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Monday, April 4, 2022

Our Shoreline Rights are under attack.

Anonymous shoreline owners trying to kill bill affirming your constititutional rights

By Scott Keeley 

Photo courtesy of Scott Keeley
A form of this article originally appeared in the Westerly Sun.

Please contact your state representative in support of H8055 and your rights to the Rhode Island Shore. 

The Shoreline Access Study Commission was made up of representatives from both sides of the issue, studied both sides of the issue over the past year, and has come up with a fair compromise in the bill H8055.

The Rhode Island Constitution gives citizens the right to the privileges of the shore. A few of those privileges are listed in the constitution after the phrase “including but not limited to…” 

A new bill, H8055, protects our rights to our shoreline. The bill does not expand our rights.

It only clarifies that we indeed have rights under the Rhode Island Constitution and designates a location where those rights exist by clarifying the definition of the term “Shore.”

But Rhode Island residents beware! 

The bill is under threat by privately secured legal groups hired by anonymous shoreline-property owners. 

You may hear that the property owners are concerned for the safety of the public and that they would be liable if someone were hurt on what they like to call “their beach.” 

You may also hear them say that Rhode Island taxpayers will have to compensate them for “their beach” if the state lets people use the shore. 

You may also hear that if a beach chair is placed on the shore, a keg party will soon follow. 

These arguments are meritless. 

Shoreline property owners are not liable for public safety as we exercise our constitutional rights. 

The Rhode Island Constitution addresses the takings clause, and they will not win in court. So, your tax dollars are safe.  

Forbidding Rhode Island residents to sit on the shore will lead directly to private beaches statewide. 

Contact your state representative now and ask for her or his support for H8055

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the bill on Tuesday, April 5 at 4:30 PM. You can send the Committee an e-mail at

You can watch the hearing at