Posted on May 21, 2020 in Featured, What's New

Now that its powers have been restored, the state Office of Information Practices posted three new informal memorandum opinion summaries and the full text of a new formal opinion on its opinions page at oip.hawaii.gov.

In  OIP Opinion Letter No. F20-3, OIP concluded that the budget committee of the Honolulu City Council violated the Sunshine Law’s provisions for amending an agenda (1) by filing an addendum to a previously filed meeting agenda; and (2) because the item added did not meet the criteria set forth in the law.  HRS § 92-7(d).  The item to be added was a bill proposing to reduce the real property taxes to be paid by homeowners by increasing the exemption amounts that may be subtracted from the homeowners’ estimated property values that are subject to taxation, which OIP found was of reasonably major importance and the committee’s action thereon would affect a significant number of persons and thus, did not meet the criteria to amend an agenda.

In informal S Memo 20-4, OIP similarly concluded that the Honolulu City Council violated the Sunshine Law by improperly amending the filed agendas and by considering and acting on items improperly added to the agendas.  Specifically, the items added to the agendas were: (1) a resolution accepting a gift to include electrical work and lighting of a tree at a City and County of Honolulu park; (2) a developer’s request for an extension for the Council to act on a resolution to approve a  development project; (3) a resolution urging the City administration to implement sponsorship programs at City facilities; and (4) a resolution asking the City administration and other agencies to conduct a workforce study.  OIP concluded that the Council improperly amended its agendas and added these items because they were of reasonably major importance and action thereon by the Council will affect a significant number of persons.

In U Memo 20-8, OIP found that the requested cesspool record did not exist, the state Department of Health was not required to create a compilation or summary because the relevant information was not readily retrievable, and the agency properly directed the requester to another agency that may have the information sought by the requester.  Consequently, OIP concluded that the agency properly responded to the request.

In U Memo 20-9, OIP consolidated two cases involving the same requester, agency, and issues.  In both cases, OIP found that the requested records did not exist and concluded that the Maui Department of the Corporation Counsel properly responded that it did not maintain the requested records.

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