HOWEVER, MEASURE’S SCOPE AND INTENT HAVE BEEN DILUTED
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 1, 2010) — On Tuesday, the Hawaii legislature passed SB2937/CD1, which amends the state UIPA law to allow for a state agency to refuse the release of government records under certain circumstances.
While the “report title” of the amended section still refers to the bill as “Information Practices; Vexatious Requests,” the wording from earlier versions of the bill is substantially different.
The original proposed amendment to the existing UIPA law, dated January 28, 2010, was directed at allowing a state agency to deny the requests of those deemed to be “vexatious requesters.” It listed seven situations which could result in the decision to label a person “vexatious.” However, it allowed for a review of such a decision by the ombudsman as part of an appeal process by the requester.
Text from the February 25, 2010 version retained the focus on “vexatious requesters” and the seven factors used to determine whether or not a person fell into that category, but it eliminated the appeal process to the ombudsman.
A more recent, but not final, version of the bill was amended to focus on “duplicative requests,” thereby eliminating the seven factors mentioned in previous versions. Instead, five conditions which might allow an agency not to respond to a request were listed.
The latest amendment which passed both legislative chambers and is awaiting the governor’s signature states that a state agency does not have to respond to a request for information if the same request had been made within the last year by the same individual. It does not mention the term “vexatious requester” except in the “Report Title” listed at the end of the amendment, and the five conditions are reduced to three.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.