Openline May 1999

Posted on May 1, 1999 in Newsletter

1999 Legislative Wrap-Up
OIP Staff Update

1999 Legislative Wrap-Up
During the 1999 Legislative Session, the Office of Information Practices (OIP) reviewed 300 legislative initiatives for their effect on government information practices. The bills listed below passed both houses of the Legislature and most will, if enacted by the Governor, create substantive changes in information practices in the State of Hawaii. If the Governor has already signed a bill into law it has an act number as well.

Health Care Information
Social Security Numbers
Photocopy Charges
Information Collection
Open Meetings
Other Bills and Resolutions


Health Care Information:

HB 351 HD2 SD1 CD1 
Privacy of Health Care Information 
Protects the privacy of health care information by stipulating conditions under which patient information can be disclosed. The bill, as passed, requests the Legislative Reference Bureau to study the question of the most appropriate agency to enforce the law. It also provides for adoption of rules by the OIP to implement the law. This bill was developed by the Patient Records Confidentiality Task Force, a group of representatives from the private sector and government with the OIP acting as facilitator. 
[Signed into law as Act 87 on June 23, 1999.]

HB 1138 HD1 SD2 CD1 
Epidemiologic Investigations 
Allows the Department of Health (DOH) to investigate significant causes of illness which would threaten public health and safety. The OIP advised that the bill should: (1) protect individuals’ medical information from public disclosure, unless the disclosure is in the public’s interest, and (2) provide that only necessary information be collected. [Signed into law as Act 192 on July 2, 1999.]

SB 1032 SD1 HD2 CD1 
Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment 
Makes amendments to Chapter 344E, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which pertains to patient medical records. The proposed changes being monitored by the OIP were ultimately gutted, and SB 1032 CD1 now creates a task force to study procedures for involuntary treatment. 
[The Governor vetoed this bill on June 7, 1999.]

HB 440 HD 2 SD 2 
Controlled Substances 
Authorizes disclosure of investigative information regarding controlled substances to health care professionals who are registered to administer, prescribe, or dispense controlled substances to patients. 
[Signed into law as Act 145 on June 28, 1999.]

Social Security Numbers:

HB 8 HD1 SD2
Social Security Numbers on Drivers’ Licenses 
Prohibits the use of social security numbers on Hawaii drivers’ licenses because of possible identity theft and fraudulent use of social security numbers. Social security numbers will still be collected on applications for licenses, but no driver’s license issued or renewed beginning January 1, 2001, will display the driver’s social security number on the license. The OIP testified in support of this bill. 
[Signed into law as Act 269 on July 6, 1999.]

Photocopy Charges:

SB 646 SD 2 HD 3 CD 1 
Photocopy Charges and Other Matters 
This bill, among other things, lowers the photocopy charge for government records from not less than 50 cent to not less than 5 cents per page, effective July 1, 1999. The OIP testified in support of this measure, because open government and public access to government records are enhanced by lower photocopy costs. 
[Signed into law as Act 160 on June 28, 1999.]

SB 1016 SD 1 HD 1 
Administrative Rules 
Enhances public access to administrative rules and the rulemaking process by lowering the charge for proposed and final rules and notices of proposed rulemaking actions to a maximum fee of 10 cents per page, plus the actual cost of mailing. It also requires state agencies to make proposed rules available on the Internet, beginning January 1, 2000. 
[Signed into law as Act 301 on July 7, 1999.]

Information Collection:

HB 266 HD2 SD2 CD1 
New Mothers Breastfeeding 
Prohibits discrimination in the work place against nursing mothers. The OIP monitored this bill because the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission is charged with compiling and publishing data on instances of discrimination in the workplace associated with breastfeeding or the expressing of breast milk. The OIP is in the process of drafting administrative rules on standards of information collection practices pursuant to statutory mandate. 
[Signed into law as Act 172 on July 1, 1999.]

HB 252 HD2 SD2 CD1 
Degree Granting Institutions 
Prohibits unaccredited institutions from issuing degrees and conducting business in Hawaii unless they comply with certain standards. The OIP monitored this bill because it contained references to maintenance of student records. 
[Signed into law as Act 171 on July 1, 1999.]

