S Memo 11-12

Posted on Feb 15, 2011 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law

S Memo 11-12
February 15, 2011
Amendment of Agenda

Requester sought an advisory opinion on whether the Honolulu City Council violated the Sunshine Law by amending the agenda of its Executive Matters Committee meeting to consider Resolution 07-168.

OIP found that the Council’s agenda amendment did not violate the Sunshine Law.

The Sunshine Law provides that a filed agenda may be amended to add an item by a two-thirds recorded vote of all members to which the board is entitled; “provided that no item shall be added to the agenda if it is of reasonably major importance and action thereon by the board will affect a significant number of persons.” HRS § 92-7(d). Determination of whether an item “is of reasonably major importance” and when board action thereon will “affect a significant number of persons” is fact-specific and must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Resolution 07-168 authorized the Council Chair to enter into an agreement with Olelo Community Television (Olelo) relating to the televised broadcast of Council meetings, hearings and other activities in substantially the same form as the exhibit attached to the resolution. The Chair was further authorized to amend the agreement as necessary, including amendment of the “distribution” to be made by Olelo to the City under the contract.

The authority given to the Chair under Resolution 07-168 was to try to obtain a larger distribution from Olelo under a contract in which Olelo was paying the City $44,000 for programming. Under these circumstances, the contract amount being paid the City and the latitude being afforded the Chair was relatively small. OIP thus found that amendment of the agenda to add this item to enter into and negotiate any additional distribution was not of reasonably major importance and that action on that item would not affect a significant number of persons.