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September 2008

Constitutional Convention (Jean Aoki)
Let the People Decide (Charles Carole)
48th National Convention (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Welcome New Members
Failed Again (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
New Additions to Our Library
Rail's Misleading Ad (Charles Carole)
Drug Policy Study (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Calendar of Events

Constitutional Convention

While we have still to give it a title, we are all very excited about our conference slated for Saturday, September 6 on the role of state constitutions and the basics of constitutional revision and amendment. The experiences of other states with constitutional conventions, what problems to avoid, the difference between constitutional law and statutory law, and more will be discussed.

Professor Robert F. Williams, Associate Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies, and Distinguished Professor of Law at Rutgers University at Camden, has enthusiastically agreed to come to Hawaii for the 4-hour conference and a few other related activities.

Dr. Williams has written extensively on state constitutional law and legislation, including casebooks in those areas and a book on New Jersey Constitutional Law. He also co-produced a television documentary marking the fiftieth anniversary of the New Jersey Constitution. Professor Williams received his B.A. Cum laude from Florida State University, his JD with honors from the University of Florida, where he was Executive Editor of the Law Review. Professor Williams also received Masters degrees in law from New York University (1970) and Columbia University (1980). He teaches Civil Procedure, Legislation, State Constitutional Law, and New Jersey Constitutional Law.

Professor Aviam Soifer, Dean of the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH/Manoa, assisted us in our search for a speaker for this conference and will be participating in this conference with Professor Williams.

Professor Williams expressed an interest in contacting Anne Feder Lee, former Leaguer and former State League president, and author of The Hawaii State Constitution: A Reference Guide so I called her and she expressed an interest in our educational projects. And here we have three extremely knowledgeable people involved in making this a success.

We are working with 'Olelo as they plan their voter education series of activities so that we can help them achieve certain goals, and they can help us in achieving ours. All of our activities that have to do with preparing the public for the Con-Con Question on the ballot in November will be taped and DVD's prepared where needed. We hope we may produce enough on the conference to provide the delegates to ConCon should we convene one.

October 14th Debate

The Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs (HIPA), headed by President and CEO, William Kaneko, and the William S. Richardson School of Law, and The League of Women Voters will be sponsoring our only pro-con debate quite close to the General Election. HIPA has been contacting the TV stations and it seems some of them are interested in running this debate. We are considering different options for this, and will be able give you the details later.

Four Forums

We're putting together four forums which would be characterized as Conversations on the Risks, Challenges, and Opportunities Afforded by a ConCon. Unlike a debate, we hope that this will be a

pleasant conversation among the panelists. The topics we are looking at now are, Environment, Land-Use and Water; Economy and Business; Native Hawaiian Issues; and Education.

HIPA is trying to work with the TV stations to sponsor these, but if it doesn't work out, we will work with 'Olelo to show them on one of their stations. Our resources will go toward publicizing these so that we maximize the viewership. The 'Olelo format would allow for questions from a live audience.

Details will have to wait, but we're working hard to bring these to the public.

Jean Aoki


Learn enough to decide if we should have a Con Con

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