Posted on May 5, 2022 in Featured, What's New

The Hawaii State Legislature has passed the following bills and resolution concerning the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) (Chapter 92F, HRS) and Sunshine Law (Part I of Chapter 92, HRS), which will keep OIP busy this interim before the 2023 session begins.

H.B. 2026, H.D. 2, S.D. 1 relating to Chapter 92, HRS, passed final reading on May 3, 2022, after the House agreed to the Senate’s version of the bill so that a conference committee was not necessary.  Significantly, boards can no longer take oral testimony only at the beginning of a board’s agenda or meeting.  If board packets are prepared, then the public packet must be made available for public inspection in the board’s office no later than 48 hours before the meeting time.  The bill also creates a new permitted interaction that allows a board to submit legislative testimony based on a statement regarding a position previously adopted by the board, with several restrictions requiring the online posting of the position, testimony, and written communications, including drafts, among board members about the statement.  OIP had previously prepared a Quick Review regarding boards’ options to address legislative issues and will be updating its Sunshine Law training materials to reflect this bill and any others that may go into effect.  Unlike bills discussed below that have definite effective dates, however, this bill will take effect “upon approval” if and when the Governor signs it, so boards are advised to immediately begin implementing the new oral testimony and board packet provisions.

On May 3, 2022, the Legislature also passed the bills previously described in the What’s New article of April 29, 2022:

S.B. 3252, S.D. 2, H.D. 2, C.D. 1 relating to Public Records:  Effective July 1, 2023, the bill places caps UIPA fees and copying charges and provides a free public interest waiver.  OIP will work during the interim on drafting rules to, among other things, define and implement the bill’s requirements.

S.B. 3172, S.D. 1, H.D. 2, C.D. 1 relating to Public Agency Meetings:  Effective October 1, 2022, the bill eliminates recorded minutes and requires complete written minutes for every meeting.  If the board makes an electronic recording of the meeting, the minutes must contain time stamps and links to the recording, and the board must maintain and post the recording.

S.B. 3219. H.D. 1, C.D. 1 relating to the Sunshine Law:  Effective July 1, 2022, board members in a remote meeting would not have to identify minors who are present with them, unless a minor has a personal business, property, or financial interest on any issue before the board at the meeting.

On April 26, 2022, the Legislature adopted SCR 192, S.D. 1 requesting that OIP convene a working group to develop recommendations for the treatment of deliberative and predecisional agency records.  The Civil Beat Law Center, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, the State Department of Transportation, and the University of Hawaii System have already expressed interest in being part of the seven-member working group.  If there are any other interested persons, particularly those representing the counties’ perspectives, please let OIP know you would like to be considered for the working group.  Once the working group is convened, OIP intends to solicit comments from the public and hopes for a robust and respectful discussion of the issues.  In the meantime, OIP’s Opinions page contains extensive background materials discussing the deliberative process privilege that had been previously recognized by OIP for nearly 30 years, but which was overturned by the Hawaii Supreme Court in a 3-2 decision in December 2018.  Also, the entire four-volume 1987 Report of the Governor’s Committee on Public Records and Privacy, which was the basis for the UIPA’s adoption in 1988, can be found on OIP’s Legislation page.

For unbiased open government news, please check for archived copies of What’s New articles that are posted on OIP’s website at oip.hawaii.gov, or upon request, can be emailed to you.  To update your address or begin receiving these articles directly, please provide your email address to [email protected].  Also, if you would like to receive What’s New articles or attachments in a Word format, please contact OIP at (808) 586-1400 or [email protected].