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The Constitution
of the
State of Hawaii

Incorporating the November 7, 2006 election changes,
and including the annotation.

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Article XVI - General and Miscellaneous Provisions

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Sections

1Civil service
2Employees' retirement system
3Disqualifications from public office or employment
3.5Salary Commission
4Oath of office
5Intergovernmental relations
6Federal lands
7Compliance with trust
8Administration of undisposed lands
9Tax exemption of federal property
10Hawaii National Park
11Judicial rights
12Quieting title
13Plain language
14Titles, subtitles; construction
15General power
16Provisions are self-executing

Note:

This article was renumbered from Article XIV to be Article XVI by Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978. The former Article XVI now appears as Article XVIII.

For proposed constitutional amendment to this article adding a new section on the salary commission, see HB 1917, L 2006, pg. 1272.

16.1
Civil service

The employment of persons in the civil service, as defined by law, of or under the State, shall be governed by the merit principle.  [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

Civil service, see chapter 76.

Case Notes:

Hawaii constitution does not establish an independently enforceable right to the protection of merit principles. 85 H. 61, 937 P.2d 397.

Where, under §76-77, landfill worker positions were within civil service, and thus governed by merit principles under this section, county violated Hawaii constitution and civil service statutes when it privatized new landfill operation. 85 H. 61, 937 P.2d 397.

16.2
Employees' retirement system

Membership in any employees' retirement system of the State or any political subdivision thereof shall be a contractual relationship, the accrued benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.  [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

Employees' retirement system, see chapter 88.

Attorney General Opinions:

Board of trustees may periodically change and adopt new option factor tables applicable to all members who have not retired prior to effective date of tables. Att. Gen. Op. 82-3.

16.3
Disqualifications from public office or employment

No person shall hold any public office or employment who has been convicted of any act to overthrow, or attempt to overthrow, or conspiracy with any person to overthrow the government of this State or of the United States by force or violence.  [Am Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

Convicted persons, see chapter 831.

16.3.5
Salary Commission

 [This section will be printed in the 2007 HRS supplement.]

There shall be a commission on salaries as provided by law, which shall review and recommend salaries for the justices and judges of all state courts, members of the legislature, department heads or executive officers of the executive departments and the deputies or assistants to department heads of the executive departments as provided by law, excluding the University of Hawaii and the department of education. The commission shall also review and make recommendations for the salary of the administrative director of the State or equivalent position and the salary of the governor and the lieutenant governor.

Any salary established pursuant to this section shall not be decreased during a term of office, unless by general law applying to all salaried officers of the State.

Not later than the fortieth legislative day of the 2007 regular legislative session and every six years thereafter, the commission shall submit to the legislature its recommendations and then dissolve.

The recommended salaries submitted shall become effective as provided in the recommendation, unless the legislature disapproves the entire recommendation as a whole by adoption of a concurrent resolution prior to adjournment sine die of the legislative session in which the recommendation is submitted; provided that any change in salary which becomes effective shall not apply to the legislature to which the recommendation for the change in salary was submitted.  [Add HB 1917 (2006) and election Nov 7, 2006]

Cross References:

Commission on salaries, see §26-56.

16.4
Oath of office

All eligible public officers, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, shall take and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, and that I will faithfully discharge my duties as to best of my ability." As used in this section, "eligible public officers" means the governor, the lieutenant governor, the members of both houses of the legislature, the members of the board of education, the members of the national guard, State or county employees who possess police powers, district court judges, and all those whose appointment requires the consent of the senate.  [Ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978; am SB 1440 (1992) and election Nov 3, 1992]

Attorney General Opinions:

Elfbrandt v. Russell, 384 U.S. 11, 86 S. Ct. 1238, does not invalidate the oath of office. Att. Gen. Op. 66-18.

When board of education members can assume official duties. Att. Gen. Op. 86-21.

16.5
Intergovernmental relations

The legislature may provide for cooperation on the part of this State and its political subdivisions with the United States, or other states and territories, or their political subdivisions, in matters affecting the public health, safety and general welfare. Funds may be appropriated to effect such cooperation.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

16.6
Federal lands

The United States shall be vested with or retain title to or an interest in or shall hold the property in the Territory of Hawaii set aside for the use of the United States and remaining so set aside immediately prior to the admission of this State, in all respects as and to the extent set forth in the act or resolution providing for the admission of this State to the Union.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

Admission Act provisions, see §5.

