THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

523

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO FAIR PUBLIC ACCESS.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that a centralized system of state government provides for efficient coordination of government functions and services, especially for a population spread out over separate islands. However, issues relating to accessibility and delivery of government information, services, and proceedings to residents living on the neighbor islands as well as rural Oahu remain an ongoing challenge, in part because of the centralized location of state government in Honolulu's urban core.

The legislature further finds that the residents of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, Niihau, and rural Oahu are disadvantaged because of their location away from the seat of government in Honolulu. This is true even though advancements in technology, especially in the field of telecommunications, have significantly reduced physical distance as a limitation on the ability of these residents to access government information, personnel, and proceedings.

The legislature believes it is the responsibility of government, through its executive, legislative, and judicial branches, to ensure that the residents of all islands have fair access to government information, services, and proceedings. To this end, the legislature finds that a statewide fair access commission, such as the one convened in 1989, may prove beneficial in providing recommendations to the governor. Moreover, the joint legislative access committee, statutorily created in 1996, has similar duties and thus is the most appropriate body to recommend ways to ensure fair access to legislative proceedings and information.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Authorize the governor to establish a statewide fair access commission;

(2) Require the statewide fair access commission and the joint legislative access committee to review, evaluate, and make recommendations for improving the level of access by neighbor island and rural Oahu residents to proceedings, information, and services of government; and

(3) Appropriate funds to carry out the work of the fair access commission.

SECTION 2. Chapter 27, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"27-   Fair access to state government. (a) The office of the governor shall be responsible for ensuring that residents throughout the State have fair access to information, services, and proceedings of the executive branch of state government.

(b) Pursuant to subsection (a), the governor may appoint a statewide fair access commission composed of representatives from all the islands in the State to review, evaluate, and make recommendations for improving the level of access to all functions of the executive branch by residents on the neighbor islands and rural Oahu.

(c) The legislature shall be responsible for ensuring fair access to information, services, and proceedings of the legislative branch through programs that enable residents statewide to have access to electronic broadcasts and on-demand electronic recordings of legislative proceedings, legislative documents, and public education and other services through technologies that allow access by residents on all islands in the State.

(d) The judiciary shall be responsible for ensuring fair access to information, services, and proceedings of the judicial branch."

SECTION 3. Section 21D-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]21D-6 Joint legislative access committee.[]] There is established the joint legislative access committee which shall be composed of members of the legislature. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint a co-chair and two members or more to the committee, one of whom shall be a member of the minority party.

The committee shall:

(1) Oversee the staff and operations of the legislative broadcast [project,] program and recommend policies for the [project] program, which shall be adopted by concurrent resolution; [and]

(2) Review the operations of the public access room, legislative internet project, and other public access projects of the legislature and recommend policies for these projects to the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives[.]; and

(3) Review and evaluate the level of access to proceedings, information, and services of the legislature by residents on the neighbor islands and in rural Oahu and make recommendations to the presiding officers of the house of representatives and the senate for improving access."

SECTION 4. Section 27-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"27-1 Functions of statewide concern. The purpose of the chapter is to fix responsibility for certain functions, which are of statewide concern, in the state government. These functions which are declared to be state functions are as follows:

(1) Planning, construction, improvement and maintenance of public school facilities and grounds and the transportation of school children; provided that nothing in this paragraph shall preclude the several counties from expending their own funds to supplement state funds;

(2) Burial of indigents;

(3) Planning, construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of public hospitals and other public health and medical facilities;

(4) Rendering of medical treatment and hospitalization services to state and county pensioners;

(5) Administration and operation of district courts; and

(6) Providing information [and], services, and access to government proceedings to the public through joint cooperation with the several counties[.] and a program to ensure fair access for residents living on the neighbor islands and in rural Oahu."

SECTION 5. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2015-2016 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 to establish and carry out the work of the statewide fair access commission.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the office of the governor for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2015.


 


 

Report Title:

State Government; Statewide Fair Access Commission; Neighbor Island Access; Rural Access; Appropriation

 

Description:

Requires the governor, legislature including the joint legislative access committee, and judiciary to ensure public access to information, services, and proceedings of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, respectively. Authorizes the governor to convene a statewide fair access commission to review public access issues for the neighbor islands and rural Oahu. Appropriates funds to establish and carry out the work of the statewide fair access commission. (SD1)

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.