2001 Legislative Wrap-Up: Information Practices
OIP Opinion: Historic Preservation Records Public
During the 2001 Legislative Session, the Office of Information Practices
(OIP) reviewed over 200 bills for their effect on government information
practices. The bills listed below, unless otherwise noted, passed
both houses of the Legislature and were sent to the Governor.
Public Employee Health Benefits
SB 1044 SD1 HD1 CD1 (signed into law as Act 88) establishes the
Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefit Trust as a single health benefit
delivery system for State and county employees. Provides that the
Board of Trustees shall be appointed by the Governor and shall administer
the fund and establish the health benefits plan.
The OIP, noting that the bill originally allowed the
board to meet without notice, testified that the board should be
subject to the notice requirements for meetings in the State’s
sunshine law (Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes). The bill was
amended to require the board chairperson to give at least six days’
written notice of meetings.
Hawaii Commission for National and Community Service
SB 1535 SD2 HD1 CD1 creates the Hawaii Commission for National and
Community Service. Requires all meetings of the commission to be
conducted subject to Chapter 92, HRS.
Privacy of Health Care Information
HB 201 HD1 SD2 CD1 repeals Act 87 (Chapter 323C, HRS), relating
to the privacy of health care information, and repeals related acts.
Act 87, signed into law June 23, 1999, was aimed at protecting the
privacy of patient records. In August 2000, a special session of
the Legislature postponed the effective date of Chapter 323C from
July 1, 2000, to July 1, 2001. The 2001 Legislature has now repealed
Meanwhile, the federal medical privacy rules adopted
by the Department of Health and Human Services under the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 are being implemented
this year by the Bush administration. For more details on the history
of the medical privacy law in Hawaii, see the July-August 2000 issue
of Openline, available online at www.state.hi.us/oip.
SB 1119 SD2 HD1 CD1 allows for electronic recordkeeping by drug
dispensers and for electronic prescriptions from practitioners to
dispensers. Requires any person who transmits, maintains, or receives
any prescription to ensure the security, integrity, and confidentiality
of the prescription.
HB 1211 HD1 SD1 CD1 establishes provisions relating to disclosure
for firearms permit and registration purposes. Provides that a health
care provider or public health authority shall disclose health information,
including protected health care information, relating to an individual’s
mental health history, to the appropriate county chief of police
provided that the information shall be used only for the purpose
of evaluating the individual’s fitness to acquire or own a
firearm, and the individual has signed a waiver permitting such
Privacy of Financial Records
SB 1550 SD2 HD1 adds a new article to Chapter 431, HRS, governing
the treatment of financial information about individuals by all
insurers. The OIP testified against the bill because it failed to
adequately protect the privacy of citizens’ financial information.
SB 1068 SD1 HD2 CD1 adopts the National Association of Insurance
Commissioners’ Producer Licensing Model Act, effective July
1, 2002. The OIP testified against a section of the bill that exempts
the insurance commissioner from the requirements of Chapter 92F,
HRS, and creates a new confidentiality statute, making all of the
insurance division’s records pertaining to an investigation
confidential. The OIP generally opposes new confidentiality statutes
unless they are absolutely necessary. The UIPA already contains
five exceptions to disclosure, listed at section 92F-13, HRS.
SB 1060 SD1 HD2 CD1 requires information contained in any applications
or record to be made available to the public unless that information
may be withheld from public disclosure by the Commissioner of Financial
Institutions under the Uniform Information Practices Act (Chapter
92F, HRS). As originally drafted, the bill would have allowed the
Commissioner to decide which records could be withheld from public
disclosure without reference to Chapter 92F, HRS.
Criminal History Record Checks
HB 161 HD2 SD2 CD1 creates a temporary working group within the
Department of the Attorney General to make recommendations on policy
issues concerning access and use of criminal history record information
for employment and licensing purposes.
SB 805 SD1 HD1 allows the narcotics enforcement division to disclose
investigative information to pharmacists for purposes of investigating
violations of controlled substances law.
SB 951 SD1 HD1 requires the Department of the Attorney General to
be responsible for the collection, storage, dissemination, and analysis
of all hate crime data. The OIP opposed the bill because the definition
of hate crimes data is far too broad and could lead to the collection
of inappropriate information.
SB 1110 SD2 HD3 CD1 adds child abuse checks as a requirement for
licensed child care providers and staff, and requires the Department
of Human Services to disclose verified conviction criminal history
and child abuse information on employees to their employers.
Children’s Advocacy Program
SB 1455 SD1 HD1 CD1 changes the name of the Children’s Advocacy
Program to the Children’s Justice Program. Requires the program
to coordinate information sharing among participating agencies.
Clarifies its mission as reducing and preventing unnecessary trauma
to children as witnesses.
A record requester made several requests for records
of the Department of Land and Natural Resources State Historic Preservation
Division ("SHPD") over the course of several months. SHPD
provided some records, and indicated that others were not maintained.
At least twenty-seven written requests for records, however, were
not responded to in accordance with the UIPA and OIP administrative
The OIP attempted several times to elicit information
from SHPD on the reasons for its nondisclosure. Finally, the OIP
opined that since no information was presented to show that any
of the information requested was not public, SHPD should allow the
requester to make an appointment to come in and view the requested
information, and if asked, SHPD should provide the requester with
copies of the requested records. [OIP Op. Ltr. No. 00-3, Oct. 31,
The Office of Information Practices welcomes new staff attorney
Georgia Fligg. Georgia is a graduate of the University of Hawaii
and the law school of the University of Colorado at Boulder. She
spent a semester at the Colorado Supreme Court as a judicial fellow,
worked in the Denver district office of the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, and worked at the American Civil Liberties Union in
Denver. Georgia has also worked in pension plan administration.
She won the National Native American Law Student Moot Court Competition
held at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University
of Hawaii. Georgia’s interests include hiking and mountain
biking. Welcome, Georgia!
The office also welcomes Joy Fujimoto, Secretary to
the Director. Joy comes to the OIP after almost ten years at the
Judiciary. She is a graduate of St. Andrew’s Priory School
and the University of Phoenix (Honolulu), with a degree in business
information systems. Joy spends most of her spare time with her
daughter, Lauren, who "plays well with others" and excels
at math in her kindergarten class. Lauren also displayed other talents
in a recent May Day performance, where she sparkled as one of a
"school" of singing and dancing humuhumunukunukuapua’a.
In other news, two OIP staff members have transferred.
John Cole, staff attorney, moved to the Legislature before the 2001
session. John is now in the office of Representative Marcus Oshiro,
Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. Lorena Leigh, former
secretary to the Director, moved to the office of the Deputy Director
of the Department of Design and Construction, City and County of
Honolulu. John and Lorena, we wish you great satisfaction and success
in your new positions!
Thank you to Pat Shields and Bonnie Trustin, two temporary
workers who provided big assistance recently.
The OIP is pleased to announce that staff attorney
Jennifer Brooks has a brand new son, her first child, born on November
14, 2000. Congratulations, Jennifer!