SB2858 Fails to meet Constitutional requirement
News Release from Common Cause Hawaii and League of Women Voters of Hawaii, May 22, 2018
(HONOLULU, HI)— SB2858 SD2 HD1 CD1, which requires the State to consider hurricane resistant criteria when designing and constructing new public schools for the capability of providing shelter refuge, has been selected by the League of Women Voters of Hawaii and Common Cause Hawaii as the 2018 Rusty Scalpel “winner.”
The “Rusty Scalpel” award recognizes passage of a bill whose subject has been substantially amended without opportunity for adequate legislative review as required by the Hawaii Constitution. Article III, Section 15 of the Hawaii State Constitution provides that, “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each house on separate days.” SB 2858 CD1 failed to meet this requirement, as the content was not considered in the Senate.
The original version of SB2858, as well as the subsequent Senate Drafts of this measure, would have required the Department of Public Safety to establish key performance indicators for a post-incarceration inmate re-entry system. The House gutted the bill and inserted the contents of HB2452 (which crossed-over but was never heard by the Senate) which would have required the state to include hurricane shelter rooms in new state buildings.
“The point of the legislative process as laid out in our Constitution is to ensure proposals are properly vetted and discussed before passage. Maneuvers like those used with SB2858 cut out both legislators and the public. Coupled with the high number of bills in 2018 that were subject to the ‘gut and replace’ practice, it’s no wonder people are feeling disillusioned and discouraged from participating in government,” said Corie Tanida, Executive Director, Common Cause Hawaii. “We expect everyone, especially our elected officials, to respect and abide by our laws and Constitution.”
“Apparently, some House members thought it was fine to use an overly generic title like “Relating to Public Safety” to deceive their Senate colleagues about what topic was under consideration,” said Ann Shaver of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii. “The Legislature has failed to stop the use of ‘shortcuts’ even though all legislators took an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Shaver added.
Common Cause Hawaii is a state chapter of the national Common Cause organization. Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and improving Hawaii’s political process and holding government accountable to the public interest. For more information, please visit www.hi.commoncause.org.
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.lwv-hawaii.com.
SA: A rusty scalpel for gutting, replacing