We, the people of this State which state shall henceforth be known as the state of Rhode Island, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of government.





Section 1.  Power vested in governor.


The chief executive power of this state shall be vested in a governor, who, together with a lieutenant governor, shall be elected by the people.


Section 2.  Faithful execution of laws.

The governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.


Section 3. Captain general and commander in chief of military and navy.


The governor shall be captain general and commander in chief of the military and naval forces of this state, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States.


Section 4. Reprieves.


The governor shall have power to grant reprieves, after conviction, in all cases, except those of impeachment, until the end of the next session of the general assembly.


Section 5.  Powers of appointment.


The governor shall, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appoint all officers of the state whose appointment is not herein otherwise provided for and all members of any board, commission or other state or quasi-public entity which exercises executive power under the laws of this state; but the general assembly may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they deem proper, in the governor, or within their respective departments in the other general officers, the judiciary or in the heads of  departments.


Section 6.  Adjournment of general assembly.

In case of disagreement between the two houses of the general assembly, respecting the time or place of adjournment, certified by either, the governor may adjourn them to such time and place as the governor shall think proper; provided, that the time of adjournment shall not be extended beyond the day of the next stated  session.


Section 7. Convening of special sessions of the general assembly.


The governor may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the general assembly at any town or city in this state, at any time not provided for by law; and in case of danger from the prevalence of epidemic or contagious disease, in the place in which the general assembly is by law to meet, or to which it may have been adjourned, or for other urgent reasons, the governor may by proclamation convene said assembly at any other place within this state.

Section 8. Commissions.

All commissions shall be in the name and by authority of the State of Rhode Island; shall be sealed with the state seal, signed by the governor, and attested by the secretary.


Section 9.  Vacancy in office of governor.

If the office of the governor shall be vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment or inability to serve, the lieutenant governor shall fill the office of governor, and exercise the powers and authority appertaining thereto, until a governor is qualified to act, or until the office is filled at the next election.


Section 10. Vacancies in both offices of governor and lieutenant governor.

If the offices of governor and lieutenant governor be both vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, or inability to serve, the speaker of the house of representatives shall in like manner fill the office of governor during such vacancy.


Section 11. Compensation of governor and lieutenant governor.

The compensation of the governor and lieutenant governor shall be established by law, and shall not be diminished during the term for which they are elected.


Section 12. Powers and duties of secretary, attorney-general, and general treasurer.

The duties and powers of the secretary, attorney-general and general treasurer shall be the same under this Constitution as are now established, or as from time to time may be prescribed by law.


Section 13. Pardons.


The governor, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall hereafter exclusively exercise the pardoning power, except in cases of impeachment, to the same extent as such power is now exercised by the general assembly.


Section 14. Veto power of governor — Veto overrides by general assembly — Acts effective without action by governor.

Every bill, resolution, or vote (except such as relate to adjournment, the organization or conduct of either or both houses of the general assembly, and resolutions proposing amendment to the Constitution) which shall have passed both houses of the general assembly shall be presented to the governor. If the governor approve it the governor shall sign it, and thereupon it shall become operative, but if the governor does not approve it the governor shall return it, accompanied by the governor’s objections in writing to the house in which it originated, which shall enter the governor’s objections in full upon its journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, three-fifths of the members present and voting in that house shall vote to pass the measure, it shall be sent with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by three-fifths of the members present and voting in that house, it shall become operative in the same manner as if the governor had approved it, but in such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by ayes and nays and the names of the members voting for and against the measure shall be entered upon the journal of each house, respectively. If the measure shall not be returned by the governor within six days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to the governor the same shall become operative unless the general assembly, by adjournment, prevents its return, in which case it shall become operative unless transmitted by the governor to the secretary of state, with the governor’s disapproval in writing within ten days after such adjournment.


Section 15.  State budget.


The governor shall prepare and present to the general assembly an annual, consolidated operating and capital improvement state budget.


Section 16. Limitation on state spending.

(a)                                   No appropriation, supplemental appropriation or budget act shall cause the aggregate state general revenue appropriations enacted in any given fiscal year to exceed ninety-seven percent (97%) of the estimated state general revenues for such fiscal year from all sources, including estimated unencumbered general revenues to the new fiscal year remaining at the end of the previous fiscal year. Estimated unencumbered general revenues are calculated by taking the estimated general revenue cash balance at the end of the fiscal year less estimated revenue anticipation bonds or notes, estimated general revenue encumbrances, estimated continuing general revenue appropriations and the amount of the budget reserve account at the end of said fiscal year.

(b)                                   The amount between the applicable percentage in (a) and one hundred percent (100%) of the estimated state general revenue for any fiscal year as estimated in accordance with subsection (a) of this section shall be appropriated in any given fiscal year into the budget reserve account; provided, however, that no such payment will be made which would increase the total of the budget reserve account to more than five percent (5%) of only the estimated state general revenues as set by subsection (a) of this section. In the event that the payment to be made into the budget reserve account would increase the amount in said account to more than five percent (5%) of estimated state general revenues that said amount shall be transferred to the Rhode Island Capital Plan fund to be used solely for funding capital projects.

(c)                                   Within forty-five (45) days after the close of any fiscal year, all unencumbered general revenue in the year end surplus account from the said fiscal year shall be transferred to the general fund.


Section 17.  Budget reserve account.

There is hereby established a budget reserve account within the general fund. Revenues in this budget reserve account may be appropriated in the event of an emergency involving the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the state of Rhode Island or in the event of an unanticipated deficit in any given fiscal year, such appropriations to be approved by a majority vote of each house of the general assembly.