April 1995 Home   Newsletters

May 1995

June-July 1995

President's Message: League Lobbies Legislature (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
League Action at the Legislature (Jean Aoki)
Violence Prevention and Education Bill Dies (Pamela Ferguson-Brey & Martha Ross)
Convention Delegates Sought
Restructuring Committee Put on Hold (Jean Aoki)
Letters: Queen's Beach (Jean Aoki & Astrid Monson)
League Reviews Oahu Regional Transportation Plan (Arlene Ellis)
Action Alert
Vote Count Volunteers Needed (Arlene Ellis)

President's Message: League Lobbies Legislature

According to Article 111, Section 10 of the Hawaii State Constitution, "The legislature shall convene annually in regular session at 10:00 o'clock a.m. on the third Wednesday in January." Regular sessions are limited to a period of 60 working days, excluding Saturday, Sundays, holidays and designated recess days. We all know it is important that we help our elected representatives shape sound and effective laws. There are many ways for League to be actively involved in the legislative process. We call and write our elected representatives. We testify at public hearings, participate in public discussions, and lobby at the state capitol.

But this participation takes many hours of preparation. During this legislative session now coming to an end, Leaguers daily trekked to the legislature to gather all the bills from the Senate and the House. Some days this involved taking our luggage cart and cardboard box and filling it! After gathering the bills and resolutions, we had to sort by issue, which this year included campaign spending, violence, ethics, elections, transportation, land use and education. After sorting, the bills had to be reviewed for action. Every law enacted must be introduced in the legislature in the form of a "bill," and the title of the bill must encompass the entire subject matter contained within the bill. This year we found many bills with generic titles, such as "A Bill for an Act: Relating to Government." Sometime it would take reading in excess of 100 pages to finally understand the bill's contents. All this before we even begin to prepare our testimony.

The legislature sets a timetable to determine the pace of the legislative session. Major categories of deadlines include those set by the state constitution, deadlines set by agreement between the House and the Senate, deadlines set internally by the House and Senate, separate deadlines to ensure the timely movement of major budget bills and deadlines for the introduction and crossover of all substantive resolutions. We followed this process and through many hours of League volunteer effort, we managed to be visible in this year's legislature. As you read through this Voter, you will see specifically those bills we tracked and acted on.

The legislative workload makes us realize the need to continue our efforts to bring modern technology into the office. Our goals for next year include cutting out much of the legwork and maximizing the potential of our computer; using it not only to gather the initial data but to track that data through the legislative timetable. This will maximize the potential of those precious volunteer hours so many of you willingly donate. Thank you.

Suzanne Meisenzahl

Kathleen Weisenberg, a LWV/US board member from California, will be coming to Hawaii to participate in the state league convention on May 20. The state league has requested that she provide training for the new state board, and for local leagues as well. The Honolulu league has invited her to its May 19th board meeting.

April 1995 Home   Newsletters June-July 1995