Bill would create task force on sunshine law
|||Record seekers find process frustrating|
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer
By Derrick DePledge
With most of the bills relating to open government failing at the state Legislature, the chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee is calling for a task force that would study the state's sunshine law and make recommendations to lawmakers before session next year.
State Rep. Sylvia Luke, D-26th (Punchbowl, Pacific Heights, Nu'uanu Valley), said the task force would look at whether the law is living up to its intent and whether it should be revised or expanded.
"What I would like to do is start a conversation about what the sunshine law is," Luke said.
Advocates for open government persuaded Luke to postpone a hearing today on the task-force bill for a week after complaining they did not have time to review the bill. Public notice for the hearing was given last Friday, but advocates said they could not see a copy of the bill until Luke made it available at her office yesterday morning.
Luke agreed to delay the hearing until March 21.
"It was a concern that a bill about the sunshine law did not have any sunshine," said William E. Woods-Bateman, the chairman of the Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board who is active in open-government issues. "You really didn't have any right and ability to review it."
Other advocates are concerned that the task force language was swapped into a Senate bill that would bar lobbyists from making political donations to lawmakers during session. Luke explained that the restrictions on lobbyists are still alive in the Senate and would be heard in a Senate and House conference committee if the bills advance.
The task force would be made up of representatives from the county councils, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the state Board of Education, the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents, the state office that oversees charter schools, appointees from the House and Senate leadership and the governor's office, and the director of the state Office of Information Practices.
Reach Derrick DePledge at firstname.lastname@example.org.