CAPWatch – Report from the front

2nd Crossover of Bills at the Legislature



Yesterday, the rest of the bills that CAP has been working on were heard in THIRD READING. All were on what is called the “Consent Calendar”. This means that these bills were discussed in caucus so no floor discussion was needed/allowed. All thirteen* of the bills we have been working on all session have now passed three readings in both chambers.
*This includes SB 249, which was on the quicksheet that was sent out.

This made it a very different Third Reading than in previous sessions. In the House there were a few bills that engendered discussion. The one we are working on is SB 249 – the judicial retirement bill that had 12 no votes and 6 w/reservations votes. But there was lots of drama on this one. Rep. Thielen rose to speak and said that this bill was to “punish” the Judiciary for some of their decisions. That made Majority Leader Saiki stand up and call for a recess. They came back after their pow wow and Rep. Thielen withdrew the word “punish” with “impact”. Then Rep. Tupola (Minority Leader) made a motion to recommit the bill (which would send it back to committee – i.e. dead this session). Another confab and then they came back and she withdrew her motion. Then Rep. Ward stood and called for a roll call vote (on the bill) and another confab took place. They came back and Rep. Ward withdrew his roll call motion. The final vote 39-12-0. There is dis-satisfaction so maybe this bill will die.

Another bill in the House that had a lot of discussion of SB 704 – Vacation Rentals – Air B&B bill. It passed, but there were 7 no votes and 11 w/reservations. Could be in trouble.

The Rail tax bill – extending the rail tax 2 years. There were 10 no votes and 3 w/reservations.

There was little to no discussion in the Senate.

This was disconcerting. Are the policies under which we must all live being developed behind closed doors? Is transparency as dead in Hawai`i as it appears to be in DC? This is really appalling and disturbing.

In an effort to raise our voices, there are two resolutions being heard by the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday. The first one – SCR 126 SD1 is good and we want to see the Judiciary reform the bail system and pre-trial practices; the second one, however, asks the HCR 85 Task Force to identify sites. This group has no money, no expertise, and a HUGE TASK to be completed. What is this about?


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