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Holding power accountable

On March 16, 2020, Hawaii Governor Ige by emergency proclamation suspended Hawaii’s open meetings law (a.k.a., Sunshine Law) and a further proclamation suspended it through May 31, 2020.

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, 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.  Efforts are underway through the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office to negotiate guidelines and best practices that government boards and agencies are to follow to comport with the Sunshine Law during these times of crisis.
  • 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.
  • Additional information about Common Cause Hawaii’s efforts to restore the sunshine and transparency may be found here.

With Common Cause Hawaii’s advocacy and coalition support, Governor Ige issued a supplemental seventh emergency proclamation dated May 5, 2020 that steps back from the blanket suspensions of the state open meetings and public records laws. Your support of our advocacy was instrumental in achieving this reversal of the sunshine law suspension. We must continue to be vigilant to ensure that government boards and commissions are being open and transparent.

Elections update

  • Hawaii will be voting by mail in the upcoming primary elections on August 8th and general elections on November 3rd.
  • Every registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail approximately 18 days prior to the August 8th primary elections and November 3rd general elections.
  • Register to vote online at https://olvr.hawaii.gov.
  • Double check your voter registration address to ensure you receive your ballot package at https://olvr.hawaii.gov.
  • Sign up to become an AeVote Ambassador here to be a Common Cause Hawaii vote by mail advocate and teacher!

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