As calendar year 2019 comes to an end, Hawaii’s Office of Information Practices (OIP) has posted its Annual Report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019 on its Reports page at oip.hawaii.gov. Thanks to a 10% decrease in the number of new formal cases filed and the hard work of its experienced team, OIP was able to reduce its backlog of pending cases by 37.4% and ended the year with no outstanding cases that were filed before FY 2017, except for two that were in litigation and are beyond its control. Additionally, over 72% of the formal cases opened in FY 2019 were resolved in the same year. When Attorney of the Day inquiries are included, OIP resolved 96% (1,082 of 1,1,27) of all FY 2019 formal and informal requests for assistance in the same year they were filed, of which over 85% (963 of 1,1,27) were usually resolved the same day they were filed.
In FY 2019, OIP issued 5 formal opinions and 20 informal memorandum opinions. OIP also revised or added 14 training materials, including explanations of the substantial changes to the Sunshine Law that went into effect on July 1, 2018 and an analysis or Quick Review of two major decisions by the Hawaii Supreme Court concerning the deliberative process privilege under the UIPA and executive meetings under the Sunshine Law. Moreover, OIP conducted 11 live training sessions, tracked or testified on 185 bills and resolutions, monitored 40 lawsuits, and provided 25 What’s New articles or reports to keep the public informed of open government issues. The Annual Report includes a short summary of OIP’s reports of the state and county agencies’ UIPA Record Request Log results for FY 2018, and the FY 2019 reports will be issued next week.
OIP is still awaiting final review of its draft administrative rules by the Attorney General’s office so that it can hopefully move forward with a public hearing and the formal rulemaking process in 2020.
OIP ends this year on a note of gratitude for the Legislature’s additional appropriations over the past two sessions, which helps OIP retain its experienced team that provides uniform, neutral advice to the general public and to all state, county, and independent agencies in our three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial. Next year, OIP looks forward to continuing to serve the people of Hawaii and ensuring open government while protecting individual privacy. Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!