April 28, 2017 was the deadline for all bills to be decked and ready for the final passage by the Legislature this week. The Office of Information Practices (OIP) is pleased to announce that two bills that significantly impact the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) or the Sunshine Law have survived the legislative process and will be voted on this week.
Bill concerning both the UIPA and Sunshine Law:
HB 165, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1, Relating to Public Meetings: After years of disagreement among stakeholders, the conference committee agreed to pass out the conference draft, which was proposed by OIP after gaining consensus from key stakeholders. In its final version, this bill essentially provides for the following:
(1) Board packets for public inspection: Boards must make board packets available for public inspection in the board’s office at the time they are distributed to board members, to the extent that the documents are publicly disclosable under the UIPA. Disclosure is not required of executive session minutes, license applications, or other records for which the board cannot reasonably complete its redaction of non-public information in the time available before the public inspection required by the bill. Packets need not be mailed to requesters, but boards must accommodate requests for electronic access to the packet as soon as practicable.
(2) Electronic notice of meetings: Sunshine Law meeting notices must be posted on state and county electronic calendars, with copies to be provided for posting in a central location in paper or electronic format by the Lt. Governor’s office for state boards and county clerks for county boards. Boards are still required to provide copies of the notice and agenda to the Lt. Governor’s office or county clerk, but as the electronic calendar will provide the official notice required by the Sunshine Law, the failure to file timely copies of notices with the Lt. Governor’s office or county clerks will not require cancellation of the meeting. At the same time that the notice is electronically posted, boards must continue to send notices to requesters by postal mail, or electronically if so requested; as before, the Sunshine Law will continue to require cancellation of a meeting if a board fails to comply with this amended requirement to notify requesters.
3) Meeting minutes may be kept in recorded form and must be posted online: In lieu of written minutes, a board may now keep its minutes in a digital or analog recording format (e.g., via a tape recorder) and provide a written summary that shall include:
- the date, time, and place of the meeting;
- the members of the board recorded as either present or absent, and the times when individual members entered or left the meeting;
- a record, by individual members, of motions and votes made by the board; and
- a time stamp or other reference indicating when in the recording the board began discussion of each agenda item and when motions and votes were made by the board.
Boards must post their written minutes, or minutes in recorded format with a written summary, on their website or an appropriate state or county website within forty days after the meeting.
To give boards and the posting bodies time to learn and implement the new requirements, the bill will take effect on July 1, 2018.
OIP would like to thank the conferees, Representatives Scott Nishimoto (co-chair and bill sponsor), Romy Cachola (co-chair), and Bob McDermott, and Senators Donna Kim (chair), and Gil Keith-Agaran and Breene Harimoto (co-chairs), and Russell Ruderman.
SB 572, SD 1, HD 1, CD 1, Relating to Information Practices: For uniformity and consistency, this bill amends section 92F-26, HRS, to allow OIP to adopt additional rules regarding the UIPA that agencies must follow. The bill will be effective on July 1, 2017.
OIP would like to thank the bill sponsors Senators Will Espero and Les Ihara, Jr., and the conferees, Senators Gil Keith-Agaran (chair), Donna Kim, and Karl Rhoads, and Representatives Scott Nishimoto (chair), Marcus Oshiro, and Bob McDermott.
Of the 108 bills that OIP was following, these are the two most significant bills that ultimately passed this session. The bills that did not pass will carry over to next year and could be acted upon next session. All bills and legislative committee reports 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.