Maui Council Committee to Consider Improvements to Sunshine Law

Maui county councilmember Michael Molina.

The Governance, Ethics and Transparency Committee will consider whether to ask the state Legislature to amend the Sunshine Law to allow for remote meetings.  The committee meeting will take place online on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Committee Chair Michael Molina said members will also consider other proposals to change state statutes for the benefit of county residents.  If they advance, the items will be included in the 2021 Maui County Council and Hawaiʻi State Association of Counties legislative packages.

Molina notes that the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund case on the Clean Water Act’s applicability to Lahaina injection wells—pending in the US District Court in Honolulu following a US Supreme Court ruling on April 23—won’t be discussed at the request of a federal-court mediator.

“Since the governor’s first stay-at-home order in March, the council and its committees have been meeting remotely with the videoconference program called BlueJeans, ensuring we can continue to do the public’s business while prioritizing public safety,” said Molina. “We’ve discovered using this technology to conduct online meetings promotes accessibility as residents can testify by phone or logging on to from home or wherever they are.

“The governor has partially suspended the open meetings statute, known as the Sunshine Law, to authorize remote meetings. We will consider whether we want to ask the Legislature to amend the statute and permanently allow meetings by remote technology since this has proven to be a great success in promoting civic engagement,” he said. 

Molina said the committee will also consider a proposal to revise the membership of the county’s Conservation Planning Committee to dedicate seats for residents of Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and East Maui. The agenda also includes resolutions to approve the police department’s records disposition schedule and authorize a legal settlement.

Tuesday’s online meeting is open to the public and public testimony will be accepted.

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