Session Wrap: On Open Government, Lawmakers Opt For Status Quo

The Hawaii Legislature passed an extension of the shield law but failed to act on any other open government measures this session.

Some proposed more openness, adding definitions to campaign finance disclosure laws and fines for agencies that fail to comply with open records law, for example.

But lawmakers also introduced several measures that sought to put limits on the public's right to know. One bill would have limited free speech, others proposed hiding public workers' and police officers' salaries.

Out of the 16 open government bills we watched this session, the sole survivor was the shield law, allowing reporters in Hawaii to maintain the confidentiality of their sources in most cases.

But even the shield law was not made permanent as originally intended. Instead, it was extended for two years in order to give the Hawaii Judiciary time to study the issue.

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