16.7
Compliance with trust

Any trust provisions which the Congress shall impose, upon the admission of this State, in respect of the lands patented to the State by the United States or the proceeds and income therefrom, shall be complied with by appropriate legislation. Such legislation shall not diminish or limit the benefits of native Hawaiians under Section 4 of Article XII.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Note:

A proposal of the 1978 Constitutional Convention added the last sentence of the section. This addition appears to be one of the unspecified changes submitted for ratification under Question 34. On whether any of the changes submitted under Question 34 was in fact approved by the electorate, see Kahalekai v. Doi, 60 H. 324 (1979), excerpted in the note preceding the Preamble to the Constitution.

Case Notes:

Under section, the State affirmatively assumes trust responsibilities of §5(f) of Admission Act. 73 H. 578, 837 P.2d 1247.

16.8
Administration of undisposed lands

All provisions of the Act of Congress approved March 18, 1959 reserving rights or powers to the United States, as well as those prescribing the terms or conditions of the grants of lands or other property therein made to the State of Hawaii are consented to fully by the State and its people.  [Am 73 Stat 4 and election June 27, 1959; ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Case Notes:

By section, continuance of C.A.B. jurisdiction over air commerce during transitional period was accepted by State; arrangement not unconstitutional. 44 H. 634, 361 P.2d 390.

16.9
Tax exemption of federal property

No taxes shall be imposed by the State upon any lands or other property now owned or hereafter acquired by the United States, except as the same shall become taxable by reason of disposition thereof by the United States or by reason of the consent of the United States to such taxation.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

16.10
Hawaii National Park

All provisions of the act or resolution admitting this State to the Union, or providing for such admission, which reserve to the United States jurisdiction of Hawaii National Park, or the ownership or control of lands within Hawaii National Park, are consented to fully by the State and its people.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

Admission Act provisions, see §16(a).

16.11
Judicial rights

All those provisions of the act or resolution admitting this State to the Union, or providing for such admission, which reserve to the United States judicial rights or powers are consented to fully by the State and its people; and those provisions of such act or resolution which preserve judicial rights and powers for the State are hereby accepted and adopted, and such rights and powers are hereby assumed, to be exercised and discharged pursuant to this constitution and the laws of the State.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

Admission Act provisions, see §§12, 13.

Case Notes:

Referred to: 44 H. 634, 650, 361 P.2d 390.

16.12
Quieting title

No person shall be deprived of title to an estate or interest in real property by another person claiming actual, continuous, hostile, exclusive, open and notorious possession of such lands, except to real property of five acres or less. Such claim may be asserted in good faith by any person not more than once in twenty years.  [Add Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

General statutory provisions, see chapter 669.

Law Journals and Reviews:

Adverse Possession and Quiet Title Actions in Hawaii--Recent Constitutional Developments. 19 HBJ 59.

Case Notes:

Section does not bar adverse possession claims to more than five acres of land where claim matured prior to November 7, 1978. 91 H. 545 (App.), 985 P.2d 1112.

16.13
Plain language

Insofar as practicable, all governmental writing meant for the public, in whatever language, should be plainly worded, avoiding the use of technical terms.  [Add Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

16.14
Titles, subtitles; construction

Titles and subtitles shall not be used for purposes of construing this constitution.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Note:

A proposal of the 1978 Constitutional Convention deleted a second paragraph which read: "Whenever any personal pronoun appears in this constitution, it shall be construed to mean either sex." This deletion appears to be one of the unspecified changes submitted for ratification under Question 34. On whether any of the changes submitted under Question 34 was in fact approved by the electorate, see Kahalekai v. Doi, 60 H. 324 (1979), excerpted in the note preceding the Preamble to the Constitution.

Case Notes:

Words of constitution presumed to be used in their natural sense. 44 H. 159, 352 P.2d 861.

Clear and unambiguous provisions are construed as they are written. 51 H. 1, 449 P.2d 130.

16.15
General power

The enumeration in this constitution of specified powers shall not be construed as limitations upon the power of the State to provide for the general welfare of the people.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

16.16
Provisions are self-executing

The provisions of this constitution shall be self-executing to the fullest extent that their respective natures permit.  [Ren Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Case Notes:

This provision does not constitute waiver of sovereign immunity for money damages for constitutional deprivations. 61 H. 369, 604 P.2d 1198.

Test for determining whether a constitutional provision is self-executing. 63 H. 412, 629 P.2d 1111.

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Article XVI - General and Miscellaneous Provisions

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