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Spring 2006

June 2006

President's Message
This Year's Education Bills (Mary Anne Raywid)
Affordable Shelter (Jackie Parnell)
New LWV State Website (Andrea Dean)
2006 Freedom of Information Compliance Audit (Jackie Parnell)
League Makes it to the Wheel (Jean Aoki)
Voter Owned Elections (Clean Elections) (Kory Payne)
Education Committee Report (and why political reform...) (Mary Anne Raywid)
Never Say it Makes No Difference (Jean Aoki)
Court Rules Private Serial Communications Violate State's Sunshine Law
Martha Black Dies
Gambling: Hopefully a Non-Issue This Legislative Session (Judy Rantala)
Century of Accountability (Mary Anne Raywid)
Prophecy Gone Wrong (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
Chapter Reports: Kauai (Carol Bain)
Chapter Reports: Honolulu (Jackie Parnell)
Chapter Reports: Hawaii (Marianna Scheffer)
Chapter Reports: Maui (Joshua Cooper)

2006 Freedom of Information Compliance Audit

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii was one of ten community organizations that conducted the first Freedom of Information Audit of Hawai┬╣i government records. These FOI audits have previously been conducted by chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists since 1988 in over 25 states around the country. The audits assess the degree to which state and local governments comply with open records laws, and help promote public awareness of freedom of information issues.

Thirty-three volunteers, mostly from the League fanned out in February across the state to request records that are unquestionably public records and should be released to a requestor upon request. Results were announced at the Freedom of Information luncheon on March 14

In spite of a pattern of defensiveness and reluctance, compliance was pretty good as 43 of 59 record requests were met. But it took persistence by the volunteers. Only 17 of the 59 record requests were fulfilled on the first visit.

We wanted to make two points:

  • Private citizens should not be required to come back when they are asking for public records. There is little excuse for not releasing records on the spot. Chances are that many will not return because of time or other constraints.
  • Government agencies should stop asking why people want to see records and should refrain from requiring identification from those seeking records.

The types of open government records included: travel expenses, personnel lists, non-bid contracts, consultant contracts, office space and land leases, legal settlements, legal services, criminal information, and restaurant inspection reports.

For the complete audit report see www.hawaiispj.org/foi/foiaudit.htm

Jackie Parnell


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