Spate of new laws take effect in Jan.


HONOLULU — A handful of new laws will take effect with the new year in Hawaii, affecting a range of things including public records, abandoned vessels and athletic trainers.

All or portions of 16 bills will take effect Jan. 1.

The public records bill, SB2858, creates a process for government agencies to appeal decisions by the Office of Information Practices if the office orders records released. The law stems from a 2009 state appeals court decision in a case brought against OIP by the County of Kauai.

In that case, the courts allowed the county to appeal an OIP decision requiring disclosure of minutes from a closed meeting. The change is intended to bring the state’s law in line with the legal opinion.

HB2589 clarifies the responsibility for disposing of abandoned boats. The bill is something the Department of Land and Natural Resources had wanted because of requests by other agencies to remove abandoned vessels, regardless of whether they were on state lands, said Ed Underwood, administrator of DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

Counties voiced concerns with the additional responsibility and costs they might incur.

SB155 is aimed at regulating athletic trainers. The Legislature found that Hawaii was one of only a few states to not regulate athletic trainers. The portion of the law taking effect Jan. 1 requires that certified athletic trainers be registered with the state.

Louise Inafuku, president of the Hawaii Athletic Trainers Association, said she had heard anecdotally of situations involving trainers who were not certified but she said the problem was that there was no state agency for people to report any such concerns. She said that was one of the biggest reasons for this bill.