Posted on Jun 10, 1992 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 92-04
June 10, 1992
Petitions for Name Change

The OIP determined that neither section 574-5(e), Hawaii Revised Statutes, nor administrative rules adopted by the Lieutenant Governor, authorize the Lieutenant Governor to withhold access to all name change petitions and fact sheets under the UIPA’s exception for government records protected from disclosure by “state or federal law.”

The OIP concluded the State statute cited above made confidential only those few name change petitions that are supported by an affidavit from a prosecuting attorney showing that, for the protection of the petitioner, the publication, recordation, and reporting provisions of the State’s name change law should not be required. Based upon the UIPA’s legislative history, the OIP also found that, under the UIPA, administrative rules adopted by an agency under a general delegation of rule-making authority do not constitute a “state law” that protects records from disclosure.

However, after examining information contained in a petition for a name change, and in the fact sheet that accompanies each name change petition, the OIP concluded that these government records are protected by the UIPA’s “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy exception.” In contrast, the OIP found name change orders entered by the Lieutenant Governor must be made available for public inspection, except upon submission of an affidavit from a prosecuting attorney showing that the publication requirement of the State’s name change law should not be required.

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