Public Opinion on the UN - What the Pollsters Forget to Ask (Barbara Farwell)|
Legislative Reform: Consensus
State Convention: Flight into the Future - Hawaii's Economy
Proposed State Officer Slate 1977-79
Proposed Bylaw Changes
Proposed Budget - Fiscal Year 1977-78
Legislative Log (Muriel Roberts)
The 1977 session of the Hawaii State Legislature is over. Of the over 4000 bills and resolutions which were introduced, most never got out of their first committee. The League picked only a few of those introduced to follow and lobby. In the areas where we had interests, we scored at least one major victory.
The coalition called Citizens for Con Con, for which League coordinated the lobbying, followed the House and Senate Constitutional Convention bills through the legislative maze like a dog after a rabbit. We had to rely on frequent visits and phone calls to key legislative personnel to keep on the trail. The public information channels were far too slow to keep us informed, but we were there at every turn -- and the Legislature knew it.
The compromise Con Con enabling bill which came out of the Conference Committee was much closer to the Citizens for Con Con position than was the Senate bill, reported in the last Legislative Log. We lost on the timing; we won on the number of delegates; we broke even, or lost somewhat, on the money.
The bill sets the election in May of 1978 and the Convention in July of 1978. This is, we feel, too short a time between election and Convention. But the League will use the time well between now and the Convention to educate the public and the delegate candidates about the constitution and the issues likely to be under discussion, through our Ed Fund Project.
There was some hard bargaining to get the House to agree to drop the three extra delegates for Lanai, Molokai, and Niihau. But the Senate, having agreed to support 102 delegates, refused to go any higher. This was a major victory for the Con Con Coalition.
On districting, the Senate gave up their "all at large in the Representative District" scheme and went along with the House version, which we supported. This calls for two-delegate districts, formed by dividing existing multi-member Representative districts, and electing two delegates for each Representative.
Conferees agreed to the $1000 per month delegate salary we had proposed, but put on a $4000 limit. They also appropriated only $1.5 million total, with the assurance that a supplemental budget request could be passed next year. This is not enough money for the kind of convention we wanted. It will require monitoring.
There is no question that the people won a victory here. Without Citizens for Con Con and its member organizations and individuals, that is, without you, we might have had a far more restricted and restrictive Con Con enabling act. Citizen action works. Take a bow.
As stated in the March Legislative Log, we did not have any sunshine in public employee collective bargaining bills to follow. We have just seen that the citizens totally lacked information about what was going on in the bargaining until the zero hour of the session, which points up the need for some more openness in the system. League is committed to start lobbying early next year on this problem, so there will be legislation for us to support in 1973.
This was another piece of legislation we followed closely. The negotiations for changes in the Administration Coastal Zone Management program went on between the state and the counties, and were wonderful to witness. The state gave and gave, and the counties then demanded that they give some more. The resulting bill, which did pass, is a far cry from what League, and the Statewide Citizens Forum wanted. It is quite possibly such a far cry that the federal government will refuse to fund it. But we do have a bill that is a start toward statewide Coastal Zone Management. The State, in consultation with the counties will now work out guidelines to be voted on by the 1973 legislature.
The energy level of this session, when it came to energy legislation, was not very high. All the bills we followed died quiet deaths in committee files, not even dignified by a floor vote. Perhaps after President Carter's energy sacrifices become part of our lifestyle, Hawaii will take some positive action.
Thanks go out to all of you who responded to the Bottle Bill TIME FOR ACTION. Though the response wasn't sufficient to get a mandatory deposit into the litter bill which passed, we did keep the issue alive to argue another year.
Under the National League's Human Resources position, we testified through our representative on the Advisory Committee to the Children's Protective Service Center for more positions to provide adequate treatment in cases of child abuse and neglect. We also supported a Senate Resolution to encourage police reporting of abuse/neglect since this provision failed to become part of the amended reporting law.
No bills on Campaign Spending or Election Reform of any importance got out of committee this year. As your League lobbyists look back on the session, they see lots of work done -- some of which came to naught, but also a real victory on the Con Con. No matter that all our efforts did not meet with success, for we have demonstrated to the legislature that there are informed and active citizens out there who can and do participate in government --and they know that we will be back:
Child abuse and all its ramifications is becoming a vital issue which must be dealt with for our citizens' well-being, both spiritual and financial. A panel on child abuse and neglect -- what it is and what we can do about it -- will be presented at the Richards Street YWCA, co-sponsored by the Junior League, on Thursday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $1.25 for Y members, $1.75 for non-members.
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