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April 1996

May 1996

Waikiki Zoning Amendments Disputed
League Monitors Family Court
Camp Kailua
Con Con '98? (insert)

Con Con '98?

The Role of State Constitutions
Amending the Constitution
Amendments Proposed by Legislature
Constitutional Conventions and Commissions
Constitutional Initiative
Summary of Hawaii State Constitutional Conventions

'98 Con Con?
Meller - ?
Lee - No

Report of the Con Con Committee's Interviews on Con Con Questions
Some of the general reasons for opposing a convention
Some of the reasons for favoring a convention

Con Con Interviews
Article I. Bill of Rights
Article III. Legislature
Article V. Executive
Article VI. Judiciary
Article VII. Taxation and Finance
Article VIII. Local Government
Article IX. Public Health & Welfare
Article X. Education
Article XI. Natural Resources
Article XII. Hawaiian Affairs
Article XIV. Ethics

General Comments and Questions

Costs of a Convention



The preface to State Constitutions in the Federal System prepared by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in 1989 says, "The American Federal system rests on two constitutional pillars: the 50 state constitutions and the United States Constitution. Metaphorically speaking, if one or the other pillar is cut down in size or raised too high, then the federal system becomes unbalanced. In many respects, this is what has happened to our federal system."

This report suggests that the U.S. Constitution is incomplete. "it is predicated on the continued existence and vitality of state constitutions. Unlike many constitutions in Europe and elsewhere in the world, the Constitution of the United States is silent, or mostly silent, on such fundamental constitutional matters as local government, finance, education and the structure of state and local government. These and other constitutional matters are left to the states to resolve, in keeping with their own needs, preferences and traditions. Thus the complete American constitution includes both the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the 50 states – both as they are written and as they are implemented and interpreted by judges and other government officials."

The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government certain powers. It defines those powers that the states have relegated to the federal government.

State constitutions limit the powers of the state government. Quoting from the above report, "Generally speaking, because of the necessity to enunciate specific limitations on the otherwise virtually unlimited governmental power, state constitutions contain much more detail contain long articles on taxation and finance, two of the most important functions of any government. These provisions restrict state government taxing and spending in a range of ways that is unfamiliar in the federal government."

State constitutions allow for more citizen involvement in its drafting and amendments. They are easier to amend. It is suggested in this book that the stability of the U.S. Constitution has been made possible in part because of the capacity of the states to adopt new constitutions or to amend their cons to meet changing social economic conditions.

In State Constitutional Conventions: The Politics of the Revision Process in 7 States, the authors say, "The most frequently stated normative prescriptions for written constitutions are 1. they be relatively brief documents that set forth the structure of governments, and 2. they state clearly the major limitations placed upon government." Governments are said to function more effectively under constitutions that contain a simple digest of fundamental principals rather than a series of long and detailed statutory provisions.

Most of the original state constitutions were noted for their brevity, but through the years as the political, social, and economic changes took place, states have, through amendments and wholesale revision, ended up with rather lengthy documents cluttered with detail, whereas the federal constitution has been adapted to a changing society chiefly by a more liberal interpretation of the various provision.

According to many authors, one contributing factor is the erosion of the trust citizens have in their state governments. With perceived and real abuses of power by state officials, the citizens have resorted to adding more limitation on their powers.


Amendments Proposed by Legislature

The most common of the methods of constitutional change has been amendments proposed by legislatures. In the 1992-93 biennium, 201 of the 239 amendments submitted to voters by states nationwide have been legislative proposals. For various reasons – cost, political power – powers that be have opted for this piecemeal revision of the state charter.

Constitutional Conventions and Commissions

Constitutional conventions and commissions are usually thought of as institutions for accomplishing wholesale constitutional reform.

The constitutional convention is the oldest and most traditional method for extensive revision. According to the 1994 edition of the Council of State Government's Book of the States as of January 1, 1992, 233 conventions, including the 1982 convention in the District of Columbia- had been held in the U.S. No convention had been held since 1986 until the Louisiana Legislature called itself into session as a convention in 1992.

