January 1996 Home   Newsletters

February 1996

March 1996

President's Message (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Vote Counts Cancelled (Arlene Ellis)
Report of the Membership Recruitment Committee (Grace Furukawa)
League on "Oahu Speaks" Special
Cheryl Soon to Speak at P&Z Committee Meeting (Astrid Monson)
Testimony on Bill Relating to Development Agreements
State News - House Committee on Finance: Taxation
Court Monitoring Project Underway
National News - Challenge to National Voter Registration Act
Action Call
Many Voices One Vision
Annual United Nations Wrap-Up (insert) (Margery Cohen)

President's Message

February 14th not only was Valentine's Day but also League's birthday. Honolulu League celebrates its 48th year and State League its 31st. For Honolulu it was business as usual. Whether it be with the keys of a typewriter or computer, the League was busy this month preparing and giving testimony on a variety of issues.

On the local level, at a City Council Zoning Committee meeting we expressed our opposition to the "vested rights" provisions of the City's proposed development agreements bill, 25-2. Excerpts from this testimony are on found on page 3.

We testified before the City Council against two proposed charter amendments which, for budgetary reasons, 1) would have combined the Planning Department with the office of Economic Development, and 2) eliminated the Department of Land Utilization and transferred its functions to the Building Dept.

Written testimony was sent to the Chair of the City Planning Commission on proposed amendments to the Land Use Ordinance. Our detailed testimony had been submitted at an earlier date.

On behalf of the State League we testified before the Senate Judiciary in support of SB 2391 proposing amendments to Article II and Article III of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to provide for optional or legislative Referendum. We have long supported amending j the Constitution to include giving the people the rights to Direct and Indirect Initiative, as well as Petition and Optional Referendum.

Once again we testified before the House Education Committee in support of an elected Board of Education and submitted testimony to the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations and International Affairs supporting a bill that would establish a fee schedule for the issuance of permits to acquire Î firearms to offset the cost of processing of permit fees.

We supported the Women's Legislative Coalition's flagship bill, SB 2151 Relating to the Prevention of Physical and Sexual Violence recommending a public-private partnership be established to begin a school-based violence prevention project. We included a reservation about the bill adding to the existing school bureaucracy.

We testified at the State Legislature against a proposal to permit the State to designate specific areas for ohana zoning, since there already was a law permitting counties to do so.

We testified before the House Finance Committee on HB 3301 supporting a proposal to increase income tax rates of those in the upper income levels. Excerpts from this testimony follow on page 4.

The League has always focused on public access and this session is no exception. We supported the transfer of the responsibility of maintaining the public access room to the Legislative Reference Bureau. Relating to Government Reports before the House Committee on Judiciary we supported the part of S.B. 3294 which would require that reports prepared for the Legislature and/or the Governor be made available to the public electronically (on-line) as well as in printed form. We supported S.B. 3268 which provides for the access programs now in place, provides for the purchase of some electronic hardware and equipment, provides for the new legislative-internet project and establishes a joint legislative access committee to oversee and review all of the access programs and recommend policies for these programs.

Chronicle Cable's franchise may be transferred to TCI Communications. League has written to DCCA suggesting it would be the perfect time to negotiate the provision of more extensive public access such as an increase of the 3 channels provided for by Chronicle so that Hawaii Kai residents may enjoy the same programming seen by Oceanic Cable customers. We also recommended that the new agreement include interconnection with Oceanic so programming originating in that area are can be aired to the rest of the island.

On the final issue, before the Committee on Communications and Public Utilities we supported the expenditure of funds for equipment that would provide easier access to the telecasting of the legislative proceedings to the outer islands and urged passage of S.B. 640, S.D. 1 which would increase the number of cable channels available on the outer islands. Improved outer island public access was also the topic of an Olelo broadcast League did. The Star Bulletin, on February 5, 1996 quoted our President Jackie Kido in a letter to Governor Cayetano that "to jettison the inclusion of citizens in the democratic process for such an insignificant amount of money leaves people feeling frustrated and powerless to affect change at the state level."

Suzanne Meisenzahl

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