Openline January-February 1999

Posted on Feb 1, 1999 in Newsletter

New Rules Take Effect February 26
OIP’s Rules Available
Q&A: Charges for Photocopies
Bills Affecting Photocopy Charges
1998 Annual Report Highlights

New Rules Take Effect February 26

On January 29, 1999, Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano approved the Office of Information Practices’ (“OIP”) rules entitled “Agency Procedures and Fees for Processing Government Record Requests.”

The rules, which take effect February 26, 1999, govern the manner in which government agencies must process requests for government records and the fees that may be charged for searching, reviewing, and segregating records.

The OIP had originally planned to provide training sessions on the rules for each State and county agency. However, the 1998 Legislature reduced the OIP’s budget and, as a result, the OIP does not have the resources to schedule training sessions at this time. An informational packet with model forms will be forthcoming for use by State and county departments and agencies.

Should you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at 586-1400.

OIP’s Rules Available

The rules are available online at www., or you may pick up a copy from our office. The web site is the OIP’s electronic “reading room,” where anyone can find out what is happening with the OIP, read the UIPA and the OIP’s guidelines, link to electronic versions of the OIP’s opinions, and read the latest Openline.

Q&A: Charges for Photocopies

The matter of charges for photocopies of government records is outside the jurisdiction of the Office of Information Practices. Because the OIP is often asked about photocopy charges, however, here is some relevant information:

Q. Which part of the law governs photocopy charges?
A. At this time, Section 92-21, Hawaii Revised Statutes, permits agencies to charge a per page fee for copying.

Q. What is the charge for these photocopies?
A. The charge to the requester is now not less than 50 cents per page. Act 311 (House Bill 2552, H.D. 1, S.D. 3, C.D. 1), which became law July 1, 1998, raised the per page charge from 25 cents to 50 cents.

Q. If a government record is public and disclosable, does the requester have the right to a photocopy of the record, as well as viewing the record?
A. Yes. Under the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified), Chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes, the agency must assure reasonable access to facilities for duplicating, or provide a photocopy of the public record, if requested.

Bills Affecting Photocopy Charges

Several bills introduced in the 1999 Session of the State Legislature seek to lower the fees charged for copying government records. Three bills would lower the fee from 50 to 25 cents per page: SB 646, HB726, and HB 784. One of these three has received a hearing. SB 646 was heard and passed by the Government Operations & Housing Committee.

Two other bills would limit charges for copies of administrative rules. SB 1016, which has not received a hearing as yet, limits to 10 cents a page the amount each state agency other than the Lieutenant Governor may charge for copies of rules.

SB 799 requires fees not to exceed 10 cents per page for coipes of rules and informational and educational publications that contain copies of statutes and agency rules. This bill was heard by the Government Operations & Housing Committee and then held by the committee.

The March issue of Openline will feature the OIP’s annual review of bills from the Legislature affecting information practices.

1998 Annual Report Highlights

The Office of Information Practices recently completed and distributed its 1998 Annual Report. Here are a few highlights.

Requests for Assistance
Continuing its work to reduce the backlog of outstanding cases, the OIP staff in Fiscal Year 98 reviewed and closed 321 cases from its files of pending assignments. Combined with the review and closing of 225 cases in FY 96, and 246 cases in FY 97, the total for the past three fiscal years amounts to 792 cases reviewed and closed. During this same three-year period, the OIP received an increasing number of requests for assistance. The OIP opened 213 new cases in FY 96 and 277 in FY 97. In FY 98 an additional 343 new assignments were opened.

In 1998, the OIP reviewed 340 legislative initiatives (including 151 carried over from the 1997 session), and monitored 269 of those measures as they progressed through the Legislature. The OIP substantially increased its involvement in legislation by contributing more testimony, advice, and guidance to the legislative process than it has at any time in its nine-year history. All of the bills tracked by the OIP in 1998 affected government’s information practices, public access to government records, or the privacy rights of individuals.

The OIP’s proposed rules were adopted, pending the Governor’s final approval. At the first hearing, on August 31, 1998, the public commented on the rules. After giving serious consideration to all the comments, the OIP decided to substantially amend the proposed rules. Amendments were designed to 1) ensure that no fees could be charged for segregating records that were public in their entirety, 2) decrease the time limits for an agency’s response, 3) increase the waiver-of-fee provisions, and 4) have agencies report to the OIP information regarding assessment of these fees.

On November 5, 1998, the OIP held another public hearing on the proposed rules. On November 20, 1998, the OIP decided to adopt the rules with technical amendments. [See above for an update on the rules.]

Case Summaries
The report also includes a number of case summaries. The summaries give a sample of requests for assistance and how the OIP responds to them. The requests fall into three main categories: 1) telephone inquiries; 2) written requests for assistance; and 3) requests for opinions.


Access Classifications of Records on the
Records Report System (November 1998):
Public 59%
Confidential 16%
Confidential/Conditional 21%
Undetermined 4%

Legal Telephone Inquiries to the OIP in 1998:
Calls About State Agencies (Top Seven)
Education 72
Health 67
Labor 41
OIP 38
Commerce & Consumer Affairs 37
Land and Natural Resources 37
Attorney General 33

Telephone Requesters Fiscal Year 1998:
Government Agencies 50% (436 calls)
The Public 35% (301 calls)
Government Attorneys 15% (135 calls)

Copies Going Out to Public Libraries
Copies of the 1998 Annual Report have been forwarded to the State’s public library system. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy of this report should contact the OIP at (808) 586-1400 or 235 South Beretania Street, Room 304, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2437.