S Memo 14-9Posted on Nov 6, 2013 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law
S Memo 14-9
November 6, 2013
Notice and Agenda; Identification Requirement
Requester asked for an investigation into whether the Board of Health (“BOH”) violated the Sunshine Law by (1) stating on its agenda that no public testimony would be accepted, (2) not providing the street address of the meeting location, and (3) requiring a member of the public who wished to attend the meeting to leave identification with a security guard.
OIP found that the agenda statement that public testimony would not be accepted was contrary to the Sunshine Law’s requirement that a board accept testimony from all interested persons at every meeting. See HRS § 92-3 (2012). However, OIP noted that according to BOH the statement was included by mistake, which BOH attempted to rectify by sending a correction to members of the public on its mailing list.
In this specific instance, BOH’s failure to include the street address of the meeting location did not violate the Sunshine Law’s requirement that a notice include the place of the meeting. The notice did include the building name, Kinau Hale, and room number and in this instance the building name is well enough known that OIP finds that the public could still reasonably determine the meeting location. OIP would recommend inclusion of the Kinau Hale street address as a good practice, however, and notes that BOH has stated that the address was left off of the notice by accident and will be included in future notices.
Requiring a member of the public to leave identification with a security guard to attend the meeting was in violation of the Sunshine Law’s requirement that “all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting. . . .” HRS § 92-3. OIP noted that BOH has stated that it will ensure future meetings are held in publicly accessible meeting rooms.