IN THE NEWS
NEW COVID-19 ORDER
The new extended, stay-at-home order for COVID-19 makes no sense and is actually very harmful for our economy, everyone’s livelihood and to our individual personal lives.
We are creating poverty and poverty takes more years off of life than absolutely anything else. Studies have already shown that to shut down the economy, instead of protecting those who are vulnerable because of age or other serious health issues, is actually more damaging in terms of total years off of life.
The mayor opened the parks , the beaches and hiking trails, but only for solo activity, such as, reading, meditating, eating, jogging or just sitting. Members of the same household cannot be engaged in doing any of these activities outdoors together. It is not sensible and is contrary to our normal concerns for public safety.
People should not be doing these things alone. We normally tell people not to do so. People should not be going into the ocean alone, hiking alone or even sitting in a park alone. Parents should be able to do outdoor activities with their children.
These rules are created for the sake of law enforcement because the mayor has determined it would be too difficult to know whether groups are from the same household.
If our Governor and Mayor were truly concerned for the welfare of the citizens of Hawaii, they would trust us instead of blaming us. The spread of COVID-19 was impacted by the Department of Health’s failure to do contact tracing, as they assured us they were doing.
We need accountability and transparency in order to stop the spread of the virus across our community.
GUT & REPLACE
There is a deceptive practice at the Hawaii State Legislature of completely changing the language content of a bill.
The result is actually a bill with a new subject, but with the same bill number and title, because it has been changed from the originally intended subject to an entirely different one after the bill passed Third Reading in the originating chamber. The bill crossed over to the other chamber and was heard in committee where the entire content was changed. This process is called gut-and-replace.
Members of the public who submitted testimony on the first version of the bill usually remain unaware that their testimony is now unrelated to the current content of the bill. The only thing that remains the same is the title, which is all that is required when a bill is amended.
The same bill number, now with a totally different subject, passes Third Reading in that chamber. Then the bill goes to Conference Committee to resolve the differences between the two different versions. Most often the negotiations are made by the subject committee chairmen behind closed doors. The final version of the bill must pass Final Reading in both Chambers, but without being heard again in the committee where the bill was first given a hearing with the opportunity for public testimony.
Most bill measure titles are overly broad and general, so that they can cover a wide variety of subjects. This makes a gut-and-replace easy for the chairmen to do without the public being aware of what has happened. Most people would think that this process violates the Sunshine law, but the Legislature exempts itself from it.
As a result of all of this, the public doesn’t have genuine input into laws being passed. The legislature makes and breaks its own rules, including its rule on substantive changes. As long as we have a legislature that is nearly all one political party, it will continue. We lack necessary checks and balances. Any bill to resolve this problem is unlikely to be introduced and heard by those who benefit from it.