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Monday, March 16, 2020
COVID-19: Council, DHHL, Legislators Cut Public Access
By News Release @ 7:25 PM :: 929 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Health Care

UPDATE March 16, 2020: Legislative Session Suspended due to Corona Virus

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SB2038: COVID-19 Becomes Excuse to Abolish Sunshine Law 

CB: … Senate Bill 2038 would exempt boards from Hawaii’s Sunshine Law on meetings when emergencies like COVID-19 are in effect….On Monday afternoon the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to decide the fate of Senate Bill 2038, which could give government boards the authority to exclude the public from board meetings under two conditions: that the meetings are accessible via “interactive conference technology,” and when Hawaii is under a state of emergency “due to a contagious illness,” as the latest proposed draft of the bill reads….

An emergency proclamation has been in place since March 5, when Gov. David Ige allowed the state “to work quickly and efficiently to prevent, contain and mitigate the spread” of coronavirus and to provide disaster relief if necessary.

But the idea to exclude the public from being in the same room when board members meet came Thursday at the behest of the very state agency tasked with making sure the public has access to meetings and records….

SB2038: Text, Status  UPDATE: "This measure has been deleted from the meeting scheduled on Monday 03-16-20 2:05PM in conference room 325."

read … Don’t Keep The Public From Participating In Public Policy During A Crisis

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PUBLIC BRIEFING FOR GRANT-IN-AID APPLICATIONS CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19 CONCERNS

News Release from Hawaii House Democratic Caucus, March 10, 2020:

All eligible applications may submit summary of 2020 GIA request

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Due to concerns and uncertainty caused by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Joint Committees on Senate Ways and Means and House Finance will not be conducting a public briefing for Grant-In-Aid applications.

In order to minimize the risk to residents, the committee will be instituting a process that avoids additional travel and a large gathering of people.

In lieu of a public briefing and testimony the Joint Committee notes that:

  • Applications are available to legislators and the public at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2020/2020GIA-Apps/,
  • Applicants can submit a two-page, single sided summary of their 2020 GIA request at GIATestimony@Capitol.Hawaii.Gov,
  • All eligible applications will be considered regardless of whether a summary is received,
  • All summaries will be provided to members of the Joint Committee for consideration,
  • All summaries should be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday, March 13.

For more information, call (808) 586-6200 or (808) 586-6800.

PDF: Memo Cancelling Hearing

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PUC Closes Office to Public

IM: ...  The Public Utilities Commission has a general web site and a Document Management System, the latter allowing advanced searches of virtually all filings made in the last twenty years.

The Public Utilities Commission issued Emergency Procedures Order No. 37043 as a precautionary response to the global threat posed by COVID-19.

The Commission will suspend any and all hard copy filing requirements, and furthermore, will no longer be accepting any hard copy filings.

The commission`s electronic filing system will be upgraded in the near future to be able to handle the filing of confidential documents.

All of the commission's physical offices are closed to non-commission employees....

read ... Electronic Filings, Videoconferencing for Hawai`i Judiciary and Public Utilities Commission

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Hawai‘i State Capitol Public Access Room temporarily closed

News Release from Hawaii Senate Democratic Caucus, March 11, 2020

Hawai‘i Senate and House leaders informed legislators and staff today that, out of an abundance of caution, the Capitol’s Public Access Room will be closed until March 18 after an employee’s roommate came into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. No one who works at the Hawai‘i State Capitol has tested positive for, or shown any symptoms of COVID-19.

The employee at Public Access Room today informed colleagues of the following: The employee’s roommate, a rideshare driver, was informed by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health yesterday that a passenger the roommate drove on March 4 tested positive for COVID-19.  As a precautionary measure, DOH asked the roommate to self-quarantine for 14 days even though the roommate has been symptom free.

At no time have either the roommate or the employee of the Public Access Room exhibited any symptoms. Therefore, based upon CDC guidelines and DOH current policies, they were not tested by the Hawai‘i Department of Health and are extremely unlikely to have been infected. However, out of an abundance of caution, the employee and the employee’s colleagues in the Public Access Room were sent home and the Public Access Room will undergo a thorough cleaning.

All essential functions of the Hawai‘i State Legislature will continue. 

SA: Hawaii Capitol’s Public Access Room closes due to connection to Canadian doctor with coronavirus  

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Corona Virus vs Transparency: Honolulu City Council budget briefings postponed indefinitely

SA: … Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson this morning announced the indefinite suspension of Council departmental budget briefings scheduled for today, Monday and Tuesday.

Anderson made the announcement just as the Department of Emergency Management was about to present its budget overview to the Council Budget Committee.

The postponements are among the latest in a string of cancellations or delays of gatherings caused by concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision was made after discussing the matter with Council Vice Chairman Ann Kobayashi, Anderson said.

He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser afterward that the full Council’s 10:15 a.m. special meeting today, its 10:15 a.m. special meeting and 10 a.m. Wednesday meeting will proceed. A monthly meeting is required by the Honolulu City Charter, Anderson noted.

Public testimony will taken in the Council chambers, where city officials will be asked to sit on the Ewa side of the building and the public showing up to testify to the Diamond Head side….

Education Week at the Hawai‘i State Legislature postponed in support of social distancing to reduce

Notice of Cancelled Ethics Classes

read … Honolulu City Council budget briefings postponed indefinitely

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DHHL Cancels Waimānalo Community Meeting

News Release from DHHL, March 16, 2020

(KAPOLEI, HAWAI`I) – The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) has canceled its March 16 Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) community meeting in Waimānalo.

As a majority of DHHL’s audience for community meetings is known to be kupuna, and in an abundance of caution, the Department is following the Centers for Disease Control’s advice against gatherings of 50 or more individuals.

A decision on future scheduled HHC meetings and additional DHHL activities will be made as appropriate.

The regularly scheduled HHC board meetings on Monday and Tuesday will proceed. For information about HHC meetings, visit the Department’s website, dhhl.hawaii.gov/hhc.

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