As Director of the Office of Information Practices (OIP), I’d like to thank my small but mighty staff for making FY 2018 so successful. Despite time-consuming rulemaking and other duties in FY 2018, OIP was still able to resolve—in the same year, if not the same day—over 95% of 1,127 total requests for its services. Of the 182 formal cases filed through June 30, 2018, OIP resolved 129 cases, or 71%, in the same fiscal year. Through its Attorney of the Day service, OIP also responded, typically on the same day, to 945 informal requests for assistance from government employees and the general public.
For FY 2018, OIP issued a total of 23 formal and informal opinions. OIP resolved all FY 2015 and older cases, except for one in litigation that must be decided by the court. OIP also reduced by 13% the number of its pending formal cases and ended FY 2018 with 131 cases filed in FY 2016 through FY 2018 (including the one in litigation). Of the pending cases, 101 involve appeals to OIP or requests for reconsideration or opinions, which typically take much longer to resolve.
FY 2019 promises to be another busy year. For the first month of FY 2019, OIP has continued to resolve recently filed and older cases, thus bringing its backlog down to 119 formal cases by the end of July. OIP has also unveiled necessary revisions to its Sunshine Law training materials, including the updated law, new Open Records Guide, various Quick Reviews, and forms, which can be found on OIP’s Training page at https://oip.hawaii.gov.
OIP does not plan to revise the UIPA and Log training materials until new administrative rules are adopted. In 2017, OIP prepared draft rules and explanatory materials, which were presented in informational meetings statewide and are posted on OIP’s Rules page or Training page. Based on public comments to the draft rules, OIP made some changes and submitted proposed rules for initial review by the Attorney General’s office (AG). While the AG’s review remains pending, OIP will continue to accept public comments on its posted draft rules. Once the AG’s initial review is completed, OIP anticipates making additional changes before obtaining the final approvals needed to go to public hearing and begin the formal rulemaking process on proposed rules. If new rules are adopted, then OIP will revise its UIPA and Log training materials and conduct training sessions for agencies. Thus, for FY 2019 and beyond, OIP expects to again be extremely busy with rulemaking and training duties.
OIP wants to thank the more than 200 state, county, and independent agencies that timely submitted their year-end UIPA Record Request Logs for FY 2018 by the July 31, 2018 deadline. OIP will be reviewing the FY 2018 Logs over the next few months and will prepare reports summarizing the Log data as well as its Annual Report to the Legislature.
OIP is already in the process of drafting legislation for next session. Moreover, to do the work of assisting the public, training and advising government employees, and administering laws that apply to the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government as well as all state, county and independent agencies and most boards in Hawaii, OIP will seek authorization and funding to add to its current staff of nine employees. With the support of the Governor and Legislature and the hard work of dedicated public servants at OIP and all other government agencies, OIP will continue to protect and ensure the public’s right to government transparency and accountability. Mahalo to all of you.
Cheryl Kakazu Park, Director