AG Anne Lopez warned the new rules as written would impose ‘impermissible’ restrictions on the free speech rights of some board members.

The board of directors for the Honolulu rail authority on Friday deferred consideration of proposed new board rules to allow more time to consider public comments on the package, including objections raised this week by state Attorney General Anne Lopez.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa said the proposed board rules “are not the final rules” and may be amended.

“The reason why we have all of these comments, which are great, is because we want to hear how people are interpreting the rules so that we have an understanding,” Hanabusa said shortly after the Friday meeting began.

Lopez and House Speaker Scott Saiki warned this week that proposed Rule 14 places inappropriate restrictions on what state appointees to the rail board may say publicly. Lopez said the rules as written are “impermissible.”

Hanabusa said Rule 14 was meant to ensure that when a state appointee made an “official statement” about the rail project, the public would know who that person represents.

Hanabusa said the board will consider the issue of the proposed board rules again at the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 20.

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