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Winter 1986

Feb 1987

Debates that Were (Dee Dee Letts)
Debate that Wasn't (Janet Mason & Jeanne Trebor-MacConnell)
President's Column (Anne Lee)
Program Planning
Water Resources in 1986 Legislature (Kiyoko Nitz)
1987 State Convention
Bringing Star Wars Down to Earth
Mahalo Channel 11
1986-1987 LWV/Hawaii Calendar
Nominees Wanted
State Board Tape (Muriel Roberts)
LWVEF Thanks the Following For Making Our Debates Possible
National Studies
ABC Election Reporting
Mahalo Channel 2

Water Resources in 1986 Legislature

The 1986 Legislature had no important gains in the water resources field except for the funding of a $190,000 program designed to protect Hawaii's groundwater from contamination by pesticides and other substances.

Since 1978, when the State Constitutional Amendment directed the Legislature to form a water resources agency and adopt a water code, different socio-economic political sectors in Hawaii have actively campaigned for their own interests and views. A Water Code Advisory Commission was formed and it drafted a model water code. After a series of public hearings held across the State in 1984, this model was modified and submitted to the Legislature.

In 1985, the Senate passed its version of the Water Code (SB 564, S.D. 2) which was quite different from the recommended Water Code. However, it did follow the public trust doctrine used by the model and the Supreme Court decision. Some believed a statewide control as stipulated in the Senate version was anti-business and that businesses would not invest in water development. Others felt this version did not go far enough.

In the 1986 Legislature, the representatives from the counties, sugar industry, and the State as well as environmentalists and small farmers were seen at every meeting of the House Committee on Water, Land and Hawaiian Affairs. The debate reached its height when the Committee Chair attempted to substitute his own version of the Code. This faced immediate attacks from many sectors except the sugar industry and some counties.

After weekly discussion meetings, which did not appear to be an arena for honest dialog, a new version (SB 564, SD 2, HD 1) of the water code emerged and was sent to the House Committee on Finance. This new version also turned out to be unsatisfactory for most interest groups. After a public hearing, still another version was drafted (SB 564, SD 2, HD 2) and sent to the House floor.

The House passed this version but the Senate refused to accept it so the matter was sent to a conference committee. When no water code could be drafted to satisfy both the House and Senate by the time the session ended, the bill died. The whole process will probably start all over in 1987.

LWV/Hawaii gave testimony on the various versions of this bill on three occasions. A press release was issued and several letters sent to Neighborhood Board members on the various versions. The LWV/Hawaii's position is that the water code is long overdue. Copies of the testimony and many other materials on the water code are available in the League office.

Kiyoko K. Nitz

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