Government Records Hawaii: Where to Obtain Government Records for the State of Hawaii?Hawaii Government has passed two that define how officials must respond to request for government records. These are the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified) and Sunshine Law. The Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified) provides guidelines regarding requests for government records as to the procedures, fees, and the time limit.
While the Sunshine Law provides standards that all boards must follow when conducting their official business. This includes both county and state boards.
Agencies that must follow these laws
The law applies to all agencies within the Hawaiian government. These include judicial, legislative, and executive branches at each level. That means both county and state levels. Bureaus, boards, councils, institutions, commissions, and authorities (county and state). However, the judiciary’s non-administrative branch does not follow under this rule.
Definition of government records
Government records are defined as any information that is maintained by a governmental agency. It does not differentiate based on how it is stored. This information can be in the form of maps, films, written documents, tape recordings, and in digital form.
Personal records part of government records
The government of Hawaii maintains records of an individual’s educational background, employment history, and medical or financial records. These are personal records, but since they are maintained by the government they can be inspected by any individual and the same individual has the right to make copies of these records.
Are all government records accessible?
Yes, all government records are accessible except the one restricted by law. People can ask any of the following documents:
- Results of environmental tests
- Data on water service consumption
- Minutes of all meetings conducted by government agencies
- Information on Building permits
- Rules and procedures followed by government agencies along with general policy
There are a couple of instances where the records can be restricted:
Invades a person’s privacy
Disrupts the functioning of the government
Restricted by a court order
The agency can respond to requests during working hours. That is between 7:45 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays. However, the requests must not interfere with the regular functioning of the agency. Government agencies can allow individuals to inspect and copy documents. But it is up to the agency to decide how to provide security to the records.
In the case of copying, based on law, the agency can ask the requester to pay for the process. The cost of providing copies can vary from agency to agency. Also, the agencies can charge the following tasks:
What if the agency refuses to correct the data?
In case, an individual has requested a correction, but the agency has refused to make the correction. Then the individual can ask the agency to review its decision. After the agency refuses to correct the information, the individual must try all administrative avenues. Only after exhausting all these avenues must the individual decide to take up civil action against the agency in a circuit court.
Steps on how to request for government records
Before requesting records there are a couple of things an individual must keep in mind First, identify the record. This is the first thing the individual must do.
Second, identify the agency that will have the record. This is the next thing the individual must do. To determine this information, the individual must visit https://oip.hawaii.gov/records-reports-system-rrs/rrs-page-for-the-public/the-records-report-system/ website and get the required information.
Third, contact the agency. The individual must contact the agency
Fourth, provide notification arrangement
In case the individual is asking to look at their own records then they should provide identification proof.
Give the request in writing. The individual must provide the request in writing. This may not be necessary, but it will help them keep track. Information about copying costs. The individual must specify the amount of money they are willing to spend on the reproduction of the record. Also, they can ask the agency to inform them if the cost is going to exceed the specified amount.
Types of response one can expect
There are four types of responses one can expect:
- Full disclosure: The individual gets all the information they requested
- Partial disclosure: The individual get part of the information requested
- No disclosure: The individual does not get any of the information requested
- Request not possible: The individual is asking the wrong agency
Search Hawaii Government Records with GoLookUp!