Just five years after passing its groundbreaking media shield law, Hawaii lawmakers have effectively killed any hopes of adopting a permanent version of the law, which is set to expire next month.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate passed differing versions of the law this week that would protect journalists from disclosing confidential sources and notes. With the Legislature set to adjourn this week, the disagreement between the House and Senate ensures the current shield law will expire on June 30.
A panel of Hawaii lawmakers on Thursday approved a draft that severely limits the soon-expiring state reporter shield law.
The most current version of the bill -- seen as a compromise between House and Senate versions -- removes protections for free newspapers, expands the circumstances under which law enforcement authorities can subpoena journalists’ notes and excludes protections for bloggers.
Hawaii lawmakers are expected to meet again this week to work on reconciling competing versions of a bill to make the state’s reporter shield law permanent.
H.B. 622 was originally drafted to remove the law's June 30 expiration date. But lawmakers in both the state House and Senate passed amended versions of the bill limiting who can take advantage of the privilege.
The Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee approved an anti-paparazzi bill that would allow people who are photographed on their private property or while taking part in “personal or family activities” to sue the photographer for invasion of privacy.
Summary of statute(s): An individual may record or disclose the contents of a wire, oral or electronic communication if he or she is a party to the communication, or has received prior consent from one of the parties. In addition, the state’s hidden camera law prohibits recording images of a person in private areas while in any stage of undress. The state provides both civil and criminal penalties for violators.
Delinquency and dependency proceedings: In general, only people whose presence is requested by a parent or guardian or whom the judge deems to have a direct interest in the case upon considering the minor’s best interests can attend juvenile court proceedings in Hawaii. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-41 (2011).
A Hawaii circuit court judge ruled this week that the governor must release the list of state judicial nominees to the public under the state's open records law.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's attorneys have said in court proceedings that the governor does not want to make the names public because he believes it will deter other potential candidates. But Honolulu Star-Advertiser vice president and editor Frank Bridgewater said the previous two governors had released the names of potential judicial appointees, a tradition spanning over a dozen years.
The Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee unanimously voted on Thursday to pass a two-year extension of the state shield law, which protects journalists from the compelled disclosure of their sources and newsgathering materials.
The bill is scheduled to go before the full Senate. The House has already approved the measure.
The governor of Hawaii signed into law Wednesday a bill that allows state agencies to ignore records requests they deem to be duplicative or substantially similar to previous requests, The Associated Press reported.