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HB 18 and Honolulu's City Charter
New Zoning Law to Be Discussed
Units in June
Teru at LWV National Council

HB 18 and Honolulu's City Charter

The charter bill (HB 18) recently passed by the State Legislature embodies a section affecting the Honolulu City Charter. This is a provision that amendments to all charters, including existing charters, must be acted upon by the legislature.

In the words of the bill:

"Each proposed amendment or revision, whether to a charter established under this chapter or already in existence, shell be submitted to the Lieutenant Governor who shall submit the same to the next regular or special session of the legislature; provided that if the amendment or revision is not ratified at a budget or special session, he shall submit it to the next general session of the legislature. The amendment shall be considered ratified when a bill is enacted into law ratifying and approving the amendment. The proposed amendment or revision shall be considered rejected if submitted to but not ratified by the legislature in general session."

Last year the Honolulu City Charter was amended in relation to membership on the City Planning Commission. The final step in the process of the amendment was the favorable vote of the electorate at last November's election.

If the proposed bill had been in effect the amendment would not have become a part of the charter at that point. Instead it would have been sent from the Oahu voters to the Lieutenant Governor, who would have submitted it to the legislature where the legislators from all the counties would have rejected it or passed a state law ratifying it.

The preamble to the bill reads, "Purpose: The purpose of this act is to provide the counties with an increased measure of self-government and responsibility."

As far as Honolulu is concerned, the bill provides a decreased measure of self-government.

This provision regarding amendments was introduced into the bill by a Senate-House Conference Committee. Within a day of being reported out it was passed by the House with 4 dissenting votes, and 2 days later by the Senate with 1 dissenting vote.

In 1960 the LWV dropped the Charter as a Continuing Responsibility and handed responsibility for observation of the implementation of the charter to the Voters' Service Committee. The approval of last year's amendment was in part a result of Voters' Service leadership.

The committee will continue to watch developments, and all LWV members should be alert to future developments and be ready for action later if it becomes necessary.

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