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Leg Log - Interim News

The 1975 Legislative Session ended with an insult to the public's intelligence. The last minute flurry of amended bill-passing, notably the pension and pay bills, met with the strongest public outcry on any single issue this year. The protest still continues with various overtures and political innuendos that make politics the greatest spectator sport in town.

The League, far from spectating, did protest the process in which the pension bill was handled. The pay raise bill technically received hearings under the collective bargaining pay raise bill. We protested the lack of public hearings, the impropriety of salary (pensions are deducted from salaries) discussion, since there is a Legislative Salaries Commission appointed every four years expressly for this purpose, and the abuse of House Rule 14.4 on conference committees which states that the purpose is to resolve differences between the Senate and the House and not to enact new legislation which the pension bill certainly was. The Senate Rules leave the responsibility of decision-making to the majority of the members appointed (not less than three) by the President.

Consequently, both the Senate and House majority met to recommend that the Governor veto the bill. The House majority caucus then adopted amendments to the Conference Committee rule that bills or resolutions amended will not include unrelated or new subjects; that bills dealing with salaries, pensions or retirement benefits shall be considered a separate bill other than appropriations, CIP and collective bargaining bills.

State President Pat Shutt and Hawaii County President Dot Willis wrote Senate President John Ushijima and Senate leadership to adopt these amendments, noting also that rules are only as good as they are used or abused and the League's responsibility is to watchdog the abuses. Call your Senator and urge the same!

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