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League Goes to the Legislature
LEAGUE GOES TO THE LEGISLATURE
We are already gearing up for the 1983 Legislative session. Listed below are League priorities for each of our interest areas. If you are interested in joining Marian Saunders' Action Corps, call her at 988-2635.
Our committee will be monitoring hearings and watching for bills on air quality, hazardous waste, and water. The last issue has been discussed for several years since the 1978 ConCon which mandated the establishment of an agency which would oversee all water use in the State. Because of the political nature of the issue, the Legislature has yet to implement this provision. In an effort to inform you of all the legal, hydrological, and social ramifications of the problem, Leo Hana will present an article on water in the Spring issue.
Our committee is ready to testify in three areas should bills be introduced on these subjects. First, we will oppose any effort to lower the waiver age to 14. This is likely to be proposed again this year. Second, we will testify in favor of provision for meaningful education and quality rehabilitation programs at Ko'olau. Last, we will favor attempts to provide suitable detention facilities on the outer islands.
The Sunshine Coalition (LWV, Common Cause, Hawaii Council of Churches, ACLU) is considering amendments to the original Sunshine Law (Chapt. 92) and possible changes to lobby for in Hawaii's Fair In-formation Practices Act (Ch. 92E).
Amendments to the law the committee is considering include:
Research by the committee on the Fair Information Practices Act reveals that the Act comes down on the side of privacy, contrary to the intent of the committee drafting the legislation, which was to conform to the model code (Amer. Bar
Ass'n) which came down on the side of privacy. For example, the Hi. law assumes all records are closed, with only four exceptions; the model code assumes all records are open, with 12 exceptions. The committee has been assisted by LWV member and attorney Peter Herman.
Out committee will be ready to testify on the prayers in schools issue as soon as consensus is taken among League members. See the long article in this issue for full information. In addition, we will listen to budget hearings and be pre-pared to comment if necessary.
We will continue to support bills for either direct or indirect initiative.
Last session the Senate passed a good bill, but the House did not even grant a hearing for it. We hope that this year, if a well-written bill is introduced, that it will be given a fair hearing.
There has been little effort to pass a bill for petition referendum. This type of referendum allows the public to put a law it disagrees with on the ballot if the required number of signatures is obtained. Legislators have opposed this more vehemently than initiative, so our committee, with other community organizations, has concentrated efforts on passage of an initiative bill.
Many legislators see these kinds of measures as a threat to their authority and oppose them using illogical and irrelevant arguments. One argument against initiative, for example, which surfaced during the 1978 ConCon, was that it was a "mainland haole" idea and hence detrimental to our "unique state". The challenge to lobbyists is to ignore these diversionary tactics and to persuade the opponents that we all benefit from initiative and referendum. Any process which allows greater participation strengthens democracy.
We will also be lobbying for money to be allocated to produce a Voters Information Pamphlet (VIP). The experience of the last election proved that such a booklet would be useful. A constitution-al amendment regarding distribution of salary appeared on the ballot but failed to pass because less than a majority of the voters even bothered to mark the ballot. A majority of those who did vote on that particular issue did favor it, but a measure can pass only if a majority of all those voting approve it. Some political analysts believe this amendment failed because voters were poorly informed. Evidently many people thought it was a salary increase for the legislature. A VIP could help to solve the problem.
Interested in interviewing a legislator? There's still some to see. Contact ACTION chair MARION SAUNDERS 988-2635.
DEMOCRACY IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT...
AND NEITHER IS THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN
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