Tuesday, April 09, 2013
People to legislators: Stop “gut and replace” shenanigans
by Larry Geller
It’s doubtful that those who worked to create Hawaii’s state constitution intended to give lawmakers a way to bamboozle their constituents. “Gut and replace” is nothing but a maneuver to push through language that has not been heard in prior committees or on the floor. It cheats the public of the chance to give testimony and can be used to benefit special interests.
This year, organizations such as Common Cause have mounted an effort to end the despised procedure, and it’s time that our elected representatives took heed.
An article by Derrick DePledge in today’s newspaper highlights opposition to inserting language for geothermal development into a bill that made its way through the Legislature with language related only to the operation of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. HB252 should be stripped of the geothermal language. In this case, there was no “gut,” but the problem is the same: sneaking language in to avoid the legislative process.
If geothermal needs a bill, it should have had one all of its own. That bill should have had all of its hearings and met all of its deadlines.
It’s time for House and Senate leadership to stop sneaking laws around the democratic process. Why not end “gut and replace” right now, and send a message to committee chairs that tolerance for that and similar tricks is wearing thin?
Your readers should know, geothermal DID have a bill "all of its own." That bill was HB932. And that bill DID have hearings in the appropriate subject committees, where it DIED due to lack of support from the committee members.
You are correct this is not a case of "Gut and Replace." But that term is so gloriously vivid that I hate to give it up. I tried to offer "Slash and Graft," but I think it lacks the panache of gut and replace. (I do like the "Graft" part, however.)
Henry Curtis points out it may be a violation of the State Constitution for a bill to include two, unrelated subject matters. I suspect a (not very) strict reading of the state constitution supports his argument.
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The Hawaii State Constitution, Article III, Section 14: "Each law shall embrace but one subject"
Thanks to Larry, Bart, Henry and Civil Beat! I am totally disgusted with the legislature and Democratic (bad joke) party!
Thanks Larry and Bart,
As well there are Senate Rules that apply to this.
How is it they believe they can casually do this without the appropriate punishment?
(1) All amendments proposed to any bill shall be in writing, unless otherwise ordered by the Senate, and shall be sent to the Clerk's desk to be filed with the bill.
(2) The fundamental purpose of any amendment to a bill shall be germane to the fundamental purpose of the bill.
(3) The Clerk shall prepare and distribute copies of any proposed floor amendment to each member of the Senate present.
(4) A floor amendment shall be deemed pending only after its proponent has been recognized by the President and its adoption has been properly moved and seconded.
(5) A floor amendment that relates to a different subject, is intended to accomplish a different purpose, incorporates any other bill pending before the Senate, or would alter the nature of the bill as reported, is not germane and shall not be considered by the Senate.
(6) An amendment to a floor amendment that is not germane to both the floor amendment and the bill as reported shall not be considered by the Senate.
Brickwood said it wasn't a gut and replace. He said the geothermal addition was just an addition. This is the kind of behavior that makes a lot of folks howling mad but we continue to re-elect and tolerate these guys. Ay sus.