Monday, February 26, 2007


Again, state House makes amendments available only for pickup

Again and again they do this. Here is a snip from a hearing notice for the House Finance Committee with two proposed amendments that are not available on the Capitol website. If you live on another island and have no fax machine, you're out of luck. Or even if you live on Oahu but don't want to spend hours fighting traffic just to find out what they are talking about, you're also left out of the democratic process.

When they hear the bills tomorrow, those who worked on drafting the amendments will know what it's about, but not the public. They are the insiders, the rest of us are the outsiders it seems.

Usually the chair will ask the committee to pass the amendment because that's what they've been working on, often with the parties affected by the legislation. This is another part of the problem--even if you wanted to testify on these bills, would what you say matter? It seems the House does not care about you, Mr./Ms./Mrs. voter.

As mentioned in a previous post, the Senate provides their proposed amendments to the public on the Capitol website. The House could do the same. There's no technical reason why something should be "available in Room 306" only. There must be some other reason.

Thanks to the person who sent in this tip. Please keep 'em coming. If they think no one is watching and no one cares, they'll just carry on as usual.

If you support open government, you can call Speaker Calvin Say's office and just leave a message that you think the House should post any proposed legislation on the web, the way the Senate does. His office can be reached at 586-6100 or at email

Please keep your hot tips coming. If anyone is aware of any other amendments that are not available to the public before a hearing, or if you attend a hearing at which the chair pulls a secret amendment "out of a hat" and asks the committee to pass it, please send the info to


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