Chair Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran, Vice-Chair Maile S.L. Shimabukuro, and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters opposes SB 465. The bill allows a member of a public board to transmit any “… government record for which disclosure is required…” to other board members “… provided that no commitment relating to a vote on the matter is made or sought … in the means of transmittal”. Unfortunately, SB 465 would create two unacceptable loopholes in Hawaii’s Sunshine Law under which board members could use memos and email to privately, serially discuss and even make voting commitments on matters before the board outside of any board meeting.
Although a transmittal memo or transmittal email could not directly make or seek a voting commitment, SB 465, as drafted, would authorize a member of a public board to use a transmittal memo or transmittal email (forwarding an attached government record) to express opinions on board matters to other board members. Moreover, if a board member authored and authorized public disclosure of a policy memo which expressed opinions, made voting commitments, or sought voting commitments about matters before the board, SB 465 would allow that policy memo to be transmitted to other board members outside of any
board meeting. Such a policy memo would constitute a “government record” which would have to be disclosed under Section 92F-12(b)(1), Hawaii Revised Statutes.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony.