Gov. David Ige on Monday said he will allow a bill that would identify suspended or fired county police officers to become law.
The governor has not yet decided if he will sign House Bill 285 or simply allow it to become law by passing the Sept. 15 deadline, but will not veto the measure.
“Certainly, those that are not on the veto list, I’ll be allowing to become law without my signature or I will be signing. I don’t have my summary sheet (here) so certainly we will be making an announcement later on,” said Ige.
Under House Bill 285, Hawaii’s four county police chiefs will be required to disclose, in annual reports to the state Legislature, the identity of an officer upon an officer’s suspension or discharge from a county police department once the grievance procedure has concluded.
That means officers suspended or discharged between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of this year would be included in the next report to the Legislature due by Jan. 31, 2021.
Additionally, the bill would eliminate the exemption for county law enforcement officers under the Uniform Information Practices Act, allowing for the release of information retroactively upon request.
It also includes language clarifying the state law enforcement standards board’s power to revoke certification and requiring the panel make recommendations to the Legislature on policies and procedures, such as use of force..
Currently, the report submitted annually to the Legislature outlines misconduct, discipline and whether the grievance procedure has concluded, however, there’s no disclosure of identity. The law requiring the report to the Legislature, which is publicly accessible, has been on the books since 1995; its scope disclosing more details was expanded in 2014.
Introduced in 2019, HB285 was supported by various groups, media and individuals, including the state Office of Information Practices, Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest. The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, SHOPO, the union representing officers across the four counties, and a handful of individuals opposed the legislation. The measure died quietly in conference in 2019, but carried over to the 2020 session and was passed in July.
Meanwhile, Ige announced Monday his intent to veto six bills passed by the state Legislature.
• House Bill 1523 that would have provided Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to purchase devices for schools with student populations of 50% or greater or reduced price lunch;
• House Bill 1846 that would have mandated all state facilities with an area of 10,000 square feet or more implement all cost-effective energy efficiency measures by Jan. 1, 2024;
• House Bill 2124 that would have amended the State Ethics Code to prohibit the governor, lieutenant governor, and other high-level government officials from representing any person or business for a fee or other compensation regarding any legislative or administrative action for 12 months after termination from respective position;
• Senate Bill 2206 that would have authorized the Board of Land and Natural Resources to issue revocable month-to-month temporary permits for the emergency sheltering of homeless persons on state lands;
• Senate Bill 2523 that would have required the Department of Public Safety to expand its community-based work furlough program for female inmates;
• Senate Bill 2638 that would have established a five-year pilot program intended to strengthen government response to domestic violence and increase offender accountability; amended the offense of abuse of family or household members to provide for a petty misdemeanor offense; allowed a deferred acceptance of guilty or no contest plea in cases involving petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor abuse offenses; and required the court to revoke the defendant’s probation or set aside the defendant’s deferred acceptance of guilty plea and enter an adjudication of guilt in specific instances.