Friday, October 26, 2007


What will happen to the Superferry bills as the special session progresses

Reproducing another email from Henry Curtis, with permission. In this message, Henry explains what lies ahead at the Legislature with regard to the two Superferry bills now working their way through their respective houses.

Henry also explains the Yes With Reservations (WR) vote. As a result of this and other comments I've received, I updated my earlier post to break out the WR votes from the Yes votes. I still think that voting "no" should be rewarded, so I've done so, over on that previous post.

Over to Henry:



The Senate Bill must pass the Senate and be sent to the House. Traditionally the second body ''gut and replaces'' the contents with their bill.

Similarly the House Bill must pass the House and be sent to the Senate where it will be changed into the Senate version.

One or both bills may pass the second body, at which point the first body can accept the changes, or send the bill to a joint House-Senate Conference Committee.

To serve on a conference committee a Legislator can not have voted against a bill. Thus those with concerns vote YES WITH RESERVATIONS so as to be able to serve on the conference committee.

The Senate Bill was amended to be Senate Bill 1 Senate Draft 1 (SB1 SD1). Three committees voted on SB1 SD1.

The votes were

YES (3): Senators Slom, Espero, Inouye

YES, With Reservations (7): Senators Taniguchi, Hee, Gabbard, Nishihara, Trimble, Menor, Ihara

NO (4): Senators Kokubun, English, Hooser, Tsutsui

This bill is in trouble. The dissent wanted a stronger bill with more provisions.

The House held an 11+ hour hearing with between 10- 22 Representatives present at any one time with no breaks for the public and where the first 6 hours were devoted to testimony and questions for governmental witnesses. They took almost half a day to hear just 36 witnesses, then the House then passed a bill without dissent (it appears that underneath the unity there is a boiling resistance)

House Testifiers:

Lingle: 6

Superferry: 6

Community Yes: 10

Community No: 13

Comments: 1

Total 36


Henry Curtis, Executive Director, Life of the Land, 76 N. King Street, Suite 203, Honolulu, HI  96817. phone: 808-533-3454. cell: 808-927-0709. Web Site:  email:


I don't know very much at all about the legislative process, but this from Henry's post struck me:

"To serve on a conference committee a Legislator can not have voted against a bill. Thus those with concerns vote YES WITH RESERVATIONS so as to be able to serve on the conference committee."

This sounds F*ed up. Sounds like it basically makes a big incentive to vote yes on things so you can have a say, and it shuts out those who aren't along for the ride. Is this a normal feature of state legislatures? What's the rationale? Seems dangerous on many levels and a distortion of the democratic process

You ask a very good question. Since you posted your comment I've looked at the Senate rules and at the legislative handbook on-line, and I haven't found anything.

I'll ask someone. You've got me curious now.

Affordable Housing thrown in the EIS soup

Between the Legislature and the Lingle administration, EIS soup is slowly brewing. The latest addition to the soup are the turnips (as I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck) of affordable housing – a political that has universal appeal to both Democrats and Republicans here. The Environmental Council, at the behest of the Lingle administration is proposing to amend Section 11-200-8(a) of the EIS rules to add an eleventh class of exempt action. Notice of the proposed rulemaking appeared in the various newspapers statewide today. Public comments are being accepted through the day of the public hearing, November 26, 2007, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 P.M. For more information, please go to and click on the folder entitled “HHFDC Petition for Rulemaking 2007.” The Adobe Acrobat PDF files contained therein are available for downloading and reading.

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Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

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