STAND. COM. REP. NO. 549
RE: S.B. No. 661
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Government Operations, to which was referred S.B. No. 661 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO BOARD MEETINGS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to allow boards the option to use interactive conference technology to conduct remote meetings in compliance with the Sunshine Law, while retaining the option to conduct traditional in-person meetings at a single meeting site or at multiple meeting sites connected by interactive conference technology.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Information Practices, Executive Office on Aging, Disability and Communication Access Board, Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission, Big Island Press Club, The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, All Hawaii News, Common Cause Hawaii, League of Women Voters of Hawaii, National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii, and eight individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Professional and Vocational Licensing Division and Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund.
Your Committee finds that during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, emergency measures have been implemented to allow boards to continue meeting and conducting necessary business while protecting participants' health and safety and expanding public access to meetings throughout the State. Your Committee further finds that, even after stay-at-home-orders due to COVID-19 are no longer necessary, circumstances may arise in which remote board meetings would be beneficial. Your Committee additionally finds that remote meetings can protect the health and safety of participants and that should remote meetings continue in non-emergency times, permanent amendments must be made to the state sunshine laws.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting an effective date of December 31, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Government Operations that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 661, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 661, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Government Operations,
SHARON MORIWAKI, Chair