Friday, April 7, was a key legislative deadline. At this point, it looks like the following amended bills regarding the UIPA and/or Sunshine Law have met the deadline and are still alive for the session:
Bills concerning both the UIPA and Sunshine Law:
SB 478, SD 1, HD 1, Relating to Government Records, and HB 308, HD 1, SD 2, Relating to Public Agency Meetings: In response to Kanahele v. Maui County Council, 130 Haw. 229, 307 P.3d 1174 (2013), these bills would create a new permitted interaction that would allow Sunshine Law board members to share with each other memos and government records deemed public under the UIPA, so long as no commitment to vote or additional discussion is included in the transmittal by board members, the records are promptly filed in the board’s office, and the meeting notice identifies where members of the public may obtain copies of the records. Both bills were amended to use language agreed upon by various interested parties, which would limit the permit interaction to county councils, restrict the records shared to those created by a third party (not a council member or employee), and require the record and transmittal to be filed in the council’s office for public inspection either that same day (SB 478) or concurrently with the transmittal (HB 308).
HB 165, HD 1, SD 2, Relating to Public Meetings: This bill generally requires 1) Sunshine Law meeting notices to be posted on state and county electronic calendars; 2) meeting minutes, in draft or final form, to be posted on state and county websites; 3) public access to board packets after redaction of personal or confidential information protected by the UIPA; and 4) all testimony on an item to be heard immediately before discussion of the item.
SB 572, SD 1, HD 1, Relating to Information Practices: For uniformity and consistency, this bill allows OIP to adopt additional rules regarding the UIPA that agencies must follow.
HB 1518, HD 1, SD 2, Relating to Public Records: This bill allows an agency to go to court seeking relief when dealing with an extreme situation involving a vexatious requester under the UIPA.
Bills that did not make the deadline:
SB 245, SD 2, HD1, Relating to Government Records: In light of Molfino v. Yuen, 134 Haw. 181 (2014), this bill would establish a duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining government records. The $2,000 cap on damages per violation was removed by the House Judiciary Committee, and the amended bill remains in the House Finance Committee.
SB 424, SD 1 and HB 456, HD 1, Relating to Public Safety: These bills require disclosure under the UIPA of a police officer’s personnel file after a second suspension in a five-year period. After cross-over, neither bill received hearings by their subject matter committees.
All bills can be found on the Legislature’s website at capitol.hawaii.org. For the latest open government news, you can check for archived copies of What’s New articles, which are posted at oip.hawaii.gov or can be e-mailed upon request by e-mailing [email protected]. Also, if you would like to receive What’s New articles or attachments in a different format, please e-mail or contact OIP at (808) 586-1400.