Commissions are generally appointed to review a state constitution and suggest revisions. In almost all states, their proposals go to the state legislatures which decide which proposals to present to the people for referenda. In Florida, the proposals of the commission go directly to the people for approval.

Constitutional Initiative

The popular initiative form of constitutional amendment, available in 18 states (Massachusetts and Mississippi has indirect initiative) has met with relatively little success at the polls. However, according to the Book of the States, during the 1991-93 biennium, the constitutional initiative generated 34 proposals nationwide, a record high as measured by biennium averages during the past 60 years. Of these, 21 were approved by voters, a 62% rate compared to the average rate of 33%.


Hawaii has had three constitutional conventions since our annexation.

The 1950 Constitutional Convention was held before Hawaii achieved statehood. According to Anne Feder Lee's The Hawaii State Convention - A Reference Guide published in 1993, "The underlying motivation for adopting this course of action was to remove all congressional doubts about Hawaii's qualifications for statehood. With a completed constitution ready to implement, Congress would be convinced by its advance adoption that the people of Hawaii accepted American values and were ready to be a part of the Union."

The 1950 Hawaii Constitution was praised in part for its brevity (14,000 words). According to Lee, The National Municipal League applauded it for setting "a new high standard in the writing of a modern state constitution by a convention: and for resisting "virtually all temptations and pressures to include the kind of restrictive and legislative details that has so encumbered most of the constitutions of the older states."

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in "Reynold v Sims" that both chambers of a state legislature must be apportioned on the one person-one vote principle. When the Hawaii State Legislature could not come up with a satisfactory apportionment plan, the Federal District Court ordered the Legislature to place a question of calling a constitutional convention on the 1966 ballot so that a convention could propose a permanent districting plan. This resulted in the convening of the '68 convention.

The 1978 convention was held with 74°%6 of the voters approving the holding of a convention in 1978 versus 26% opposing. The "question" had been placed on the ballot in the 1976 election in compliance with a provision in the Hawaii constitution which mandates the question every 10 years. No one issue demanded attention --just a general dissatisfaction with government. There was a general consensus that there should be a grassroots involvement and only 2 incumbents and 2 former legislators ran and were elected. Citizen groups, including the League of Women Voters, were very much involved in preparing the citizenry for this convention and in identifying the issues that needed to be addressed.

In 1986 when the "question" was placed on the ballot, over 50% of the voters rejected a convention.

Quoting from Lee's book, "Starting as a relatively short, simple, and highly praised document, Hawaii's constitution has been longer and more detailed. The Statehood Constitution contained about 14,000 words, making it one of the shorter state constitutions. The current document stands at around 17,500 words, placing it midrange among state constitutions.

In defense of this greater girth, many of the amendments have added to the rights of Hawaii's citizens and have contributed to making the constitution fairly progressive. With respect to its provision relating to ethnic Hawaiians and their culture, it stands out as unique.

Many of the amendments, particularly those authored by the 1978 convention, introduced significant new responsibilities to be undertaken by government. Yet the Hawaii constitution still succeeds in avoiding much of the excessive detail found in some of the other state constitutions."

'98 CON CON?

At Honolulu League's Planning Meeting on December 9, Dr. Anne Feder Lee, Dr. Norman Meller, and Professor Jon Van Dyke addressed the pros and cons of having a constitutional convention in 1978. Professor Van Dyke's talk dealt with a whole series of issues that might be addressed by a constitutional convention, and we have included them within the interview reports for the different articles.

Here we feature the arguments made by Dr. Meller and the arguments by Dr. Lee.


If you are going to consider the frame for considering whether there should be a Con Con, do not propose to consider all the things wrong with Hawaii's constitution and require amendment. I am sure most everyone has something he/she would like to see changed.

There are four ways of changing a constitution, all of which have been recognized in the United States:

  1. Amendments proposed by the Legislature

  2. Legally called convention

  3. Initiative - popularly proposed amendment

  4. Coup. Our federal constitution peacefully replaced the Articles of Confederation and was popularly acceded to. Coups may be violent, although we have not experienced this.

