You may or not be aware of this, but many states in the United States are in financial crisis. One way of reducing state expenditures is to idle workers and not pay them; this is called “furlough.” Hawaii is no exception, and the State Office of Information Practices (OIP), the office that oversees requests for information and their propriety, has staff reduced in addition to implementing furlough one day a week, according to an article today (April 4, 2010) in the Honolulu Star Bulletin.
In order to reduce the burden on the already overtaxed health department staff, state senate bill 2937 was introduced to deal with frivolous repeated requests for information. However, this bill would have shifted work to the OIP, and it looks like support for the bill is fading.
Chris Conybeare, Media Council president, called the new proposal “really bad.”
“Any new exception to the public information law is really bad,” Conybeare said.
“This will not stop people like the ‘birthers’ from asking about Obama’s birth certificate, but it could curb legitimate public interest groups or the news media from requesting documents,” Conybeare said.