Chair Tokuda, Vice-Chair Kouchi, and Committee Members:
This is a “Frankenstein” bill. It has been amended by adding content to the original bill that is unrelated to the original bill. For this reason, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii opposes SB 128, SD1.
The purpose of the original SB 128 was to prohibit a motor vehicle from being operated within one meter of a moving bicycle, while SB 128, SD1 says the purpose of the Act is to both prohibit a motor vehicle from being operated within one meter of a moving bicycle and appropriate funds for a grant-in-aid to the city and county of Honolulu to operate a van pool program on Oahu. We believe this drastic unrelated change presents a clear violation of our State Constitution, Article III, Section 14 which requires that “No law shall be passed except by bill. Each law shall embrace but one subject.”
Here we also observed many “exceptions “to Senate procedural rules. The TRA hearing notice for the original bill and a “Proposed SD1” version of the bill was posted on the legislature’s website on February 13th, 4 days before the hearing, when both versions of the measure were available on the website. This notice explicitly mentions that public testimony could be submitted on both the SB128 and the “Proposed SB128 SD1.” The “Proposed SD1” was a gut and replace of the original SB128, removing anything to do with the original content and replacing it with new content about a van pool program unrelated to the original intent of SB 128.
Unfortunately also on February 13th, committee referrals were amended to correspond with the Proposed SD1, bypassing the original referral to the Judiciary and Labor Committee and adding a referral to the Ways and Means Committee. A logical question is which version of the measure was really under consideration and which committees would later be hearing the measure? For members of the public interested in one or both measures, it’s only fair to make this clear.
What should we to say to the three people who took the time to write testimony on the original SB 128 for the February 17th hearing, because it appears from the Committee referrals that the Senate Transportation Committee had already decided on February 13th to gut and replace the original bill and post it as a Proposed SD1 before the scheduled hearing? In particular we encourage Emily Woitas, a sophomore at Kalaheo High School, to keep trying to make democracy work.
Certainly the Proposed SD1 that was posted deserves consideration. The Department of Transportation, VRide, Enterprise Holdings LLC and one individual thought so. Many other taxpayers take an active interest in a proposed State grant-in-aid to the City and County of Honolulu for transportation costs.
Why not use the established grant-in-aid process for this appropriation request? For that matter, why gut and replace the original bill when there were many short form bills available that could have been used for the same purpose as the “Proposed SD1”?
Next the TRA committee amended the Proposed, SD1 to combine it with the original SB 128. Result? An “actual” SD 1 which is now posted but is a totally different subject from the proposed SD1.
Acting in a less than open manner undermines citizen trust in government. The League of Women Voters is again very disappointed that “gut and replace and “Frankenstein tactics” are still allowed to happen. We urge that the measure be deferred.