The drafters of Hawaii's constitution were in agreement on the following positions.

  1. The legislature should be empowered to propose amendments, but they did not believe that they could rely just on this. (They had a half century's experience of a legislature failing to reapportion itself.)

  2. The initiative process should not he incorporated into the constitution.

  3. The convention device should be available, but they did not believe they could rely on the legislature to provide for calling a convention.

  4. Without question, they were opposed to having to resort to coups for making changes (and they were afraid of this happening if they didn't put in some safeguards).

So the constitutional convention committee which proposed that the Hawaii constitution incorporate a provision for automatic consideration of calling a convention did so "to provide assurance of opportunity by the people to adapt the constitution to new conditions within a reasonable time if the legislature fails to do so in the face of popular demand." Hawaii is not alone in this; 14 states have a comparable provision in their constitution. The median is 20 years for the question having to automatically go on the ballot compared to Hawaii's 10 years.

This changes the nature of the first question we should ask in determining whether we should hold another constitutional convention: Are there conditions to which the constitution should be adapted and regarding which the legislature has failed to act?

Let me suggest a few:

  1. A rapidly disintegrating economy, with plantation activity disappearing, federal military expenditures on a long-time decline, a shrinking government which is now calling on private charity to provide the essential services for which it once was responsible, etc.

  2. A gradually widening disparity between the rich and the poor, which if it continues to expand holds the threat of social as well as political disaster.

  3. A system of centralized government which makes little sense in the allocation of functions between state and county.

  4. A bicameral legislature in which each house being the mirror image of the other constitutes an assured invitation to delay and extra expense

  5. An election system so corrupted by infusions of money that it is rapidly losing its legitimacy.

There is little chance that the legislature will attend to the latter two; and there is even less chance that the legislature is even capable of addressing the preceding three without there first being extensive preparatory study, narrowing proposals before any action may be taken.

Of course, the same holds true for calling a Con Con and expecting it to successfully address them without extensive preparatory work.

Granted that its actions are only recommendatory, may not the constitutional revision commission - rather than the constitutional convention - offer greater promise for periodically undertaking fundamental study of the ills of the body politic and then proposing constitutional changes to head off catastrophic conflict before it occurs? At least, the three state conventions which have met in Hawaii lend support to that conclusion.


We should only have Con Con if there are "Fatal Flaws" in the existing document. By fatal flaws 1 mean critical constitutional shortcomings that result in very serious problems for governance of our state. I see some stupid/silly provisions that could be changed, but they are not fatal flaws.

Our statehood constitution was much praised for its simplicity. There were no such praises for the 1968 nor the 1978 constitutions. Why? Because they added much clutter and that is always a danger.

We need to weigh costs and benefits. In 1978 there were 102 delegates. (63 delegates in 1950, 82 in 1968) The legislature could increase the number for 1998; it probably would not decrease. The '78 convention cost $2 million. The figure suggested now is $7 million. I think this is much too high for any benefits we may reap for having a convention, particularly since I see no fatal flaws.

Any reason given for the need for a Con Con must be evaluated critically. It is not enough for a few political pundits to write columns citing reasons we need a Con Con. Such writers should give us some analyses in depth which they have failed to do.

I have devised a test for evaluating the reasons given to support having a Con Con.

  1. Is the "problem" really a problem?

  2. Is the problem a "Fatal Flaw"?

  3. Is it really true that the Legislature won't act? Has anyone tried?

  4. What alternative provision is being suggested? Is it better? What are its implications?

  5. Is this a "problem" that a Con Con can be expected to solve?

  6. Is a Con Con likely to actually propose change in the area identified as a "problem"?

  7. Will the benefits outweigh the costs?

Using this test, I want to critically evaluate six "problems " that have been identified in public so far on this issue.

  1. "We need a Con Con to revitalize political life in our community."
    Revitalization may be a desirable by-product, but it is not and should not be the purpose of a Con Con.

  2. "We need a Con Con to create multi-member districts."
    The present constitution allows from one to four members per district. Thus the Reapportionment Commission can draw multi-member districts now.

  3. "We need a Con Con to remove the tax rebate provision in the constitution."
    In 1984, the legislature proposed an amendment to remove the provision, but the voters rejected it. It is a stupid/silly provision, but not a Fatal Flaw.

  4. "We need a Con Con to change to a unicameral Legislature."
    This failed in previous Con Cons. There is no public outcry for this issue which needs a lot of public support for it to succeed.

  5. "We need a Con Con to change state/county relations."
    This may be the most serious problem being aired. But, how much effort has gone into making changes through the Legislature? Have the implications of any changes been analyzed?

  6. "We need a Con Con to remove the position of Lieutenant Governor."
    There is not enough strong public sentiment to make such a change likely.

As you can see, all these issues fail one or more parts of my test.

In conclusion, public support is the key to making any changes occur. At the present time, there does not appear to be a ground swell from the community to revisit any of the specific areas in the constitution. Many, of the issues can be handled through the Legislature if the public sentiment is strong enough. Because Con Con cons are not convened to address only specific issues, there is a danger that good provisions now existing may be eroded or diluted, causing more harm than good.



About 150 letters were sent to government, business and community leaders explaining League's project and alerting them to expect calls from committee members requesting interviews. Some declined to be interviewed, some could not be reached, and some were unavailable because of work demands. We had a few, who in lieu of an interview, wrote in extensive remarks on their views.

We succeeded in interviewing over 90 people. Some were interviewed by members of, more than one committee. While most of them confined their remarks to the one particular article for which they were interviewed, others had much to say about issues in other areas of the constitution.

68 of those interviewed were opposed to having a Con Con, 18 were in favor, and the rest were neutral or ambivalent on the question. Most of the nos were based on the feeling that no amendments were needed for that section for which they were interviewed. Though they were opposed to the convening of a convention, many did list possible amendments to their respective sections.

Some of the general reasons for opposing a convention were:

  1. The cost of a Con Con at a time when the state is facing a financial crisis,

  2. The feeling that attention should be focused on improving the economic condition of the state,

  3. Fear that Con Con could be negative and destructive, dominated by special interests and anti-government agendas,

  4. Too much time and energy could be devoted to emotional "hot button" issues such as sovereignty, same sex marriage, gambling, etc.,

  5. The feeling that efforts should be devoted to implementing the '78 amendments,

  6. The need to give Hawaiians time to sort out issues of sovereignty at which time a Con Con may be necessary, and

  7. Fear that gains made in the '78 convention would be eroded or lost.

The last reason was expressed mostly for the areas of Hawaiian affairs. natural resources, ethics, campaign reform and the Bill of Rights.

Some of the reasons for favoring a convention were:

  1. The feeling that constitutional provisions may be the only way to prevent gambling and same sex marriage,

  2. The need for structural changes in the legislative branch such as term limits and a change to a unicameral legislature,

  3. The perceived need to review the document to adjust to changing conditions,

  4. The feeling that our values have changed greatly in the 20 years since the last con con, 5. The need for stronger home rule and a clear redefinition of the roles of state and counties, and the feeling that this will not be done by the Legislature.


Article I. Bill of Rights - 8 people interviewed


No amendments needed for this section – no compelling reason for a Con Con

Equal rights provisions need to be retained Right to Privacy section may be weakened

Climate is such now that there may be a move to limit equality and curtail freedom

Attention needs to be focused on improving economic condition of state


Bill of Rights should include right to health care and housing

Amendment needed for crime victims' rights.

Legislature has not supported this although it has been introduced many times.


Do we really want to protect the right to bear arms?

Article III. Legislature - 5 people interviewed, 1 no position


This Con Con could be negative and destructive.

Energy likely to be put into narrow agendas and anti-government views. In 1978, intensity and scope of grassroots community action and open-government renaissance was extremely high and kept the very special interests in check.

The argument that Con Con is helpful in encouraging the generation of new political leaders as was the case in 1978 many not apply now. Those were the days when people were still proud to be in government.


Do we need a bicameral legislature?

Are the House and Senate too large? Are multi-member districts better?

Should we have term limits for legislators? We need initiative and referendum.

Pay legislators more. Salary commission doesn't work. Must remove legislators from any decision making regarding legislative salary. Wages might be tied to some formula - percentage of what a department head makes, for e.g.

Change opening day from January to February to give legislature more time to work on preliminary bills and hold pre-session hearings.

Require 2-week recess immediately following bill introduction deadline.

Article V. Executive - 3 people interviewed, 1 no position


Article does not need amendment

YES - 1.

There are issues that Legislature will not (cannot) address.

Elect Attorney General whose duties and responsibilities would be more defined. If A.G. is to prosecute, he/she shouldn't have to advise the administration - two separate functions. A.G. should not be allowed to run for governor for a number of years.


Does the Governor have too much power relative to the Legislature?

If you eliminate Lieut. Governor's position and pass succession to House Speaker or Senate President, position would be filled by someone who would have been elected by a few people from one district.

Land Use Commission should be eliminated or its responsibilities more narrowly defined.

Number of departments should not be limited to 20.

Should we retain the line-item veto? Does it give the governor too much power?

 Article VI. Judiciary - 10 people interviewed


Needed changes can come through the Legislature

Recent amendments regarding judicial selection have already corrected some problems.

Any beneficial changes wouldn't be worth what we stand to lose.

Encourages citizen participation and broad discussion of issues.


Should we retain mandatory retirement age of 70 foc judges?

Are ten-year terms too short? Do shorter terms for judges make for less independent judges?

Does the Judicial Selection Commission have too much power over the reappointment of judges?

Is the Grand Jury functioning the way it was intended to?

Should the judgeship be a life-time job? Too many young judges who have not had enough experience are appointed as judges. If there were only a one 10-year term for judges, the appointment might he viewed as a culmination of a career. Then the issue of the judicial selection committee having too much power in the reappointment process would he moot.

Article VII. Taxation and Finance - 6 people interviewed


Amendment to section not needed.

The few changes that might be made could be initiated by the Legislature. e.g.. Tax Review Commission which is appointed every five years to review state taxes could be appointed every ten years to do a more thorough review.


We need to address 2 urgent problems. 1. How to keep our children from having to leave our state, 2. How to keep foreigners from buying up Hawaii. We could raise property taxes and devise some means of rebating it for local residents through our income taxes, except the separation of the two tax systems between state and counties presents problems. Feels that giving property taxes to counties is a good concern for local government tax base but too simplistic. Good in the ideal, but bad in the result.

Country debt limit needs review. This is based on 15% of the value of all property. State debt limit based on no more than 11.5% of operating budget.

We need to reconsider the magnitude of the escape hatch on expenditure ceilings. l. Special funds help circumvent the expenditure ceiling. 2. Cumulative accounting of overage over the ceiling as appropriations for different programs are made is necessary. Each overage may be minuscule, but in the aggregate amount to a great deal.

Expenditure ceiling provision is not restrictive enough. A 2/3 vote to allow exceeding ceiling is not enough – it should be 75%


Taxing of pensions. This will never be adopted by the Legislature.

Provisions concerned with fiscal management and special funds may well need review. Creative accounting with special funds can be a prescription for disaster.

Article VIII. Local Government - 11 people interviewed (includes Hawaii County) 1 no opinion


No need to amend section. Seems nothing wrong with philosophical principles of this section. Does not believe the constitution should be used to override the State Legislature.

We should look at amendments made in '78 and see what effect they have had, and use that as a basis of determining whether we need another Con Con.

The last Con Con resulted in a number of additional state agencies and an expansion of State government. In our current tough economic times, we are paying dearly for the bloated results.


State/County relationship needs review. Nothing will happen unless through a convention. Relations will remain strained.

Allocation of taxes between state and counties need review.

In 1976, the State gave to the Counties all urban zoning powers. Ever since then, the State has been eroding these powers by establishing State "Authorizes" to develop certain areas such as Kakaako and the Convention Center.

The State has given taxing powers to the counties only in the area of real property. Other funds such as TAT are allocated to the counties at the discretion of the state. Counties are therefore dependent upon the State for funds to run counties.

The exemption of real property taxes on State land leased to private individuals and companies needs review.

Counties are providing certain services, yet revenues derived from those services are turned over to the State. One example: parking fees collected by the Police Department. This practice needs review.


At the '78 Con Con, the issue of more autonomy for major neighborhoods. e.g.. Kailua, was discussed. Does this still have merit?

Are counties using the property tax powers properly?

Should we be moving toward a managing. director form of city government?

Article IX. Public Health & Welfare - 17 people Interviewed


Article is clear, basic, sufficiently flexible, and broad enough to meet any need.

Wording very generic. It gives necessary powers without limitations and leaves details to the Legislature.

Too much time and energy of convention could be devoted to emotional "hot button" issues such as sovereignty, same sex marriage, etc.

Possible changes might be more detrimental than positive.

Concerns of health of elderly and housing should be left to Legislature.


We need to establish a Department of Environment to consolidate all environmental programs.

Special emphasis should be given to the following by giving each a section in the article: a) the health of Hawaiian, and b) children.

Bill of Rights should include "The people shall have the right to individual health care and housing."


Eliminate all sections of this article except the first which reads, "The State shall provide for the protection and promotion of the public health." The rest are redundant.

Replace the phrase "The State shall have the authority to provide..." with "The State shall provide..." for all sections except Section 1, making the care of handicapped persons, public assistance for the needy and housing mandatory.

Article X. Education - 6 people interviewed, 1 no position


Issue is not changing the section but fully implementing the intent of Article X – that the university is a constitutionally independent corporation, not an administrative or executive agency.

The role of the Board of Education needs to be clearly defined. The last constitutional amendment limiting BOE's power to statewide educational policy is the way to go. Board is now struggling to differentiate between policy versus administrative matters.


Great need to clarify roles of Executive, Legislature, Board of Education of Department of Education in this area, the Legislature will not do it.

There should be more autonomy for BOE or it should be disbanded

We should guarantee a set percentage of the State budget for education.


The underlying assumptions of the phrase "nor shall public funds be appropriated for the support and benefit of any sectarian or private educational institution.." needs to be discussed. Are these assumptions still valid in today's society?

What if we saw both private and public schools as "the educational system" in Hawaii?

Appointed versus elected Board of Education. Should there be more autonomy for the University?

Do we need to restructure the Board of Regents to include students and faculty?

We should add to the second sentence in Section 1 of Article 10 sexual orientation and age to list of factors for which there shall be no discrimination.

In the present system, because everyone - the Governor, Budget and Finance, BUE, DOE and the Legislature is responsible, no one is truly responsible. There must be a better way.

Article XI. Natural Resources - 18 people interviewed, I no opinion


Section adequately addresses issue of natural resources – well balanced.

'78 amendments were major – still being sorted. It is in the implementation that we have problems.

We could address some hierarchy of priorities, but doubt that another Con Con will be as liberal and enlightened as the last one.

Case law and Supreme Court have interpreted this section. Language is relatively clear.

Final report of the Commission to Review the Water Code should be heard and publicly evaluated.

A Con Con is likely to reduce, not increase protection for the environment in the present climate.

Article XII, Hawaiian Affairs - 9 people interviewed, 1 no position


Fear of losing some of the gains made in '78 Con Con

Constitution should be broad enough to permit changes as times and situations change without an amendment to this section. Opportunities exist for improvements to be made through the Legislature and within OHA to get elected officials to be more accountable to the Hawaiian community.

Changes to this article should be held off until there is consensus on sovereignty issue.

Building a nation and preparing a community to deliberate about and/or make decision to evolve toward accommodations for Hawaiian self determination will take more time.

Problems such as weaknesses in the structure of OHA, uncertainties concerning ceded lands, Hawaiian Home Lands, and interpretation of legal issues can be addressed by groups which are already in place.

Hawaiian entitlements may be exposed to risk in this increasingly conservative climate.


Times change; we need to review important documents to adjust to changing circumstances.

We need to consolidate Hawaiian rights, Hawaiian Home Lands, OHA, sovereignty movement.

We need better working processes for groups and interest areas such as Hawaiian rights, Hawaiian Home Lands, OHA, public trusts and sovereignty.

0HA is important. Hawaiians need one consolidated voice to speak for them in government. OHA should be made more accountable to the people it represents.

Community values have changed greatly in the 20 years since the last Con Con. We need to reexamine the roles of the different branches of government and public and private agencies.

Con Con provides an opportunity for serious discussion of issues.


Government need to clarify the role of the State in relation to special groups like the Hawaiian.

Article XIV. Ethics - 4 people interviewed


The Ethics section is broad and encompassing and should remain as is.

Many legislators are on record opposing some of the restrictions of the Ethics Code and would love to weaken it.

The Ethics section is very good, and should not be changed.

No consuming interest in amending the constitution is apparent on the part of the public.


Citizens need education on what constitutes constitutional law and statutory law. The LWV could provide a valuable service by addressing this subject.

Delegates to Con Con need to be educated before the convention. Too many arrive unprepared.

All legislators and the public should understand the genesis of the constitution and the importance of the separation of the three branches of government. These days, there is a blending of the responsibilities which is having a negative effect.

We might do well to consider some of the procedures used to conduct the business of the convention. I am not sure Robert's Rules and/or legislative style practices will get us the best results. Some sort of facilitated consensus-oriented process might be considered.

Does a convention have to meet continuously?

Does it have to be structured along the conventional model?

Should we have study groups for each section as recommended by Dr. Meller?

Note: This definitely was not a scientific survey. People to interview were not selected randomly to provide a proper cross-section, nor for proper balance (we had no idea what each person's views would be).

Much of it took place when many of those interviewed were busy preparing for the opening of the Legislature and during the Legislative session. All of those we did manage to see or talk to were most gracious about taking time from their busy schedules to talk to us. There were a few who wrote to us at some length about their views. To all of them, we are most grateful.


We were not able to get an official estimate of the cost of a '98 convention, but estimates range from $7 million to $10 million.


Act 17,

approved June 27, 1977 lists the following appropriations $1,500,000 to the Office of Governor for defraying pre-session, session, and post session expenses including payment of compensation to delegates, etc.

$485,599 to Lt. Governor for conducting elections of delegates

$8,500 to Campaign Spending Commission for supervising contributions and expenditures, and

$72,000 to Legislative Reference Bureau to provide necessary services and assistance ... including updating of Hawaii Con Con Studies.

Act 243,

the Supplementary Appropriations Act of 1978 provided another $1,000,000 for the convention, about $200,000 of which was spent for citizen education by the LRB

The convention did not use up the whole $2,500,000, however and a sizeable chunk was returned to the state treasury. Costs covered delegates salaries, ($1000 a month but not to exceed $4,000 for the entire convention), delegates' per diems, employees' salaries, rental of office space, office equipment and sound equipment, and printing and binding among other things.


State Elections Officer Dwayne Yoshina supplied us with a detailed projection of costs for a special election that would be necessary to elect delegates to the convention.

Projected cost of a polling site election is $2,123,474 based on utilization of every existing polling place statewide. Cost savings might be had by consolidating smaller precincts into one polling place but this would not amount to much.

Although state law does not allow for all-mail elections, the projected cost of an all-mail election is $1,428,872.

The total delegate election costs for the 1978 Con Con was $485,599

(an insert to the April 1996 Aloha Voter)
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