Honolulu Star-Advertiser – Editorial: Restore access to public meetings

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser editors endorse the proposed strategy by a Common Cause Hawaii-led coalition for the state to maintain the intent of the Sunshine Law.

In response to the first signs of COVID-19 community spread in Hawaii, Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation in mid-March that, In addition to sensible provisions, included a puzzling suspension of a state public access law. The appalling upshot is that government bodies and agencies are now free to push forward with policy-making decisions while keeping the public in the dark, as they are not required to provide even a bare minimum of access to public meetings A coalition of open-government advocates led by Common Cause Hawaii has proposed a reasonable strategy for maintaining the intent of the law as the state continues to grapple with coronavirus outbreak concerns. For starters, it asserts that just as citizens are deferring nonessential travel and activity, so should government defer noncritical policy-making decisions until “full and meaningful public involvement can be guaranteed.”