Quick Guide to OIP’s Administrative Rules
The Office of Information Practices (“OIP”), following public hearings, adopted administrative rules entitled “Agency Procedures and Fees for Processing Government Record Requests” to establish the procedures, time limits and fees for processing requests for government records under the UIPA.
These rules, which took effect on February 26, 1999, are set forth in Chapter 71 of Title 2 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules. The OIP was required to adopt these rules by the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified), chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“UIPA“).
Here is a quick guide to help government agencies and the public understand the rules.
Which agencies must comply with these rules?
ALL executive and legislative agencies of the State and of all counties in the State. These rules also apply to the administrative functions of the Judiciary.
When do these rules apply?
An agency must comply with these rules whenever an agency receives a request for access to a government record, either to view or obtain a copy of the record.
What are the requirements for submitting a request for access to a government record?
To make the request clear and easier to respond to, a requester should submit a “formal request” which:
- is written, or in some other form;
- provides information enabling the agency to contact the requester;
- requests either to inspect or to copy a particular government record;
- describes that government record; and
- if the requester wishes to request a waiver of search, review, and segregation fees, includes facts supporting the waiver request.
A model request form, Request to Access a Government Record, is available on this site to download and print.
What are the time limits for an agency’s response to the record request?
- Public Records: The agency has 10 business days to disclose public government records that will be disclosed in their entirety.
- Partially Public Records: For those records, parts of which will be segregated, the agency has 10 business days to provide notice. The agency then must disclose public parts of the record within 5 business days of providing notice.
- Extenuating Circumstances: When an agency’s response time is affected by extenuating circumstances, the agency must first provide written acknowledgment within 10 business days. Thereafter, the agency must provide a notice within 20 business days after receiving the request, and then disclose public parts of the record within 5 business days of providing notice. If prepayment is required or incremental disclosures are necessary, other time limitations may apply.
What must an agency’s notice state?
- Notice of Access: If an agency will be disclosing all or part of the record requested, the notice must tell the requester how the record will be made available–for example: (1) whether it will be made available for inspection or copying and where, (2) the estimated amount of fees to process the record request, (3) the amount of estimated fees the agency requires the requester to prepay, and (4) any other instructions.
- Notice of Denial: If an agency will be denying access to all or part of the record requested, the notice must inform the requester whether all or only a portion of the record will not be disclosed. The notice must also state the specific legal authorities for the agency’s denial.
- Notice of Agency Unable to Disclose: If an agency is unable to disclose a record, the notice must state the reason.
A model notice form, Notice to Requester, is available on this site to download and print.
What must an agency do when the record requested is partially confidential?
Before disclosing the public parts of the record, the agency must segregate the confidential parts. The agency’s notice must inform the requester about those parts that are not disclosed, as well as how the public parts will be made available.
What kinds of fees do the rules allow agencies to charge?
In order to process a request for access to a government record, an agency may, but need not, charge the requester the following fees, in addition to any other lawful fees:
- $2.50 per fifteen minutes or fraction thereof for searching for the record; and
- $5.00 per fifteen minutes or fraction thereof for reviewing and segregating the record.
- The agency may not charge the first $30 of the above fees to the requester.
In addition, a fee waiver in the public interest is also available. The criteria for this fee waiver are set forth in section 2-71-32, Hawaii Administrative Rules, and are stated in the model request form, Request to Access a Government Record.