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Holding power accountable

On March 16, 2020, Hawaii Governor Ige by emergency proclamation suspended Hawaii’s open meetings law, known as the Sunshine Law.

The Sunshine Law allows for the public to know what our government is doing, when it is meeting, and what it is discussing. Government cannot be allowed to operate in the dark, especially in this unprecedented moment. Suspending the Sunshine Law and shredding of our democratic values cannot be justified in the name of public health.

In response to the suspension, Common Cause Hawaii:

  • Sent a letter along with over 40 other coalition partners and individuals, to Governor Ige, asking him to rescind his order suspending the Sunshine Law during the COVID crisis. The Governor issued a responsive letter.
  • Common Cause Hawaii with the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest penned an OpEd in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser calling for open government.
  • Common Cause Hawaii and the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest participated in a webinar discussing upholding government transparency during a crisis hosted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

With Common Cause Hawaii’s advocacy and coalition support, Governor Ige issued a supplemental seventh emergency proclamation dated May 5, 2020 that stepped back from the blanket suspensions of the state open meetings and public records laws.

Read the Governor’s latest proclamations here. Read media coverage of Common Cause Hawaii’s efforts to restore the sunshine and transparency here.

Your support of our advocacy was instrumental in achieving this partial reversal of the sunshine law suspension. We must continue to be vigilant to ensure that government boards and commissions are being open and transparent.


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