Closing Door at the Legislature (Jean Aoki)|
State Council Meeting May 18: Great Discussion and Firm Resolve (Grace Furukawa)
At Last, a Maui League (Grace Furukawa)
Importance of Campaign Funding Reform
Environment Committee Planning
Leaguer Josh Cooper Honored
State Environment Committee
Judicial Independence Project (Jean Aoki)
Election Debates on Olelo Stations
Local Chapter News Clips
Saunders Hall Dedicated
Our First Gubernatorial Panel of the Year
State Council Meeting May 18: Great Discussion and Firm Resolve
The State Council meeting this year buzzed with pizzazz! About 35 members attended the business portion where the essentials were quickly handled, and then three discussion groups formed to discuss major civic issues in Hawaii: corruption, undemocratic procedural rules in the Legislature, and voter apathy.
Laure Dillon's group reviewed corruption, noting again that big money will corrupt and corrupt again, big time. It is critical to keep attention focused on the money trail and possible connections. Legislators will not love us for this, but we must continue to push for publicly funded campaigns as an alternative to the current method or the matching funds program. All were urged to hammer this home with every candidate we encounter this year. In addition, please submit names of community leaders who might support publicly funded campaigns to Laure Dillon, 922-2086. She plans to continue this effort.
League member Senator Les Ihara reminded his group that rules of the Legislature are not prepared in the public eye. The state also inhibits public access to information. Committee chairs may exert dictatorial control over issues discussed (or not discussed), as well as make decisions on issues without the full vote of members. Ihara suggested, and the group explored, an interesting new idea to set up a League committee to determine criteria by which the Legislature could be judged in any given year. The criteria would pertain to how well the Legislature has performed in granting public access, in openness (such as allowing TV in committees), in facilitating access to documents, in the scheduling of hearings, among other things. This was an exciting challenge that could give us a chance to make a difference in the areas where League excels.
Nikki Love, the Voter Service Chair discussed voter apathy in her group. She noted Hawaii is just part of a national trend of declining participation in the voting process. It seems that even though it is easier and easier to register, the numbers of those who actually vote has not increased. The problem seems to be one of motivation, particularly among the younger voter. Voting by mail has increased the vote significantly. But the downside to this is that voting occurs prior to the last weeks, when the action and positions of candidates become more marked. Quite probably, when voting on line becomes feasible and corruption free, there will be a big increase in voting. Nikki's committee is moving on a project called "Adopt a Precinct," where we focus efforts on a precinct that had a particularly low turnout and put a real emphasis on changing that statistic by working with local leaders and obtaining media attention.
Anyone interested in joining any one of these efforts public funding for campaigns, criteria for assessing legislative openness, or Adopt a Precinct should call the League office.
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