The State Office of Information Practices (OIP) has recently received dozens of complaints from the public alleging deficient meeting notices for various Sunshine Law boards that were filed on the State Calendar, resulting in the cancellation of meetings.
Certain information is required to be included on meeting notices as set forth in section 92-7, HRS. When all the required information is not on a notice, OIP has no choice but to recommend boards cancel their meetings to avoid violations of the Sunshine Law, and to avoid the filing of complaints with OIP or the courts by members of the public who allege they received insufficient notice.
Some examples of frequently omitted information on notices include failure to provide instructions on how to request an auxiliary aid or service or an accommodation due to a disability and failure to provide electronic and postal contact information for submission of testimony. OIP has also seen deficient notices that announced a remote meeting being held by interactive conference technology (ICT) that failed to provide information for the public to view and participate in the meeting. For example, a notice stated the meeting will be held using Zoom but failed to provide a Zoom link. Additionally, the agenda for meetings were found to be deficient for using mere placeholders like “New Business” and failed to reasonably describe the matters that were to be discussed at the meeting.
OIP encourages boards and their staff to review the extensive and updated training materials available on OIP’s Training page at oip.hawaii.gov, especially the Agenda Guidance for Sunshine Law Boards, Quick Review on meeting notice requirements, and Public Meeting Notice Checklist. Boards with questions can email or telephone OIP’s “Attorney of the Day” for guidance prior to filing their notices. Don’t be the board that has to cancel its meeting because of improper notice.