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December 1975

January 1976

General Meeting on the Constitutional Convention
From the President (Carol Whitesell)
ConCon Suit Moves Ahead
Thank You!
Honolulu LWV - December Calendar
ConCon Delegates -- Who Should Be?
United Nations Day
Peddling Pubs (Dee Lum)
City Money -- Coming and Going
Aloha to these New Members
League Members in Action

ConCon Delegates -- Who Should Be?

One of the many issues that may be discussed in a constitutional convention and one which we should all think about is, who should be a delegate to a con con? Who do we want to represent us in studying and proposing amendments or keeping the status quo? The importance of the individual delegate should not be overlooked because there are only two ways to amend the Hawaii state constitution.

LEGISLATURE --- One method is for the legislature to propose amendments by a two-thirds vote of each house during one session, or by a majority vote of each house at two successive sessions. The proposes amendments are then ratified or rejected by the voters at the next general election.

CONVENTION --- The second method is to hold a constitutional convention here the delegates study and propose amendments which also are accepted or rejected by the voters.

Our state constitution states that, "no member of the legislature shall hold any other public office under the State..." (Art.iii,Sec.9). However, Art. XV, Sec. 2 says, "Notwithstanding any provision in this constitution to the contrary... any qualified voter of the district concerned shall be eligible to membership in the (constitutional) convention.

The question before us is why was the exception written into the constitution and should it remain? At this time we shall only consider whether legislators should be excepted because, except for constitutional convention delegates, legislators are the only group who can propose amendments to the constitution. Judges, and other officials of the state may influence or interpret but not propose.

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS --

PRO

  1. No qualified voter should be barred from being able to serve on a body that is so fundamental to our basic government -- that body which drafts the state constitution under which all must live.

  2. Legislators bring to the con-con their expertise in drafting bills, holding hearings, organization, government and many other subjects of which the average layman has little knowledge.

  3. A legislator is just as able (or unable) to divorce herself from possible conflict of interest as anyone else who has a vested interest or a particular point of view. The legislator should not be discriminated against any more than a member of a special interest organization or an employee or official of a corporation which may also have vested interest or a particular point of view.

  4. Everyone should have the privilege of running. The voters have the privilege of not voting for a legislator. Some voters' may prefer to vote for a legislator they know shares their views.

CON

  1. Since there are only two ways to amend the constitution, the same people should not be involved in both process at the same time.

  2. There are many well informed, intelligent and qualified citizens who can do as good a job participating in a con con as legislators. The work done by "citizen" commissions and task force proves this. New ideas as well as traditions are needed.

  3. Situations involving direct conflict of legislators' interests are unavoidable when discussing such issues as redistricting (as in the '68 con con),unicameral versus bicameral legislature, initiative, referendum, recall, salaries, collective bargaining, legislative reforms and other politically sensitive topics.

  4. Because legislators' names are recognized in their districts they hold an advantage over lesser known "citizen" candidates. In the 1968 con con 37 of the 82 delegates were then legislators. Incumbents also have campaign machinery and organizations to draw on--an even greater advantage.

Hawaii, with its requirement that every ten years the voters be asked if there should be a con con, gives the people a chance to have some say in the constitution making process. Should an even greater voice be given to the people by making some changes in the present constitution? That will be one of the questions to be considered when making the choice of delegates at the next election.

Con Con Study Committee needs more members to begin study of unicameral legislature. Call Marian Wilkins 261-0549.


DO YOU WISH TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON NATIONAL LEAGUE PROGRAM ISSUES? Current National issues are discussed in the summer 1975 National Voter, If you wish to make suggestions on these items or recommend a new issue for consideration you may telephone or mail your thoughts to Nancy Guille. At the Dec. & Jan. meetings forms will be available for you to indicate your preference and suggestions.

DEADLINE for all member input is January 9.

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