S Memo 11-4

Posted on Dec 6, 2010 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law

S Memo 11-4
December 6, 2010
Statewide Health Coordinating Council
Plan Development Committee

Requester asked for an investigation into whether the requirements of the Sunshine Law were complied with in the development of the current state health services and facilities plan that was adopted in 2009 (the State Plan). The underlying issue is whether the Plan Development Committee (PDC) of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council (SHCC), and the PDC’s subcommittees, violated the Sunshine Law by failing to properly notice its meetings and by meeting without quorum, or by failing to create permitted interaction groups that would allow the PDC and its subcommittees to meet outside of noticed open meetings.

OIP found that the PDC and its subcommittees did not meet the definition of a “board” under the Sunshine Law. However, OIP found that the presence of more than two members on both the SHCC and the PDC, as well as the presence of more than two SHCC members or more than two members of any one subarea health planning council on any subcommittee, violated the Sunshine Law.

Unlike the PDC, SHCC is indisputably subject to the Sunshine Law. Thus, the SHCC members could not discuss that SHCC board business, which was also the PDC board business, outside of a noticed SHCC meeting unless a permitted interaction under HRS § 92-2.5 applied. Based upon the facts presented, none of the permitted interactions applied.

OIP did not find any intentional violation, given SHCC’s reasonable reliance on informal OIP guidance provided regarding the status of the PDC as a Sunshine Law board and the opportunities provided for public participation with respect to the State Plan. Moreover, OIP noted that the Sunshine Law does not provide a basis for voiding the State Plan based upon the violation because a suit to void a final action under the Sunshine Law must be commenced within ninety days of the action.