Open Meetings:

SB 953 SD2 HD2 CD1 
Natural and Cultural Resources 
The original version of this bill would have created the Hawaii Environmental Authority, and allowed its board of directors to conduct executive meetings “to enable the board to respect the proprietary requirements of enterprises with which it has business dealings.” The OIP opposed that version of the bill because it created a new exception to the open meeting requirements of Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes, commonly referred to as the “Sunshine Law.” Exceptions to the open meeting requirements that are placed outside of Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes, would be unknown to persons unfamiliar with that law.

In addition, the OIP strongly believes that any proposed changes to the Sunshine Law should be made via a bill relating to the Sunshine Law so that persons unfamiliar with the legislative process will still have the opportunity to testify. The Sunshine Law amendments were ultimately removed from the bill. 
[The Governor vetoed this bill on June 7, 1999.]

HB 996 Act 49
Meetings of State and County Boards 
Under Act 49, agencies may conduct closed meetings to decide upon matters in which information required to be confidential by law must be considered. The OIP supported this bill because it resolves the conflict between the Sunshine Law and specific confidentiality statutes. [Signed into law as Act 49 on April 26, 1999.]

HB 221 HD2 SD1 CD1
Hawaii Tourism Authority 
Would have allowed the Hawaii Tourism Authority to make documents confidential for 18 months or more at its discretion, in part by amending the UIPA. This bill also proposed to amend the Sunshine Law. The public and government agencies did not have the opportunity to testify on these proposed amendments. The OIP expressed its concerns about this bill. As a result, the Governor vetoed this bill on May 27, 1999.

Other Bills and Resolutions:

HB 1119 HD1 SD1 CD1
Child Protective Services 
Improves child protective services, in part by requiring a Reform Coordinating Committee to create pilot project reports. The OIP opposed the language in the bill that would make the reports available only to “interested community groups.” The OIP asked that the Legislature make the reports open to all members of the public unless there was a specific reason to keep the reports confidential, except to interested community groups. The bill was passed without the OIP’s suggested changes.
[Signed into law as Act 116 on June 23, 1999.]

SB 1051 SD 2 Act 34
Child Protective Services 
Authorizes the Department of Human Services to disclose records relating to child abuse or neglect in accordance with its rules, as required by federal law or regulation.
[Signed into law as Act 34 on April 23, 1999.]

HB 32 HD 2 SD2 CD 1
Industrial Hemp Research 
An early draft of this bill contained a provision deeming all agronomic data derived from industrial hemp research proprietary in nature and not subject to disclosure under the UIPA. The OIP presented testimony and monitored this bill to make it consistent with provisions of the UIPA, and the confidentiality provision was subsequently deleted.
[Signed into law as Act 305 on Juuly 7, 1999.]

HB 661 HD3 SD2 CD1
Enhanced Wireless Emergency 911 Service 
Based upon the OIP’s recommendations, certain provisions in this bill were further restricted to limit confidentiality provisions to only information that is proprietary in nature. 
[The Governor vetoed this bill on June 7, 1999.]

HB 1179 Act 9
Commercial Marine Licenses 
Non-substantive changes were made to a section of Hawaii Revised Statutes that makes aggregate and summary information public. No changes were made by the Legislature to the access provisions of the statute. The OIP tracks these types of bills to ensure that access to public information is not closed off without sound reason.
[Signed into law as Act 9 on April 6, 1999.]

SB 588 SD1 HD1
Sex Offenders 
Under this bill, agencies that oversee the treatment of sex offenders must disclose to each other, upon request, sex offenders’ criminal, parole, medical, and psychological records. At the OIP’s suggestion, the Legislature required that agencies’ sharing of these records must be only for purposes of sex offender treatment and community supervision and that agencies document certain information about the records that are shared.
[Signed into law as Act 95 on June 24, 1999.]

HCR 196 and HR 180
Privacy of Personal Information 
These resolutions ask the OIP to coordinate a study of current protections of the privacy of personal information and commercial use of personal information, and to submit proposed legislation to the 2000 legislative session. The OIP testified in support of these resolutions.
[HCR 196 was adopted on April 26, 1999; HR 180 was adopted on April 15, 1999.]

OIP Staff Update
The Office of Information Practices welcomes Nancy Henderson, the new Secretary to the Director. Nancy comes to the OIP after ten years as a staffer in the State Legislature. She misses her friends in the Senate, but is looking forward to conquering the fiscal challenges in the office. Nancy, who attended Kalani High School, enjoys hanging out with her family, golfing, and Hawaiian quilting.