Chairs Baker and Ige, Vice-Chairs Taniguchi and Kidani, and Committee Members:
This is a “Gut and Replace” bill. It has been amended by replacing the original content of a bill from last session with new content unrelated to the intent of SB451. For this reason, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii opposes SB 451, SD1.
The original SB451 was simply to repeal the exclusion of owners or operators of aerial transportation enterprises from the definition of a public utility. SB 451 SD 1, on the other hand, is a major reorganization and re-ordering of responsibilities of the Public Utilities Commission—light years away from the original bill.
“Gut and replace” actions undermine public confidence in government because it seems something sneaky is happening in the legislative process. In order for citizens to participate actively in the legislative process, they need to be sure the process is working in a fair and transparent way.
While the material that replaces the original wording may have merit, acting in a less than open manner undermines trust. And just because the versions were drafted in two different sessions doesn’t make this any less of a “gut and replace,” a strategy that should have long ago been relegated to the dust bin of history.
Since this clearly is a “gut and replace” measure it should be held in Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to present our testimony.