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6/10/2024 Assembly passes Sen. Mack and Chairman Craven’s inclusive name change legislation
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Tiara Mack and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert E. Craven that would make the process of changing an individual’s name in municipal probate court more straightforward, while also updating the statute to make the language gender neutral and more inclusive.
“This update in law will provide a more inclusive and easier process for Rhode Island’s residents who wish to change their name.  The bill will also offer better protection for individuals who seek to change their name due to safety or other concerns. Nationwide attacks on the LGBTQ+ community have left many communities with little hope for state legislatures to produce bills that protect rather than harm. As our society continues to evolve to a more inclusive and diverse whole, we must update our laws to reflect these changes and show solidarity for our LGBTQ+ neighbors, which this piece of legislation does,” said Senator Mack (D-Dist. 6, Providence).
“If an individual wishes to change their name, it should be an easy and simple process and not an overly complicated endeavor.  This legislation will help relieve anxiety for applicants while also embracing an inclusive approach to support Rhode Island’s diverse population, including protections for those who may be harassed or persecuted for their gender or sexual identities and victims of domestic violence,” said Chairman Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown). 
The legislation (2024-S 2667A, 2024-H 8155A) outlines the process for a person petitioning to change their name in the probate court in the town or city where they reside.  The change of name would be granted unless the change is sought for fraudulent purposes.  The court would not have to require public notice or publication before approving the name change and it may require the individual seeking a name change to undergo a criminal history record check.
At the request of the person, the court would be able to order the records of the name change proceedings sealed, to be opened only by order of the court for good cause shown or at the request of the person, if the court finds that an open record of the person’s name change would jeopardize such person’s safety based on consideration of the risk of violence or discrimination against the person, including the person’s status as transgender or as a survivor of domestic violence.
The legislation now heads to the governor for consideration.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903