STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1252
RE: H.B. No. 522
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, to which was referred H.B. No. 522, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to remove the ability of the Governor or a mayor to suspend electronic media transmission during a state of emergency.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from one member of the Hawai‘i County Council; League of Women Voters of Hawaii; Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest; Hawaii Bulletin; For Our Rights; Society of Professional Journalists, Hawaii Chapter; Big Island Press Club; All Hawaii News; Hawaii Association of Broadcasters, Inc.; National Association of Broadcasters; and three individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency and twenty-four individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and one individual.
Your Committee finds that the power of a mayor or the Governor to suspend the transmission of electronic media during a state of emergency is overly broad and vague. Electronic media could include not only all radio and television broadcasts, but also text messages, emails, and posts to social media platforms. Your Committee believes that suspensions of electronic media transmission may unduly restrain lawful free speech and publication and violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution during a period of emergency. This measure will ensure that the public's First Amendment rights remain protected during a state of emergency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 522, H.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs,
GLENN WAKAI, Chair