Posted on Nov 18, 1992 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 92-22
November 18, 1992
Register of Blind Persons

[OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-03 partially overrules this opinion to the extent that it states or implies that the UIPA’s privacy exception in section 92F-13(1), HRS, either prohibits public disclosure or mandates confidentiality.]

The State Departments of Taxation (DOTAX) and Health (DOH) cannot disclose information about blind individuals’ visual impairment, birthdate, and ethnicity to the State Department of Human Services for its register of blind persons. The DOTAX income tax return records and certain DOH health records that contain this information are confidential under specific confidentiality statutes, and also under the UIPA’s “clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy” exception.

The OIP concluded that the applicable confidentiality statutes supersede section 92F-19, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which, under certain circumstances, permits inter-agency disclosure of confidential records. The OIP also found that under the federal Buckley Amendment, the Department of Education would likely jeopardize its receipt of federal funding if it discloses information identifying blind students.

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