The State Office of Information Practices (OIP) thanks everyone who provided comments on potential virtual meeting legislation and has now posted its latest draft and the justification sheet summarizing the proposal on the Legislation page at oip.hawaii.gov.
Please keep in mind that this proposal is intended to be a permanent change to the Sunshine Law that would allow, but not mandate, boards to conduct “virtual” online public meetings, while continuing to require at least one physical meeting location where people without the ability, means, or desire to attend meetings online could still testify and participate in person. The proposal assumes that the new procedures would operate in “normal” circumstances without an ongoing pandemic, so that traditional in-person meetings remain a viable alternative to the new “virtual” meetings. It attempts to protect the public’s right to access public meetings and expand participation through online meetings, while recognizing the boards’ operational and technological limitations.
Note, too, that although the Sunshine Law applies to Neighborhood Boards, OIP’s bill did not include any provisions that are specific to only Neighborhood Boards, as they are free to pursue potential changes to their separate statutes.
OIP looks forward to receiving your comments on the proposal by November 13, 2020, via email to [email protected]. By working together now to carefully craft a proposal with broad-based support, we hope the Legislature next year will readily pass good legislation that will provide many benefits to the people and our government.