Dear Ms. Veillard,
Thank you for inviting our comments on SB 438, Relating to Board of Education Meetings.
This is a bill that the League team that addresses bills relating to open government missed because the title had not caught their attention. Therefore, we welcome this opportunity to comment on this bill.
The League of Women Voters recommends that Governor Lingle veto SB 438.
The League is a strong supporter of transparency in government and access to government proceedings on the part of the public. Realizing that this does add a certain amount of inconvenience for government officials and government agencies, we are convinced that that that is the necessary price we must pay to advance a truly democratic form of government.
The Director of the Office of Information Practices, Paul Tsukiyama, has explained in his testimony why this bill is not necessary. We already have in our statutes, provisions for emergency meetings such as the Board of Education anticipates as necessary during the legislative sessions. We will not repeat Mr. Tsukiyama's observations and explanations.
Instead, we would like to bring to your attention the likelihood that should this bill be enacted into law, other bodies, agencies, boards, etc.will be demanding the same consideration. The same opportunity for exemption from the six-day notice provision exists for all of them in our present law. This law does expect a bit more planning, a little more exertion on their part, but it does keep the purpose of the sunshine law firmly in their minds.
Again, we thank you for this opportunity to comment on SB 438.