STAND. COM. REP. NO. 686
RE: S.B. No. 134
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 134, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EMERGENCY POWERS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to prohibit the Governor or mayors from suspending requests for public or vital statistics records during a declared state of emergency.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, All Hawaii News, and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Office of Information Practices, Common Cause Hawaii, and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
Your Committee finds that access to information is critical for enabling citizens to exercise their voice, to effectively monitor and hold government to account, and stands as a pillar of a functioning democracy. Existing law allows the Governor or a mayor to suspend requests for public or vital statistics records during a declared state of emergency. And while it is important for the government to have flexibility and broad emergency power, there needs to be guardrails in place to prevent the overreach of those powers. This measure will act as a guardrail against governmental overreach by prohibiting the Governor or a mayor from suspending requests for public or vital statistics records during a declared state of emergency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 134, S.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair