Saturday, December 3, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, February 17, 2022
SB2916: Prohibit Governor from Suspending UIPA During 'Emergency'
By Grassroot Institute @ 4:27 PM :: 978 Views :: Ethics, COVID-19

Testimony on SB2916: Emergencies should not trump transparency

from Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration Feb. 17, 2022, by the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
_______________

To: Senate Committee on Judiciary
      Senator Karl Rhoads, Chair
      Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, Vice Chair

From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
           Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns

RE: SB2916 — RELATING TO EMERGENCY POWERS

Comments Only

Dear Chair and Committee Members:

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SB2916, which would prohibit the governor or mayor from suspending requests for public records or vital statistics during a declared state of emergency.

Transparency is the best way to ensure accountability in governance. This bill makes it clear that the government’s responsibility to the people does not take a hiatus in an emergency.

Those who are concerned that this proposal would hinder government agencies from carrying out their duties in an emergency need not worry. Hawaii’s open-records statute already addresses that possibility by providing flexibility to agencies that require an extended time to respond, as in a delay caused by an emergency. Thus, any suspension of open-records laws by the governor or mayors is unnecessary and redundant.

Early in the COVID-19 emergency, Gov. David Ige suspended Hawaii’s open-records and sunshine laws — an extreme response that was not taken by any other state.

Not only did his action raise questions about the health rationale for the suspension, but it also undermined public trust in the workings of government at a time when that trust was needed more than ever.

In our policy brief “Lockdowns Versus Liberty,” we looked at how the state’s emergency-management law could be reformed in light of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 lockdowns. One of the points made was that government transparency is even more important in times of emergency, since a lack of accurate information about government decision-making can lead to a loss of public trust.

Open government is not only at the core of our constitutional principles, it is also essential to uphold public faith in the decision-making of our leaders and the democratic process.

We understand that the executive needs leeway to handle an emergency as needed, but that is not a carte blanche to suspend laws because they are merely inconvenient. Instead, government actions during an emergency should be narrowly tailored to demonstrate a connection between the actions and the protection of public health or safety.

Hawaii’s experience with the COVID-19 lockdowns has raised important questions about the scope of executive power under the state’s emergency-management statute. This bill, if enacted, would be a good start toward protecting civil rights and open government during an emergency.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.

Sincerely,

Ted Kefalas
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

RELATED:
Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT