Skip to comments.Hawaii's new vexatious requester law could affect journalists ("Birther" Bill)
Posted on 05/13/2010 5:08:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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.
Though the bill was written in response to the large number of requests made to see President Obama's birth certificate -- which the health department told the Hawaii Reporter in March take up about 10 hours a week -- the language does not limit its scope to merely duplicative requests for the president's birth certificate.
Instead, the law defines a "vexatious requester" as someone who files multiple requests that after "good faith review and comparison" are "duplicative or substantially similar in nature."
"The bill may potentially impact journalists requests," said attorney Jeffrey Portnoy, noting it put a lot of faith in agencies that will have the power to to dismiss any request it deems substantially similar.
Portnoy conceded that the duplicative nature of the so-called birthers' requests is a legitimate issue, but said "this was an overly aggressive response."
Attorney Peter Fritz testified in March that he thought the bill, if passed, would violate open government laws.
"The Legislature should have used a scalpel to address the problem of multiple requests, but it decided to use a shotgun and cover all areas," Fritz said in an interview.
I say we all start sending one letter each to Hawaii demanding Obama’s real birth certificate. Just to piss them off.
That might make us feel better or like we’re getting something done, but it would take away time they could be using to answer legitimate requests.
One of these days, when I get fed up enough (lol), I’m going to post ALL of the go-rounds I’ve had with them so people can see the kinds of answers they’ve been giving.
There are about 5 exceptions to disclosure that UIPA lists, and they’ve tried one after the other of those exceptions on one of my requests. First they didn’t have it. Then they had it but they needed more time. Then they decided they didn’t need to disclose it to me because it was protected by statute. Then when I asked them what statute they said it didn’t have to be disclosed because of the “frustration of legitimate government function” exception in UIPA. Now I’ve asked them what legitimate government function would be frustrated if they disclosed the requested information. These communications occurred over the course of 5 months.
If Fukino said they spend 5 hours every week completing an average of 12 requests for Obama’s birth certificate, then somebody sure types slow. All they have to do is C&P the standard denial and click “Send”.
Government efficiency at work, obviously.
The funny thing is they don’t get that many requests for ANYTHING to do with Obama, rules, or procedures altogether in one week - as shown by the complete set of requests that they have received since last year.
But those requests would be legitimate requests. That’s the point. you personally cannot determine that my request or anyone else’s is not a legitimate request.
Just because I encourage people to send in a request, doesn’t mean I am not saying send in one but don’t really mean it. I mean it, I want serious people sending in requests because they want to see the birth certificate. I do. I want to see the records. So has everyone else who’s sent in requests.
If they are going to now say anything more than one we’re going to ignore, then we can have hundreds of people still sending in their one legitimate request before they are ignored.
And do the same kind of follow-ups as you are describing that you are doing.
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply that those requests wouldn’t be legitimate. I meant to say that there are requests that, if answered properly, could inflict great damage on Obama. If the HDOH is flooded with other requests they will use that as an excuse to not answer some very pointed requests.
They’ll still give excuses even if they aren’t overrun with requests, but they would easily be seen as excuses.