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Rhode Island. State Council of Defense. (1941-1973) | State Archives Catalog

Name: Rhode Island. State Council of Defense. (1941-1973)

Historical Note: The Rhode Island State Council of Defense was created in 1941 per Rhode Island Public Law Chapter 990 entitled “AN ACT RELATING TO NATIONAL AND STATE DEFENSE, PROIVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATE COUNCIL OF DEFENSE AND OF LOCAL AND DISTRICT COUNCILS OF DEFENSE, AND PRESCRIBING TH EPOWERS AND DUTIES THEREOF.”  The Council consisted of 11 members and the Governor served as chairman.  The Governor was empowered, through proclamation, to authorize  and dissolve the activities of the council as needed.  The council had the power to adopt rules; cooperate with the National Council, other states’ councils and local councils; investigate and make reports; form committees and direct cooperative actions.  The role of the Council was re-established and duties further expanded by 1950 Public Law Chapter 2641 entitled “AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE SAFETY OF THE STATE DURING THE EXISTENCE OF AN EMERGENCY RESULTING FROM WAR, THREAT OF WAR, DISASTER OR FROM HOSTILE ACTION.”  In 1973 the many functions of the Council were appropriated by the Rhode Island National Guard per Rhode Island Public Law Chapter 67 “AN ACT ESTABLISHING A STATE DISASTER AGENCY.”  This act establishes the state emergency management agency (EMA) with the Adjutant General as executive head of the agency.

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