Opinion Letter No. 05-07
March 31, 2005
Public Testimony When Non-Sunshine Law Requirements Apply
The Department of the Corporation Counsel, City and
County of Honolulu, asked the OIP for an opinion on several issues
regarding the public’s right to testify at a meeting subject
to the Sunshine Law, part I of chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes
The OIP concluded that boards other than the Land
Use Commission are not subject to the Sunshine Law during the exercise
of their adjudicatory functions. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-6 (1993).
Thus, boards conducting contested case hearings or other adjudicatory
processes need not follow the Sunshine Law’s public testimony
requirements while doing so. There is no Sunshine Law exception
for boards holding public hearings on proposed rules under section
91-3, HRS, however. Boards must take care to follow the Sunshine
Law’s requirements as well as the requirements of 91-3 during
the rulemaking process.
Finally, if a board finds that it has failed
to give adequate notice of an item as required by another law or
ordinance, even though the notice was adequate under the Sunshine
Law, the board can avoid violating the notice requirements of the
other law by canceling the meeting or canceling the individual agenda
item without discussion.