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Ka Po'e - The People are the Source of the Law
From the Board
Viewpoint - League Is Making Waves... Radio Waves, That Is
Commissioner Resigns (Marian Wilkins)
Legislative Log (Jerry Hess & Joyce Miller)
The 1978 session of the Hawaii State Legislature is in its final days. There have been 2426 bills and many resolutions introduced, plus many held over from 1977. We have lost a few tough ones, and we think we've won a major one.
During the 1977 session we worked as the lobbying group in a coalition to on a constitutional convention. We were able to get a 1.5 million dollar appropriation, with the understanding that an additional 1.5 million would be appropriated during 1978. The House Finance committee passed the bill over to the Senate Ways and Means committee with the original 1.5 million dollar appropriation ($200,000 allocated for citizen education). The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted the additional 1.5 million, with the $200,000 designated for citizen education. We are following this one closely.
The League has been following the State Plan since 1977 when it was developed by DPED and introduced to the legislature by the administration. It was heard in the House and the Senate, and though it has been rewritten six times, it is now in Conference Committee. We are guessing with bated breath as to what will come out from that Committee. It is hoped that the State Plan will conform with our support position, which is comprehensive planning as a guide for land use decisions, public input into the planning process, a device to insure coordination and cooperation between state and county planning.
The energy bills are faring well in the legislature this year - because of thorough planning and hard work. In the last 12 months scores of people, including LWV members, contributed to the development of a comprehensive energy program for the 1978 session.
Senator T. C. Yin, Chairman of the Senate Energy/Natural Resources Committee, produced a major report of over 100 pages. The report outlined the recommendations of the ten task force studies, summarized the major concerns and possibilities and suggested a goal of partial energy self-sufficiency of electrical and automotive fuel' by year 2010.
The results of this program have been encouraging. Every one of the suggested items of legislation were included in some 50 bills and resolutions introduced by Senator Yim and most of his colleagues and were included as part of the Senate Majority Program. Four days of hearings were held by the Senate Energy Committee and some 30 bills and resolutions were reported out of the Committee and received near unanimous approval by the full Senate.
The most important item was the funding of needed alternative energy programs of research, development and demonstration. The total "shopping list" suggested by the various task forces totaled over $16 million in capital improvement programs and $800,000 in general fund appropriations. Of this, $4.7 million was given high priority. This is a sizable increase from the total of only a little over $3 million funded by the State in the past five years and $1.5 million the Governor announced he was going to request at an energy press conference. Later, he increased this to $5 million which exceeded the Senator's first priority goal. The hope is that over $8 million will be finally approved, which in turn will probably attract over $20 million in federal and other support.
The League Schools Committee has been monitoring the Education Committee hearings in the House and the Senate. The League Schools Committee has been focusing its efforts on restudying the League position.
SUNSHINE IN COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Not only did we lose in our attempt to amend the campaign spending law, but the Campaign Spending Commission lost a valuable member, Marion Wilkins, LWV member, who resigned in protest at the failure of the Senate Judiciary Committee to close the loopholes in the Campaign Spending law.
Amendments to the campaign spending law which would have plugged loopholes, simplified reporting and changed the penalty system were all killed or left to die by the legislature this session.
Last year the House Judiciary committee sent HB 1436, H.D.1 over to the Senate Judiciary where it was sat on. This year the House committee refused to take action on two new bills, saying it was up to the Senate to move first this time. The Senate ended up killing or failing to take action on all the bills, thus leaving us to face two elections without adequate disclosure, reporting or penalty systems.
The Senate Judiciary committee members who were against the measures cited poor wording of the bills as their main reason for voting against them. The foot-dragging and delaying tactics used by the Senate Judiciary Chairmen place the hearing for SB 1800 at the 11th hour. It was then too late for the Senators to work on the language of the bill. It became obvious that there had been no intention on the part of some legislators to pass the bills even if they had been written by Shakespeare with Solomon as judge. The League spoke in favor of SB 1800, the HSGEA spoke against.
The vote on SB 1800 (to plug the organizational donor loophole) follows.
Due to effective lobbying by the ERA Coalition (the League is a member), there was reaffirmation of support for the ERA before the 1978 Legislative Session started. There were no attempts to rescind. The Coalition will continue its monitoring and lobbying in the upcoming Constitutional Convention.
DEPOSIT AND RETURN
League continued its support for deposit and return legislation for beverage containers in this session. The strategy called for concentrating on one bill, and getting it passed out of the Senate Ecology, Environment and Recreation Committee first. With this hurdle passed, it was thought that there would then be smooth sailing through the Senate and House.
SB 2373 was introduced by Senator Jean King and Senate President John Ushijima, and received the support of committee members Chong and Nishimura. But with five other committee members opposing the bill, it died there, in spite of some good grass roots support from LWV and others. The publicity we have generated this year will help in the next year's fight, and we will not give up. Deposit and return can yet become a reality in Hawaii.
There were a number of bills which would reduce litter in Hawaii. These included bills to ban plastic containers, ban the plastic rings which hold six-packs together, ban metal loops on cans and to use pressure sensitive tape on fruit and vegetable juice cans. Unfortunately, they have, for the time being, expired.
We are following resolutions on water and air quality and coastal zone management. These resolutions are to maintain or improve quality or bring existing laws into conformity with federal regulations.
HB 2352 proposes a resource recovery facility on the island of Oahu using solid waste to produce energy and material. The arguments against it included concern that it might inhibit recycling of materials. It has been voted out of committee. We are following this one closely and will have a follow up report on it at the end of the session.
Published by LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HAWAII
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