Politics — Help Liberate Our Council Members To Speak Freely On Blogs

On another thread I made the statement that our seated politicians don't generally comment on blogs and that is not being with the times. But since I made the statement earlier today I have heard from at least one Hawaii County council member who reminded me of the Corporation Counsel opinion that it would be a violation of the Sunshine Law — as it is currently written — to engage constituents via social media.  The State Office of Information Practices is seeking to update the Sunshine Law, and submitted legislation to update the Sunshine Law to specifically refer to the internet, blogs and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.  The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, will hear HB 2597 at 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10, 2012.  Express your support for the legislation by emailing repkeithagaran@capitol.hawaii.gov. (Image courtesy of Malice In Blunderland)

5 replies
  1. Brian Jordan
    Brian Jordan says:

    Free speech in America Sorry it won’t fly in Hawaii. We have only one way. The way we have always done. Wher did citizens get the idea that free speech was a Right. Oh yeah the US Constitution. Which is very rarely taught in any depth.

  2. John
    John says:

    I am still wondering how a comment that any member of the public can read can be a violation of the sunshine law. It seems most illogical.

  3. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    I agree, John.
    Apparently, the true concern lies with Facebook and message boards that not all the constituency has access to, and that concern is translating to a complete avoidance of any form of Internet communication until the Sunshine Law spells out stuff like serial communication — say J Yoshimoto engaged the public here. And then Brittany Smart chimed in. There is an argument to be made that none of the remaining seven council members could participate in the blog discussion.
    Or, because the council members discussed an issue on the blog prior to taking it up officially on the Council floor, that is a Sunshine Law violation.

  4. Cheryl King
    Cheryl King says:

    In skimming the bill in question, I notice that the bill pertains to “Boards” and does not specifically mention the county council. I am wondering if this bill pertains to its members as well.

    The bill’s “description” states:
    Allows board members to hear testimony for a meeting canceled for lack of quorum, to attend informational meetings, and to discuss board business via social media; provides for electronic meeting notices.


  5. Andy Parx
    Andy Parx says:

    See “Definitions” Cheryl. 92.2(1)
    (1) “Board” means any agency, board, commission, authority, or committee of the State or its political subdivisions which is created by constitution, statute, rule, or executive order, to have supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power over specific matters and which is required to conduct meetings and to take official actions.

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