S Memo 15-3

Posted on May 28, 2015 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law

S Memo 15-3
May 28, 2015
Introduction of a Resolution;
Failure to Consider an Item

Requester asked whether the Honolulu City Council (Council) violated the Sunshine Law by introducing Council Resolution 12-319 (2012) co-signed by five members and without the entire legislative packet proposed by the Hawaii State Association of Counties’ (HSAC) relating to genetically modified organism (GMO) and Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) bills. Requester also questioned the propriety of not placing Resolution 12-319 on a meeting agenda for the full Council prior to December 6, 2012.

OIP found that the Council did not violate the Sunshine Law by introducing Resolution 12-319 that was co-signed by multiple Council members.  Multiple Council members co-signing to introduce a measure does not by itself violate the Sunshine Law, and there was no evidence to indicate that the members had privately discussed the measure among themselves. Moreover, the Council was not obligated by the Sunshine Law to introduce the entire HSAC packet exactly as proposed by HSAC.

OIP also found that the Council likewise did not violate the Sunshine Law by failing to place the Resolution on a full Council meeting agenda prior to December 6, 2012. A board’s failure to consider an item or to place the item on its agenda for a particular meeting is not a Sunshine Law violation. See HRS § 92-7.