Thursday, February 06, 2014


Common Cause Hawaii, Sen. Laura Thielen, on short-form bills

by Larry Geller

Three good articles for good government advocates and policy wonks :

I appreciated two very good points that Senator Thielen madeSen. Thielen in her first article:

  1. People who have signed up for notice of hearings on original bill will not receive notice of a hearing the short form bill; and
  2. The Committee referral on the short form bill is likely different than the referral on the original bill.

Of course, the purpose of the SB110 caper was to accomplish #2, that is, to undo a decision made by leadership about the appropriate referrals for a controversial bill that looked like it wouldn’t pass. I hadn’t even thought of #1, but of course, anyone following the original bill would have been blindsided by the maneuver.


I think we are all benefiting as Senator Thielen thinks out loud while trying figure out the rules, both explicit and those unstated, as a freshman senator.

Count me as one of those blindsided by the short-form maneuver. I was watching SB30258, the original bill, not this blank, short-form bill.

Fortunately, social networking allows for a raid mobilization. And the suddenness of the gambit aroused anger and suspicion. Some of that suspicion came back to bite Senator Nishihara on his okole.

I ALMOST wrote "unfairly," because he was accused by several, including me, of trying to sneak the bill through without a public hearing. I made a small mea culpa online. I believe the main reason was to get something through without having to include the Senate Health committee and its chair, Josh Green.

But that motivation is almost as bad as our initial suspicion. This IS a bill which deals with health matters, as it is consciously designed to prevent county governments from regulating agricultural practices those counties believe may have a negative impact upon the heath and safety of their residents, as well as that of the natural environment.

Given the original referral decision by leadership, it is clear they see that connection as well. So the re-referal, trying to evade review by Health, was shady and improper.

No public input was allowed on the hearing considering whether to move the language to SB110. There was no assurance that public hearings would be allowed afterwards, given the maneuver.

Thanks for your observations on needing a review by Health. I have no idea what will become of the original bill, but if it should move forward, it will have done so according to correct procedure, anyway.


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