Lawsuit Seeks Greater Transparency from Liquor Commission

August 8, 2017, 8:07 AM HST · Updated August 8, 8:14 AM
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A hearing takes place today on a lawsuit filed over the Maui Liquor Commission’s handling of the rule changes enacted earlier this year.

The lawsuit was filed in May by the Committee for Responsible Liquor Control and Kīhei resident Madge Schaefer.

Those against the previous rule changes stood outside of the Liquor Commission meeting while members held an executive session in May. PC: 5.10.17 by Wendy Osher.

The lawsuit had referenced a rule change relating to the 24-hour sale of liquor at retail establishments and changing the 12 establishment limit on hostess bars.

Although the rules were ultimately reversed following public opposition the lawsuit remains in place as plaintiffs seek to address issues over proper notification and transparency.

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The lawsuit alleges that the Liquor Commission violated both the Sunshine Law and the Hawai’i Administrative Procedure Act “by failing to give the public proper notice that they were going to take action on these radical policy changes.”

The challenge is made to the technical requirements for notice. “Notice is important so that it allows interested members of the community to provide their views and data to an agency before an agency, like the Liquor Commission, makes a decision to changes its rules,” Schaefer said upon filing of the lawsuit in May.

At the time, she said the challenge was made to the technical requirements for notice. “Notice is important so that it allow interested members of the community to provide their views and data to an agency before an agency, like the Liquor Commission, makes a decision to changes its rules,” Schaefer contends.

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