Saturday, April 06, 2013
Petition seeks to revive bill to allow recall of Hawaii public officials
by Larry Geller
There’s a petition posted on the signon.org website that has already gathered 365 signatures (including mine). The objective is to urge Hawaii lawmakers to pass legislation for a an amendment to the state constitution to allow recall of public officials:
Subject: Hawaii Public Officers, Recall Initiative
"Citizens have no means to remove a public officer by way of recall, impeachment or initiative process except the office of the Governor, Lt. Governor or their appointees. The Hawaii State Constitution should be amended to allow for such recall of any public officers. HB 187 introduced in 2011 died in committee. It should be reintroduced and openly debated."
Given the House leadership in 2011, it is not strange that HB187 never got a hearing. Remember, we’re talking about a legislative body that won’t even consider ethics bills that would restrict its behavior. And given the introducers (see image), the effort was certainly hopeless from the start. But still, there it is, and it could be re-introduced.
It might take a major scandal to revive this bill. A really outrageous scandal. A politician just breaking the law might not be enough. Falsifying required reports doesn’t merit even a wet noodle slap, for example. Still, there have been instances when lawmakers have been prosecuted.
Still, I feel Hawaii ought to have a route to recall its lawmakers, and so I added my name to the others who have already signed the petition.
Do I have a particular politician in mind? No, I don’t, though others might. I do feel strongly that the ability to recall is important in a state where incumbents most often have a lifetime lease on their seat in the State Capitol.
If by chance a politician were caught wearing a revealing Speedo stuffed full of illegal contributions while he killed a gay homeless female whale while screaming religious epithets and praising HART....well, then maybe enough outrage would emerge to get this passed.
OK, I was just kidding about HART.
I've always liked Artivle I, Section 1 of the State Constitution:
Section 1. All political power of this State is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people. All government is founded on this authority. [Am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]