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Dissatisfaction... well, it's getting to look more like outrage... is driving citizens and advocacy groups to mount a new campaign against toxic practices in the Hawaii State Legislature. Yup, reform is in the air in Hawaii—citizen driven reform.

Individuals and organizations are moving to bring about change and better democracy—led by Common Cause Hawaii, the League of Women Voters, and others.

A petition was filed yesterday under House and Senate rules (see below the break and Petition challenges rampant use of undemocratic procedures in the Hawaii state legislature). The petition specifically takes aim at procedures both houses have employed to bypass public hearings and sneak language into bills without public attention.

That petition has a sister petition that anyone can sign: Ban Gut and Replace and Frankenstein Practices. This was posted Friday night without fanfare, and has already gathered a number of signatures.

The public condemns tactics and strongly oppose these misleading practices which keep the public in the dark. I join my fellow citizens and ask the Senate and the House for two things:

1) DO NOT pass the gut-and-replace bills and Frankenstein bills generated in the 2013 legislative session, due to the way the bills have moved forward.
2) BAN the “gut-and-replace” and “Frankenstein” practices from occurring again in the future.

Another hot petiton is the Hawaii Public Officers, Recall Initiative, which is nearing its goal of 500 signatures. Check it out and add your name to this growing movement.

Citizens have no means to remove a public officer by way of recall, impeachment or initiative process except the office of the Governor, Lt. Governor or their appointees. The Hawaii State Constitution should be amended to allow for such recall of any public officers. HB 187 introduced in 2011 died in committee. It should be reintroduced and openly debated.

For those interested in the process, Senate and House rules are given below the break.

Hawaii Legislative rules regarding petitions

Interestingly, the Capitol website prohibits Google from searching, so that the Legislature’s rules cannot be discovered by a search.

These rules apply to the petition delivered yesterday to the House and Senate by advocacy groups.

Senate rules 2013


Rule 67 Petitions, Memorials, and Miscellaneous Communications.

(1) Any person may petition the Senate. Petitions and other memorials, except as provided in Rule 61, shall be in writing, signed by the petitioners.

(2) All petitions, memorials and other papers addressed to the Senate or to the President and members shall be presented to the Senate by the Clerk.

(3) A brief statement of the contents of such petitions, memorials or other papers shall be made orally by the Clerk.

(4) Every such petition, memorial or other paper shall be ordered filed or referred to a committee, as of course, by the President, unless such action is objected to by a member at the time such petition, memorial or other paper is presented.

(5) No such petition, memorial or other paper shall be debated on the day it is presented, except with the consent of the Senate.

House rules 2013


Rule 44. Petitions and Communications: Presentation and Disposition

44.1. Any person may petition the House. Petitions shall be in writing, and the petitioners shall sign them.

44.2. The Speaker shall order all petitions and communications filed or referred to a committee without any motion or vote, unless there is objection from the members. If there is objection, the Speaker shall dispose of the matter as the House directs.

44.3. Upon the request of a member, the Speaker may authorize the issuance of congratulatory certificates in the name of the House.

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