THE SENATE                           S.C.R. NO.            127
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


                    SENATE  CONCURRENT
                        RESOLUTION

  REQUESTING THE LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE BUREAU TO CONDUCT A STUDY
    TO DETERMINE IF HAWAII'S ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT AND
    PUBLIC AGENCY MEETINGS AND RECORDS LAWS ARE CURRENTLY
    DRAFTED TO ENSURE THAT DISCUSSIONS, DELIBERATIONS,
    DECISIONS, AND ACTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE CONDUCTED AS
    OPENLY AS POSSIBLE.



 1        WHEREAS, in a democracy, the people are vested with the
 2   ultimate decision making power; and 
 3   
 4        WHEREAS, government agencies exist to aid the people in
 5   the formation and conduct of public policy; and 
 6   
 7        WHEREAS, Hawaii has numerous administrative procedures and
 8   public proceedings and records laws that seek to allow public
 9   participation in the governmental process, including Chapters
10   91, 92, and 92F of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS); and 
11   
12        WHEREAS, the intent of these "sunshine" laws is to open up
13   the governmental processes to public scrutiny and
14   participation, alert constituents regarding government
15   decisions which affect them, and ensure inclusive and differing
16   points of views are considered by the government; and
17   
18        WHEREAS, the Legislature declared in Chapters 91 and 92F,
19   HRS, that "it is the policy of this State that the formation
20   and conduct of public policy - the discussions, deliberations,
21   decisions, and action of government agencies - shall be
22   conducted as openly as possible"; and
23   
24        WHEREAS, public participation and scrutiny in governmental
25   processes is the only viable and reasonable method of
26   protecting the public's interest; and
27   
28        WHEREAS, public participation and scrutiny in governmental
29   processes:
30   
31        (1)  Means the public is allowed input and affect the
32             decision making process;

 
Page 2                                                     
                                     S.C.R. NO.         127
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1   
 2        (2)  Promotes the public interest in disclosure;
 3   
 4        (3)  Provides for accurate, relevant, timely, and complete
 5             government records; 
 6   
 7        (4)  Enhances governmental accountability through a
 8             general policy of access to government records; and
 9   
10        (5)  Makes government accountable to individuals in the
11             collection, use, and dissemination of information
12             relating to them; 
13   
14   and
15   
16        WHEREAS, a week-long series, by the Honolulu Advertiser,
17   beginning on February 14, 1999, entitled, "Access Denied, How
18   Government Secrecy Hurts You" raised concerns that Hawaii's
19   "sunshine" laws are not applicable in many instances of
20   government operations, for example, currently:
21   
22        (1)  The Governor may restrict the expenditure of public
23             moneys approved in the budget without holding a
24             public hearing;
25   
26        (2)  Government agencies are not required to hold public
27             hearings on all land use matters; and
28   
29        (3)  Boards and commissions, in private, may deliberate
30             and discuss matters before them in their official
31             capacities;
32   
33   and
34   
35        WHEREAS, the Legislature believes these concerns should be
36   addressed in order to ensure that the spirit of the "sunshine"
37   law is properly maintained; now, therefore,
38   
39        BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twentieth Legislature
40   of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 1999, the House of
41   Representatives concurring, that the Legislative Reference
42   Bureau conduct a study to determine if Hawaii's administrative

 
 
 
 
 
Page 3                                                     
                                     S.C.R. NO.         127
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1   procedures and public proceedings and records laws currently
 2   ensure that discussions, deliberations, decisions, and actions
 3   of governmental agencies are conducted as openly as possible;
 4   and 
 5   
 6        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Reference
 7   Bureau recommend amendments to the State's administrative
 8   procedures and public proceedings and records laws to ensure
 9   that the concerns addressed in this Concurrent Resolution are
10   resolved and that discussions, deliberations, decisions, and
11   actions of governmental agencies are conducted as openly as
12   possible; and 
13   
14        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Reference
15   Bureau, after consulting with the Office of Information
16   Practices, is requested to report findings and recommendations
17   to the Legislature twenty days before the convening of the
18   Regular Session of 2000; and 
19   
20        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
21   Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of the
22   Legislative Reference Bureau and the Office of Information
23   Practices.
24 
25 
26 
27                         OFFERED BY:  ____________________________