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Thursday, April 29, 2021
Legislature allows governor to act without restraint for another year
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:26 PM :: 3051 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, COVID-19

Outrageous!  Legislature allows governor to act without restraint for another year

From Grassroot Institute, April 29, 2021

This bill was so close to the finish line that the only question seemed to be whether Gov. Ige would agree to limit his power

Perhaps a special session is in order?

According to The Associated Press, as published by Hawaii News Now, "The Hawaii House on Tuesday killed a bill that would have curtailed the governor’s emergency powers, a measure that was introduced after the coronavirus pandemic prompted Gov. David Ige to issue 19 emergency proclamations to suspend laws, impose travel quarantines and take other steps to address the public health crisis."

The failure of the measure to make it to the governor's desk is a major disappointment, an outrage even, since it is clear the governor's emergency powers have been abused during the past year, without restraint by either the Legislature or the courts.

Approved by the Senate 24-1, HB103 was supported by a wide range of public interest groups, including the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. In testimony, the institute called it "an important step toward addressing an oversight in the state’s current emergency management law that was not apparent until the COVID-19 pandemic: the lack of a meaningful legislative check on the governor’s emergency powers."

In its latest form, the bill — HB103 HD1 SD2 CD1 — would have:

>> Clarified that "the powers granted for emergency purposes shall not be inconsistent with the state Constitution."

>> Provided "parameters for the duration of suspension of laws (60 days) and required justification for the suspension."

>> Specified "parameters for when a state of emergency is terminated."

>> Allowed the "authorization of the issuance of a proclamation arising from the same emergency or disaster as a previous proclamation that was terminated by the Legislature, upon request of the governor and adoption of a concurrent resolution by the Legislature."

According to AP: "The representatives didn’t debate their decision and held a voice vote to set the bill aside by sending it back to a conference committee. Because the session ends on Thursday, there’s not enough time remaining for lawmakers to rework the bill and return it to the House floor. 

The Grassroot Institute will have more to say about this in the coming days. 

LINK: OUR TESTIMONY ON HB103

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