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May 1973

July 1973

Come to State Convention
Proposed Slate of Officers and Directors
Proposed Bylaw Amendments
Proposed Budget
Convention - LWV Hawaii
Hawaii Wallet - A Study of State Gov't Finances
Proposed Program
Failure on Housing (Vangie Lamberts)
Power of the Purse
Testimony Plugs for a Realistic Budget (Frances McLeod)
Legislative Auditor's Report (Frances McLeod)
Ethics (Sharon Yokote)
Campaign Finances (Sharon Yokote)
In the Beginning... (Marilee Hoskins)
League Makes Land Use Debut

Legislative Log -- In the Beginning...

League members reviewed, 72%of our legislators at the start of the 1973 session.

The purposes of these interviews arc to make friends, to introduce ourselves as interested assistants to the legislative process, and to find out where League issues stand with the lawmakers. The League will give out public information about legislators, but interviews are confidential.

. . . housing

There was overwhelming support for implementation of Act 105 (the Omnibus Housing Bill). But there was some consternation as to how to get the Governor to implement the Act now that it has passed. One legislator suggested having a Housing Czar appointed by the Governor. This Czar would be paid a salary plus bonus for every house built. The lower cost house would bring a larger bonus. It was also suggested that the selling

of the bonds to raise-money had been -delayed awaiting an IRA ruling on whether the state's bonds would lose their tax exempt status because Hawaii would be selling houses to a middle-income group. Others believed it to be a Burns-Fasi dispute. It's claimed that Burns has $27 million in reserve for funding this act which. he won't release.

Those opposed to Act 105 have as reasons: the state shouldn't act as landlord, lack of suitable land, and implementing this program might jeopardize other programs.

land bank

While over half of those interviewed gave enthusiastic support to a land bank to preserve open space and to control urban growth, few seemed to feel it was an immediate possibility. Many liked the idea but a) there's no money and b) there's no land. One Senator suggested that any military land turned over to the state be put in a land bank. Another suggested trying to get federal funds, still another wanted a moratorium on rezoning any more agricultural lands- for development. Condemn the land we want and strive for "continuity of open space" was another possibility-. Of course, everyone was aware of THE BUDGET this year, and "no money” was mentioned many times. Those opposed to a land bank say it's an infringement on private ownership, socialism, and the state. has no constitutional right to condemn land for such a purpose.

... fiscal control.

The legislators split down the middle over whether the legislature should exercise more or less control over the state budget. Those who supported the present system felt that a) since the legislature only meets part-time, this power should remain with a full-time Governor; b) many legislators are incompetent and too responsive to lobbyists, and they need some check.

Those supporting a change felt the Governor is frustrating the effectiveness of the legislature by refusing to release the funds. Many protested the ability of the Governor to transfer funds from one project to another without the OK of the legislature (although some protested this was not being done by the Governor). Other suggestions were — the school budget should be handled more by county boards; a detailed itemization by the Governor on how money was spent. Another idea was to have a staggered session so that the legislature would meet for 20 days, then recess so the members could go back and talk to their constituents to see what their ideas were. A full-time legislature was brought up and so was year-round meetings to keep legislators apprised of developments between sessions.

... recycling

Recycling receives lots of support but little specific attention. In fact the League had—and took--only one opportunity to testify in favor of recycling. Out of all the interviews only two people came out "against" recycling but most of the legislators admitted they were generally uninformed on the subject. From those who were more acquainted with the problem, these were some suggestions:

  1. tax credits for industries using pollution control techniques

  2. recycling parts

  3. low-interest loans to industries who want to install antipollution devices

  4. research to find uses for pineapple waste, manure, etc.

  5. state use recycled materials

  6. compressed garbage coated with asphalts for pilings

  7. follow Oregon and "ban the can"

. . . collective bargaining law

In the context of the unstable school situation, we asked if the collective bargaining law itself needed improvement. 30% of those interviewed didn't respond very specifically. 3/5 of the legislators supported in varying degrees the present law. They said it should be given a chance to work before it is changed. 'fatly legislators were concerned that the contract written was too unclear and that the DOE was not living up to its promises. A timetable for arbitration was suggested and a broader-based negotiating team including the PTA and student representatives. Also a division of schools between elementary, intermediate and high school for negotiating purposes.

Two objections were there are too many bosses under the present system, and. the DOE does not bargain seriously. One idea was not to allow strikes but to have compulsory arbitration.

. . . campaign finances

About 3/4 supported public disclosure of campaign finances before the election. 1/5 supported, with some reservations, such disclosure; another 1/5 opposed this League position.

The rest either -had no comment or supported it with reservations. ell the legislators are immediately and vitally concerned with this question of course, and we had almost as many suggestions as interviews. Some were:

  1. Any contributions over some limit ($50- 250) should be reported before elections, and an accounting procedure should be performed after elections to ensure honesty.

  2. Follow the federal law:

  3. Force media to lower prices

  4. Publish legislators' attendance record.

  5. Spending ceiling per voter

  6. Give actual source. i.e. name of contributors, not of some committee.

Those opposing disclosure felt it would take too long to ascertain violations and should cost too much.

. . . what can the league do?

    "put the finger" on legislators who are defrauding the people they represent

  • lobby more heavily on personal basis

  • keep lists of League members by district for use in crisis situations

  • tell "real story" of what goes on in legislature

  • donate money to candidates

  • public educational project re legislative process and public participation

  • have League constituents meet with own representatives regularly, giving them short position papers

  • legislative intern program for LWV

  • stop publishing candidates' questionnaires with loaded questions

LEGISLATIVE LOG published during legislative sessions by League of Women Voters of Hawaii Dorothy Bremner, President

Marilee Hoskins
Legislative Log editor

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