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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunshine law lets citizens be part of process

By Karen Simmons

There is an unwritten rule that when we elect someone into a government position, we are entrusting them to uphold the laws and best interests of the community.

We expect that those elected officials will be forthright, open and honest about the decisions they make. We expect that if a decision is made that is in opposition to our beliefs, that, at least, we will be given the rationale in their decision-making.

We expect accountability and integrity in our government and the individuals we have elected to serve us.

However, these expectations have not always been met. And therefore, we have the sunshine law to protect us. This law enables citizens to be a part of the decision-making process, and it should be applied to all aspects of our government, including the state Legislature.

But once applied, the sunshine law is just the beginning.

Citizens must use the information provided by the law to assist in the process of governance and policy-making decisions by communicating their thoughts and opinions with their elected officials.

Only then will the law fulfill its objectives.