Sunshine Law

EMERGENCY ALERT:

The Sunshine Law, part I of chapter 92, HRS, has also been partially suspended since early 2020 in response to the COVID-19 emergency.  The Governor’s Emergency Proclamation Related to COVID-19 dated November 29, 2021, mostly continued prior partial suspensions of the Sunshine Law to allow for remote meetings with no in-person locations, but it expires at 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2021.

On January 1, 2022, Act 220 (2021 Regular Session) becomes effective.  Act 220 makes permanent changes to the Sunshine Law to allow remote meetings that have been permitted through the emergency proclamations during the pandemic.  Once Act 220 becomes effective, boards are required to have at least one in-person meeting site for remote meetings where the public can attend and testify.  Boards and board staff are urged to review OIP’s summary of Act 220 and OIP’s recently revised website training materials on the Sunshine Law’s new requirements.

However, on December 29, 2021, the Governor signed the Emergency Proclamation Related To Sunshine Law In-Person Meetings (Proclamation) suspending section 92-3.7, HRS, (effective January 1, 2022) only to the extent necessary to suspend Act 220’s requirement to have at least one meeting location that is open to the public.  All other provisions of Act 220 remain in force.  The Proclamation is in effect through February 28, 2022, unless terminated or superseded by a separate proclamation, whichever shall occur first.

OIP will strive to answer questions about the UIPA and Sunshine Law through our Attorney of the Day service.  For fastest service, questions should be submitted by email to [email protected].  While email remains the preferred method of contact, OIP can also be reached by phone at (808) 586-1400, fax at (808) 586-1412, or postal mail at 250 S. Hotel Street, Suite 107, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813.

OIP cannot accept appeals based on causes of action dependent on alleged violations of the portions of the Sunshine Law that are suspended and therefore not in effect.


 

The Sunshine Law is Hawaii’s open meetings law. It governs the manner in which all state and county boards must conduct their official business. The Office of Information Practices (“OIP”) has been the agency in charge of administering the Sunshine Law since 1998.

The Sunshine Law is codified at part I of chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes. See below for an unofficial version of the law.

The Law
Chapter 92: Public Agency Meetings and Records

Act 244, SLH 2019 (effective July 2, 2019)

Act 64, SLH 2017 (effective July 1, 2018)

Act 220, SLH 2021 (SB 1034, SD1, HD2, CD 1)  Relating to Sunshine Boards (effective January 1, 2022):

Senate Bill 1034, S.D.1, H.D. 2, C.D. 1, relating to Sunshine Law Boards, was passed by the Legislature on April 27, 2021 and signed into law as Act 220 by Governor David Ige on July 6, 2021.  This landmark legislation amends Hawaii’s Sunshine Law, effective January 1, 2022, to allow public meetings to be remotely conducted while still requiring at least one in-person meeting location for those unable or unwilling to participate online.

The bill was originally introduced as an Administration measure based on OIP’s proposal developed after months of consultation and review with boards and the public.  OIP has compiled below the bill’s legislative history, along with the initial drafts of OIP’s earlier proposal.  OIP has also prepared a summary of the new law and is developing new training materials to prepare Sunshine Law boards in the fall of 2021 for Act 220’s implementation in 2022.

Sunshine Law unofficial version with Act 220 (Contains Act 220 amendments that are effective 1/1/2022)