Hawai‘i State Legislature Update 11.22.12

Check
November 20th, 2012, By ddepledge

State House Republicans have agreed to organize with Rep. Joseph Souki and a dissident faction, sources say, potentially giving Souki and the dissidents the majority necessary to topple House Speaker Calvin Say. The seven Republicans would join with at least 21 Democrats to form a coalition of 28 — two more than the 26 needed to control the 51-member House. Say’s faction represents 22 Democrats. One newly elected Democrat remains undecided.

Souki, a former speaker, negotiated the deal with House Minority Leader Aaron Johanson, sources say. Sources say Republicans could receive the vice chairmanships of three committees — including the House Finance Committee, which could have a Republican and a Democratic vice chairman — under the agreement. Two years ago, Republicans had sided with Say in a leadership battle with Democrats, giving the speaker the leverage to hold off a challenge.

Dante Carpenter, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, had urged House Democrats in a letter last week not organize with Republicans. He said the net result would create a “super-minority” among the seven Republicans while disenfranchising Democrats on the losing end. This is a really interesting development.

Souki has been good on some justice issues (he has been a member of the Judiciary committee) and we have had many talks about reforming the system. We’ll see…

What Would the House of Souki Mean for Hawaii?
Civil Beat, Chad Blair, Nov. 21, 2012
The House shake-up is so interesting and could be a good thing for justice.

This article outlines the Souki & Say factions:

Aquino and Cullen are in Say’s faction and they are the current Chair and Vice Chair of Public Safety. They have NOT been helpful and I would even say that are uncaring and uninterested in justice and rights  for incarcerated persons. So if they are out of power, they won’t be running public safety anymore. Har was the Vice Chair of Water Land who  ushered in all the bad environmental bills and PLDC. Her Chair, Jerry
Chang did not run for re-election. On the floor, Har was not truthful about the JRI bills. 
So we might have a chance to actually improve the quality of justice a bit next session. I am cautiously optimistic.
Joe Souki’s Supporters

Democrats (21): Joe Souki, Sylvia Luke, Chris Lee, Scott Saiki, Gil Keith-Agaran, Mark Nakashima, Scott Nishimoto, Mark Takai, Dee Morikawa, Roy Takumi, Jessica Wooley, Cindy Evans, Tom Brower, Faye Hanohano, Della Au Belatti, Angus McKelvey, Romy Cachola, Nicole Lowen, Bert Kobayashi, Richard Onishi, Kaniela Ing.
Republicans (7): Gene Ward, Cynthia Thielen, Bob McDermott, Aaron Ling Johanson, Beth Fukumoto, Lauren Cheape, Richard Fale.

Calvin Say’s Supporters
Democrats (21): Calvin Say, Henry Aquino, Karen Awana, Rida Cabanilla, Isaac Choy, Ty CullenSharon Har, Mark Hashem, Derek Kawakami, Linda Ichiyama, Ken Ito, Jo Jordan, John Mizuno, Marcus Oshiro, Karl Rhoads, Jimmy Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Ryan Yamane, Kyle Yamashita, Gregg Takeyama, Takashi Ohno.

That adds up to 49 representatives.

It’s not clear who the remaining two, Mele Carroll and Denny Coffman, support. Both Democrats previously associated with the dissidents.

Vice chairman

November 20th, 2012, By ddepledge

State Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, the only Republican in the Senate, will serve as vice chairman of the newly formed Senate Economic Development and Housing Committee.

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Wheeler-Wahiawa-Schofield) is the committee’s chairman.

Slom (R, Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai) said the post would not temper his opposition to Dela Cruz initiatives such as the Public Land Development Corp. and transit oriented development. He said he was initially surprised that Senate leadership offered him the position. He said he also spoke with Dela Cruz.

He reminded me that, in fact, we did have a lot of things in common that we had supported or had spoken up for.  And so I said, well, if that’s the situation I’m fine with it and I look forward to working with you.

I respect anybody that has strong views, which he does, and also the right to debate those views in public. So I’m looking forward to that role and being able to do that. And he brought me a pumpkin pie today, so I think that’s a good beginning.

This is interesting since Sen. Slom is known for speaking out on almost every bill. He is totally against rail and the PLDC.

Key senator open to PLDC repeal
Dela Cruz criticizes the agency he had pushed to establish
Nov 21, 2012, By Derrick DePledge

Excerpt:
State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, one of the driving forces behind the Public Land Development Corp., said Tuesday he would be open to a repeal of the law because of what he believes is inconsistent implementation.  …

Other sources, speaking privately, say that overwhelming opposition to the PLDC from environmentalists and from some Native Hawaiian and labor interests has caused the administration to reconsider and “slow down” implementation.

Rather than adopt the new draft of the PLDC’s administrative rules or take the rules out for additional public hearings on the neighbor islands, the PLDC and the administration will likely meet with those who have been critical of the rules process and the law. …

Rather than just speaking to the opposition, how about holding REAL community hearings on how to use public lands (that is held in trust for Hawaiians and the general public)? Closed door meetings should never be held when the issue involves all of us. The administration should have known that putting the words ‘public’ and ‘development’ in the title would raise of firestorm. Don’t talk about us, without us!

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