The state Office of Information Practices (OIP) has been monitoring 105 bills introduced in the Hawaii State Legislature since January of this year. Following last Friday’s deadline for bills to move to their final committees in their originating chambers, the following are bills directly relating to OIP or the laws it administers, which appear to be moving forward or may still be heard as single referral bills.
HB 461 / SB 472, S.D. 1 – Relating to the Office of Information Practices. Transfers OIP to the Department of Accounting and General Services for administrative purposes only. OIP supports the bill.
HB 287 / SB 427 – Relating to the Uniform Information Practices Act. Creates a UIPA exception to allow withholding of records whose disclosure may result in physical harm to an individual or “harm, embarrassment, inconvenience, or unfairness” to an individual resulting from the disclosure of personally identifiable information. OIP opposed the original bill and suggested amendments to remove the subjective factors that would change its long-standing interpretations of the UIPA.
SB 475 – Relating to Open Government. Allows the electronic posting of meeting notices under the Sunshine Law, as well as e-mail notice to persons on a board’s mailing list. OIP supports the bill, with a technical amendment.
HB 150, H.D. 1 – Relating to Sunshine Law. Allows board members to transmit public records to other board members. OIP suggested amending the bill to narrow the public records to those specified in HRS Sec. 92F-12(a) and to limiting the content of transmittal messages in order to prevent serial communications among board members. However, the H.D. 1 has not made the amendments suggested by OIP.
SB 497, SD 1 – Relating to Police Departments. Repeals the exemption from disclosure of police disciplinary records. OIP supports the bill.
SB 652, SD 1 – Relating to Public Agency Meetings. Requires boards to report any final action taken during an executive session, providing that the disclosure is not inconsistent with the purpose of convening the closed meeting. OIP supports the bill.
SB 723, SD1 / HB 1067 – Relating to Community Meetings. Allows all members of a county council to jointly attend community meetings or presentations, with minimal restrictions. OIP opposes the bill because the 2014 Legislature created a new limited meeting addressing this same issue, which allows all members of a county council to jointly attend community meetings or presentations with various restrictions and requirements designed to protect the public interest. The new limited meeting provision has not been used yet by any county council and will sunset in 2016.
There may be other bills that will be considered by the Legislature and are of interest to OIP. Additionally, OIP’s support or opposition to a bill may change, depending on how a bill is amended. The bills, committee reports, and status can be found on the Legislature’s website at capitol.hawaii.gov.
For the latest open government news, check for archived copies of What’s New articles that are posted here, or e-mailed upon request. To be added to OIP’s e-mail list, please e-mail [email protected]. Also, if you would like to receive What’s New articles or attachments in a Word format, please contact OIP at (808) 586-1400 or [email protected].