S Memo 20-4

Posted on May 14, 2020 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law

S Memo 20-4
May 14, 2020
Amendment of Filed Agendas

A member of the public asked for investigations into whether the Honolulu City Council (COUNCIL-HON) violated the Sunshine Law by adding items to the filed agendas at a regular meeting and a committee meeting in November 2017.  Specifically, the items added to the agendas were: (1) a resolution accepting a gift to include electrical work and lighting of a tree at a City and County of Honolulu (City) park; (2) a developer’s request for an extension for COUNCIL-HON to act on a resolution to approve a  development project; (3) a resolution urging the City administration to implement sponsorship programs at City facilities; and (4) a resolution asking the City administration and other agencies to conduct a workforce study.

The Sunshine Law requires that boards give written public notice of any meeting, which shall include an agenda that lists all the items to be considered at the meeting.  HRS § 92-7(a) (Supp. 2019).  Further, 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) (2012).

OIP found that COUNCIL-HON violated the Sunshine Law by improperly amending the filed agendas, and considering and acting on items improperly added to the agendas, because the items added were of reasonably major importance and action thereon by the Council will affect a significant number of persons.  HRS § 92-7(d) (2012).