Monday, April 06, 2020


Governor Ige's suspension of Hawaii's "Sunshine Law" during COVID-19 crisis does not allow gov't to hold secret meetings

Boards, commissions and city councils may believe the Governor's suspension of 92F allows them to hold meetings or keep records out of the public view. Not so.

Hawaii public interest attorney Lance Collins writes that although Hawaii's Gov. Ige suspended state law Chapter 92F, Haw. Rev. Statutes, "that provides a uniform procedure by which a member of the public may inspect and copy a government record as well as protect personal information," he points out that "It does not establish the right of members of the public to inspect and copy such records and it does not independently establish a duty of an agency to provide access. Those rights and duties are established by several constitutional provisions, the Charter as well as the common law."

Although Collins' letter references the Maui County Charter, he found the same basic provisions in the charters of each Hawaii county:

County of Hawai'i Charter
Section 10-3(d) Proposed Budget and Message Public Record
Section 10-4 Public Hearing on Operating and Capital Budget
Section 10-7 Budget Public Record
Section 13-20(a) County Records are Open to Public Inspection
Section 13-20(b) Council, Board and Commissions Meetings Open to Public

City and County of Honolulu Charter
Section 3-107(8) Council Meetings Open to the Public
Section 3-404(3) Ordinances Require Three Readings Including a Public
Section 7-110 Public Hearings on Fixing/Adjusting Rates/Proposed Budget
of Board of Water Supply
Section 9-104(1) Council required to hold public hearing on proposed
city budget(s)
Section 13-105 Records Open to the Public
Section 13-106 Public Hearings; Notice Requirements
Section 17-107 Public Hearing on Proposed Budget of Public Transit Authority

County of Kauai Charter
Section 3.07(E) Council and Committee Meetings Open to the Public
Section 19.07(A) Proposed Budget Subject to Council Public hearing(s)
Section 23.08(A) County Records Open to Public Inspection
Section 23.08(B) Board and Commission Meetings Open to Public
Section 30.03(F) Electric Cooperative Board Meetings Open to Public

Download Open Government Requirements During Emergency from Disappeared News



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