colonial base in fishing, the state’s economy heavily relies on coastal activities. Fishing, trade/embargo, and import industries are highly profitable. The state also thrives in the industries of textiles, healthcare and education, and manufacturing. Several Fortune 500 companies are based in the state including Hasboro, CVS, Citizens Financial Group, and Gtech Corporation, among others. Many prominent universities including Brown University, Johnson and Wales, New England Institute of Technology, and University of Rhode Island are present in the state.
The state government of Rhode Island is broken into three branches: the executive, judicial and legislative branch.
- The legislative branch is the Rhode Island General Assembly, broken into a House of Representatives and a Senate, with 75 representatives total.
- The executive branch features several elected positions, including a Governor, a Lieutenant Governor, a Secretary of State, a General Treasurer and an Attorney General. The Governor has the power to appoint a variety of officers who act as Commissioners and Directors, and even a Sheriff that has statewide jurisdiction. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected on separate tickets, with the Lieutenant Governor as largely a ceremonial position.
- The judicial branch of Rhode Island has a Superior Court, a Family Court, a District Court, and the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Additionally, there are courts with special, limited jurisdiction like the Workers’ Compensation Court and the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.
Employment law, medical marijuana legislation, same-sex marriage, and federal and state government agency news, are among the leading stories and news-coverage provided to visitors of the National Law Review website. Visitors can also find coverage of data breach and cybersecurity legislation, minimum wage laws, paid-sick leave, disability-law protections, and other regional news from the state of Rhode Island online.