EMERGENCY ALERT:

As the COVID-19 virus has become a global pandemic and a serious threat to the health and welfare of our state’s population, the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified), chapter 92F, HRS, was temporarily suspended and the Sunshine Law, part I of chapter 92, HRS, substantially suspended by the Supplemental Memorandum of Governor Ige dated March 16, 2020, to give government the maximum flexibility to focus its attention and personnel resources on directly addressing the immediate situation at hand.  When the situation is stabilized and there is proper leeway to re-direct those resources, the suspension of these laws will be lifted.

In the meantime, OIP is not accepting new cases until clarification of its authority to do so is received or the Supplementary Proclamation is terminated.  Moreover, in accordance with the Governor’s emergency directives and the State’s social distancing efforts to keep the community and government employees safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis, OIP is operating via teleworking and with a reduced staff physically in its office until further notice.  OIP will continue to operate during its normal weekday business hours from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but will not accept walk-ins for requests for advice at its office.  OIP still has an assigned Attorney of the Day to respond to Sunshine Law and UIPA questions, which should preferably be submitted by email to [email protected].  OIP is also responding to telephone inquiries, but the staffing adjustments may make phone calls more likely to go to voice mail and take longer to be returned.

OIP thanks the public and government agencies for their patience and understanding during this challenging time.  OIP urges government agencies and boards to also do what they can to keep the public informed and, to the extent possible, allow for remote participation at public meetings using technology, such as livestreaming, teleconferencing, or other forms of online virtual meetings.  Mahalo, everyone and stay healthy.


ALOHA!

Welcome to the website of the Office of Information Practices (OIP), whose mission is
 “ensuring open government while protecting individual privacy.”

OIP administers two laws to promote open and transparent government in Hawai’i:

  1. the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA), HRS Chapter 92F, which requires open access to government records, and
  2. the Sunshine Law, part I of HRS Chapter 92, which requires open public meetings.

 

Both laws are intended to open up governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation by requiring government business to be conducted as transparently as possible, while balancing personal privacy rights guaranteed under the Hawaii State Constitution.

OIP provides uniform interpretation, advice, and training on these laws to nearly all of Hawaii’s state and county agencies and boards and to the general public.  OIP renders advice and assistance on questions concerning the public’s right to access to government records or meetings, and also provides training to help agencies comply with the laws.  Although the public has the right to go to court without having to involve OIP, it is not necessary to hire attorneys or observe judicial formalities to obtain OIP’s assistance, and OIP’s free and informal proceedings are not subject to the contested case procedures of HRS Chapter 91.

To explain the open government laws’ requirements, OIP has training tools and guides readily available on this website.  Training materials and OIP’s annual reports are posted on this website and there are links to other open government agencies around the world.  In the What’s New section, OIP regularly provides updates on its activities and has links to open government news from around the world.  To begin or stop receiving OIP’s e-mailed What’s New updates, please e-mail [email protected].

Through OIP’s Attorney of the Day service, members of the public or government agencies can e-mail [email protected] or call (808) 586-1400 to receive (usually within 24 hours) general, non-binding advice regarding the UIPA or Sunshine Law.  If further action is necessary, OIP may conduct an investigation.  When access to a public record has been denied by a government agency, the requester may file an appeal with OIP.  OIP also renders formal or informal opinions, which are enforceable by the courts.  OIP’s opinions, including a searchable subject matter index for UIPA opinions, and a searchable subject matter index for Sunshine Law opinions, can be found on this website, along with the lawsrules, and various forms.

In addition to the UIPA and Sunshine Law, OIP administers the Records Report System (RRS), a computerized database (without the actual records) describing the more than 29,000 record titles of the various types of government records maintained by state and county agencies that may be available for public access.  OIP also trains and assists agencies to use the UIPA Record Request Log and uploads their Log summaries to the State’s centralized website at data.hawaii.gov.

Through this website, you have access to a wealth of open government information and OIP is able to cost-effectively and efficiently share the knowledge of its experienced staff members to encourage greater awareness of and compliance with Hawaii’s UIPA and Sunshine Law.  For an overview of the website’s features, click on this link.  Thank you for visiting OIP’s website and we hope that you will find most of the answers to your open government questions here.

If you require an auxiliary aid or accommodation due to a disability, please contact (808) 586-1400 or e-mail [email protected].  OIP will strive to return your initial call or e-mail by the end of the next business day.