Growth And Success In The Ocean State

SOS headshot NellieSecretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea

Spring is often associated with a period of growth. Seeds are planted early in the season in anticipation of a bountiful harvest. For entrepreneurs, the beginning stages of creating a business are crucial and can determine their growth and success.

The Rhode Island Department of State is working to help Rhode Island businesses start and thrive by providing information that is relevant to their needs. More than 70,000 limited liability companies and for-profit and non-profit corporations are currently registered with the Department of State.

From January 1, 2016, to March 31, 2016, 2,204 new business entities registered with the Department of State. This is an increase of 27.7 percent over the fourth quarter of 2015, when 1,725 registered; and a 6.1 percent increase from Q1 2015 when 2,077 new businesses registered.

As we continue along this path of growth and opportunity, it is important for all Rhode Islanders, including our business community, to feel confident about investing in our state.

I often see and hear firsthand the concerns of business leaders as they consider growth opportunities in our state. One issue that is often raised is the operations of government and the ability to work with public officials in an open manner.

“Confidence in our government comes from the knowledge that our state is run efficiently and ethically”

Confidence in our government comes from the knowledge that our state is run efficiently and ethically, and that the rules of engagement are clear. That is why I have introduced legislation that will clarify, streamline and strengthen our state’s lobbying statutes.

Currently, there are separate statutes that address lobbying in the executive branch and the legislative branch. From competing definitions of what constitutes the act of lobbying to convoluted reporting requirements, the existing statutes are cumbersome and confusing. When I first took office, I heard repeatedly from constituents, lawmakers and lobbyists that our existing lobbying statutes are difficult to interpret and to comply with.

My Lobby Reform legislation provides much clearer definitions and bright line distinctions, so those involved can more easily determine who does and does not have to register. It also provides for a clear process to investigate possible violations of the lobbying law, including referral to Superior Court in certain instances.

In sum, the bill that I’m proposing does not attempt to over-regulate lobbyist engagement with executive and legislative branch officials. The new statute offers a pragmatic approach that builds off of the spirit and intent of the original statutes, but with needed new checks and balances. By improving these laws, we are not only taking an important step forward in terms of transparency and governance, we are sending a clear message to Rhode Island’s citizens and business community that government can operate in a clear and accountable way.

Whether you are a new entrepreneur or an established small business, the Department of State’s Business Services Division is here to help. You can reach us by calling (401) 222-3040, emailing us at or visiting our office at 148 West River Street. Please feel free to contact me directly with any thoughts or suggestions at or visit our newly redesigned website We look forward to working with you to grow your business in Rhode Island.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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