Legislative Update

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 in What's New

February 23, 2012

The state Office of Information Practices (OIP) has been tracking 264 bills pending before the Hawaii Legislature, and has prepared testimony for 48 of them. OIP’s three highest priority bills are S.B. 2858 (appeals bill), S.B. 2859 (Sunshine Law bill), and S.B. 2234 (electronic posting bill), all of which are being amended by the Senate. At yesterday’s joint hearing before the Senate Committees on Economic Development and Technology and on Judiciary and Labor regarding S.B. 2234, lead chair Senator Carol Fukunaga asked OIP to work with other stakeholders to suggest amendments that would address various technical and legal concerns regarding this proposal to require electronic posting of meeting agendas and minutes. Decision-making on S.B. 2234 will take place on February 29 at 9:30 a.m.

While the House Judiciary Committee has held hearings on OIP’s companion bills (H.B. 2596 and H.B. 2597), it decided to hold those bills in order to work with the Senate drafts that are expected to cross over to the House. The House Judiciary Committee has also heard and, due to substantial opposition, decided to hold H.B. 2742, which would have exempted the county councils from the Sunshine Law. During Tuesday’s hearing on H.B. 2742, Maui councilmembers raised specific concerns that the Sunshine Law unduly restricts their ability to utilize social media and to attend other meetings with community groups and constituents. As OIP responded, however, these concerns have been addressed in S.B. 2859, S.D. 1, which contains adequate safeguards while allowing for better gathering and sharing of information as well as increased public participation.

For the latest on open government news, look here on the What’s New page.