Posted on Dec 31, 2018 in Featured, What's New

The State Office of Information Practices (OIP) has posted two reports that summarize data about its open records law, which is collected on the UIPA Record Request Logs submitted by 270 state, county, and independent agencies for FY 2018, which ended on June 30, 2018.  Both reports are now on OIP’s Reports page at oip.hawaii.gov, which also links to the State’s open data portal at data.hawaii.gov, where the raw data can be found on the Master UIPA Record Request Year End Log for FY 2018.

FY 2018 was the fifth year that the Log was used by state agencies and the fourth year for county agencies.  A big mahalo to all agencies that have been using the Log and providing important data to our office, which OIP has been using to draft new administrative rules on the procedures to respond to UIPA record requests.  The draft rules are awaiting legal review by the Attorney General’s office, and OIP will send out a What’s New when the formal rulemaking process can begin.

Excluding routine requests, the FY 2018 Log data shows that state agencies completed in the same year 98% of the 2,404 total UIPA record requests received in FY 2018 (39 not completed), while county agencies completed 93% of the 1,819 total requests that they received in FY 2018 (120 not completed, although Kauai completed 100%).  The state and county agencies completed most UIPA record requests within ten work days.  Requests were resolved as follows:

How Resolved                                                State                      County

Granted in full                                                  64%                        73%
Partially granted/denied                                12%                          6%
Denied in full                                                    10%                          6%
Agency unable to respond                               8%                          8%
Requester withdrew                                         1%                           2%
Requester abandoned/failed to pay              4%                           5%

State agencies incurred $74,611 in gross fees and copying/delivery costs and recovered 33% ($24,316) from requesters; county agencies incurred $45,772 in gross fees and costs and similarly recovered 34% ($15,574) from requesters.  No fees or costs were paid by 88.4% of state requesters and 69.3% of county requesters.  Of the requesters that paid any amounts, 87% of state requesters and 88.3% of county requesters paid less than $50 in fees or costs, and the majority of requesters who paid more than $50 were for-profit entities rather than individuals.  Details can be found in OIP’s reports that are posted online.

In comparison, the federal government’s latest summary of its administration of the federal open records law, known as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), was completed for FY 2017 (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017) and can be found online at the Department of Justice’s website.  For FY 2017, federal agencies received a record high 818,271 FOIA requests, processed 823,222 requests, and had a backlog of 111,344 requests.  Federal agencies fully granted 21.9%, partially granted/denied 36.8%, and fully denied 4.7% of all requests; another 36.7% were closed for procedural or administrative reasons.  Of the requests processed for a disclosure determination, over 92.5% were released in full or in part.  Federal agencies’ average time for processing simple track FOIA requests was 27.97 work days.  In FY 2017, federal agencies reported having the equivalent of 4,506.36 full-time FOIA staff devoted to FOIA administration, and total costs of $520,981,560.57, of which over 92% ($480,309,048.09) was attributed to agencies’ processing of requests and appeals and about 8% (approximately $40,700,000) on litigation-related costs.  (Unlike Hawaii, the FOIA costs included federal employees’ salaries and other expenses.)  Agencies reported collecting from requesters less than 1% of the total costs related to the federal government’s FOIA activities.

In conclusion of this article and the calendar year, Hawaii’s government agencies should remember to close out their UIPA Record Request Logs for the first half of the fiscal year 2019 by saving a copy of their UIPA Record Request Log data for record requests received from July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.  OIP will send out further instructions with a What’s New article in January 2019.