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 Position Papers - Honolulu

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League of Women Voters of Honolulu

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Initiative & Referendum
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Initiative and Referendum

Position in Brief:

The League of Women Voters of Honolulu is committed to the declaration in the Constitution of the State of Hawaii that "all political power of the State is inherent in the people and that the responsibility of the exercise thereof rests with the people."

For the full realization of this power and responsibility, the rights of initiative and referendum are necessary tools and should be reserved to the citizens of our County as well as the State.

Amplification of Position:

  1. We support initiative and referendum for amending of the City Charter and for ordinances.

    1. We support either direct or indirect initiative.
    2. There should be no restrictions on subject matter, including land use matters, taxation or other money matters.

  2. We support optional and petition referendum for ordinances.

    1. Optional or legislative referendum would enable the Council to propose issues to the people.
    2. Petition referendum would enable the people to vote on an ordinance enacted by the Council.

Definition of Terms:

Initiative - The procedure by which citizens can propose a law by petition and ensure its submission to the electorate.

Direct Initiative - The proposal goes directly on the ballot.

Indirect Initiative - The proposal goes to a legislative body for review. The Council can propose changes to the measure or pass it as is. If the Council takes no action or makes changes that are not agreed to by the initiators of he petition, the proposal will be put to the voters.

Petition Referendum - After a legislative body passes a law or ordinance, opponents of the legislation have a designated amount of time (usually 30 days) to file notice of intent to circulate petitions to put the measure to a vote. They then have an allotted amount of time to collect the required signatures, usually 60 to 120 days. If the petition is successful, an election will be held on the issue. A special election may be required.

Optional or Legislative Referendum - This type of referendum is used by a legislative body to put a measure to people.

Compulsory Referendum - (not mentioned in our position) Certain types of legislation, such as bond issues, levying of taxes, constitutional and charter amendments, must be referred to the people by law in many states and municipalities.

Adopted 1988

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