Governors in the news: Alaska and Hawaii fight to sort of the legalities of open records
By Eileen McGuire-Mahony
More than a year after leaving office, Sarah Palin is again extending the release date for official emails
Citing difficulties in putting messages into a secure electronic format and pointing to cost concerns, former staffers from Sarah Palin's Governor's office, which shut down in July 2009, have made their 15th request to delay releasing Palin's emails. If granted, the 25,000 documents will not be made public until May 31, 2011, at which point the combined delays in publicizing the documents will be longer than Palin's gubernatorial tenure. The trove of emails include messages between Palin, her husband, and 50 key staffers.
Hawaiian Governor may seek to release new records surrounding Barack Obama's birth
Following an earlier announcement from the office of Governor Neil Abercrombie that he would focus on discrediting persistent rumors that President Obama is not a native born American, Abercrombie's office may be looking for a legal way to release additional documentation. The most detailed document Obama has released to date is a certificate of live birth, made public in 2008. Since then, Obama has not agreed to release the original birth certificate. Hawaiian privacy law prevents anyone who lacks a demonstrable tangible interest in a vital record from accessing it.
It is this law that means the numerous open-records requests for the original Obama birth certificate are all denied. However, such requests doubled from November to December. Abercrombie is expected to ask the Attorney General and state health officials how e might legally release more details of the President's August 1961 birth.