BILLS SIGNED FOR OIP’S TRANSFER AND TO ALLOW NEIGHBORHOOD BOARDS TO ATTEND MEETINGS

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 in Featured, What's New

Governor David Ige signed the bill transferring the state Office of Information Practices (OIP) for administrative purposes to the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS).  House Bill 461, Senate Draft 2, Conference Draft 1, sponsored by House Speaker Joseph Souki and Representatives Sylvia Luke and Scott Saiki, was enacted as Act 92, Session Laws of Hawaii 2015.

OIP was originally established in 1988 and was initially placed within the Department of the Attorney General (AG).  In 1998, OIP was transferred from the AG to the Office of the Lt. Governor.  To comply with the state constitutional provisions requiring permanent agencies to be placed within principal departments and allowing the Lt. Governor’s office to house only temporary agencies, OIP was established as “a temporary office . . . for a special purpose within the office of the lieutenant governor, for administrative purposes.”

Act 92 establishes OIP as a permanent agency placed for administrative purposes in DAGS, where OIP will continue to retain its independence in administering Hawaii’s open records and open meetings laws.  The bill specifically recognizes that OIP’s exercise of its functions, duties, and powers, including any quasi-judicial functions, shall not be subject to DAGS’s Comptroller’s supervision or control and that OIP shall communicate directly with the Governor and Legislature.  In order to work out the logistics, the transfer’s effective date was delayed until July 1, 2016.

Act 92 also made housekeeping changes to HRS Section 92F-42 to clarify that OIP’s powers and duties under both the Uniform Information Practices Act and the Sunshine Law are consistent.  These amendments were made effective upon approval on June 5, 2015.

Governor Ige also signed Senate Bill 419, SD 2, HD 2, CD 1, which amends HRS Section 92-82 (not part of the Sunshine Law) to allow more than a quorum of a neighborhood board’s members to attend meetings or presentations on Oahu that are open to the public, do not charge a fee or require registration, and are not specifically and exclusively organized for or directed toward board members.  At such events, board members may ask questions relating to official board business, but may not make a commitment to vote on any of the issues discussed.  Enacted as Act 91, SLH 2015, this new law became effective on June 5, 2015.

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