Winter 1998 Home   Newsletters

Spring 1999

Fall 1999

President's Message
Vote by Mail Study
State League Convention
High Cost of the Initiative Process
Legislative Reports
Local League News - Hawaii County (Marian Wilkins)
Local League News - Honolulu (Grace Furukawa)
Local League News - Kauai County (Carol Bain)
Council '99
Membership Survey on Domestic Partnerships
Education Committee Report (Mary Anne Raywid)
Education Bills
League Office Now Wired
Millennium Young People's Conference
PLCO-Hawaii Still Recruiting
Proposed LWV Budget FY 1999-2000

State League Convention

The State League biennial convention is scheduled, for May 22, 1999, from 9.00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We had reserved the Special Events room at Liberty House, but due to renovations scheduled, for about that tune, we have been notified that it is no longer available. We are looking for a new site.

In preparation, for the convention, we are presenting the recommended program, the recommended budget, and the new slate of offïcers nominated for election.

Recommended State Program

The State Board recommends that we retain all current positions on our state program. These past two years, we have added two new positions - one against legalized gambling in Hawaii except for social gambling, and one advocating a coordinated response in domestic violence cases. We may be adding a new position on vote by mail soon after the State League Convention. We have amended our position on campaign finance reform to include direct public funding of election campaigns.

Copies of all the positions in brief are available at the office. The positions in brief will be included in the convention booklet.

New Program Recommendation

Review of current position on Initiative & Referendum

Our position on Initiative & Referendum was adopted in 1977. We have never been successful in having this issue seriously considered by the legislature. The last bill to ever gain a hearing four or five year ago was such a weak mockery o a bill that some of our coalition partners spoke against it.

Some Concerns

Of late, we have beer reading about concerns and abuses in the use of I&R in other states. One such concern is aired in this excerpt from the September 15, 1998 issue of Capitol Eye, a publication of the Center for Responsive Politics, Washington D.C.

"Ballot initiatives were products of the progressive movement, intended to give citizens a tool for bypassing slate legislatures dominated by wealthy special interests. But in recent years, special interests have co-opted the initiative as another means of setting public policy. Initiatives have become yet one more weapon in the arsenal of powerful interest groups - a trend that culminated in this spring's multimillion-dollar battle between big labor and big business over California's proposed `Paycheck protection' initiative. "* These supposedly local initiatives attract out-of-state funding and often serve as dress rehearsals for national policy debates. Money is now' essential to the entire initiative process, from obtaining enough signatures to get on the ballot to garnering public support with expensive television and radio advertising.

*Opposition to union payroll deductions for political purposes.

We experienced a sample of the money and effort that goes into the campaign for and against a referendum in our campaign against the marriage amendment. While there probably will be the necessity for such campaigns in the future even without initiative, the question is, will initiative escalate the profusion of such campaigns?

Proposed Review

The proposed review of our current position supporting initiative and referendum would study the experiences of other states which give the power of I&R to its citizens - both the positives and the negatives. The study would include the actual propositions placed on the ballots in the various states and the campaigns to solicit voter support. (See article High Cost of the Initiative Process.)

It would also gather information on the rules that control various aspects of the process, as well as the limitations placed on the power of I&R in the various states.

If we end up confirming our strong support of Initiative and Referendum, we can then pursue its adoption by the state with renewed vigor and confidence that we are doing the right thing.

Non-recommended Study

Exploration of Our Judicial System

This would be a preliminary look at our judicial system including its public education efforts to see where our future efforts could be focused -- whether there is a need for citizen education, problem areas that need study, or nation-wide issues on the criminal justice system.

On the basis of this exploration, the committee could suggest future courses of action by League, especially activities that could qualify for private grants.

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