Hawaii Legislature

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The Hawaii State Legislature consists of two houses: the Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate has 25 elected members and the House has 51. Senators serve four-year terms while representatives serve two-year terms. Currently, the Democratic Party controls the majority in the Senate and House.

Under the current state constitution, Hawaii’s government is organized into three branches: Executive, Judicial and Legislative.

The Legislature meets on the third Wednesday in January and convenes for 60 work days that excluding the weekends, holidays, and recess days, according to Article III, Section 10 of the Hawaii State Constitution.

The responsibilities of the Legislature include appointing the state auditor, whose office was established to evaluate the performance of state agencies, departments and offices to ensure accountability. The auditor reports its findings and recommendations to the governor and the Legislature, which often directs the office to make investigations.

Hawaii Legislature
Honolulu Rail Deal Fallout: Neighbor Islands Want A More Open Legislature Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Honolulu Rail Deal Fallout: Neighbor Islands Want A More Open Legislature

County councils say state lawmakers should follow open meeting laws, even though they’re not legally required to.

Nuclear Blast Preparations: Inside Legislators’ Secret Meeting Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Nuclear Blast Preparations: Inside Legislators’ Secret Meeting

Lawmakers and their staffs got briefed Tuesday on a possible North Korea attack, but the public wasn’t invited.

Chad Blair: Showering Hawaii Officials With Manapua Flickr: sese_87

Chad Blair: Showering Hawaii Officials With Manapua

Gifts to elected and appointed leaders include sticky notes valued at $1, PB&Js at up to $5, and trips to Taiwan worth $5,750.

The Fight Over Abortion In Hawaii Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Fight Over Abortion In Hawaii

State attorneys are headed to court to defend a new state law that requires pregnancy clinics to tell women about abortion services.

Honolulu Rail: Hawaii Lawmakers Deserve Credit For Doing Their Job Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Honolulu Rail: Hawaii Lawmakers Deserve Credit For Doing Their Job

Whether you support rail or not, it’s OK to applaud the Legislature for finding the best solution possible to a very sticky political problem.

Commercial Catching Of Aquarium Fish Halted By Hawaii Supreme Court FromSandToGlass/Flickr

Commercial Catching Of Aquarium Fish Halted By Hawaii Supreme Court

UPDATED Justices rule the state’s practice of approving all properly prepared applications is inadequate.

How the Legislature’s ‘Big Five’ Crafted A Deal To Rescue Honolulu Rail Stewart Yerton/Civil Beat

How the Legislature’s ‘Big Five’ Crafted A Deal To Rescue Honolulu Rail

Legislative leaders said efforts by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to derail the plan actually helped unite them.

$2.4 Billion Rail Rescue Plan Clears Another Senate Hurdle Cory Lum/Civil Beat

$2.4 Billion Rail Rescue Plan Clears Another Senate Hurdle

UPDATED: The proposal to raise hotel taxes and extend the GET next faces another vote by the full Senate on Wednesday, then likely House consideration.

Any Bailout Of Honolulu Rail Must Include Tough State Oversight Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Any Bailout Of Honolulu Rail Must Include Tough State Oversight

While we’d prefer no more money go to the mismanaged project, it’s heartening that proposed tax increases include closer scrutiny of HART.

Rail Bailout Bill Requires Sweeping Audit Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Rail Bailout Bill Requires Sweeping Audit

But critics say lawmakers should wait for audit results before handing billions more dollars to the troubled project.

3 Things That Could Derail The Honolulu Rail Bailout Cory Lum/Civil Beat

3 Things That Could Derail The Honolulu Rail Bailout

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and his City Council stalwarts are playing chicken with a political freight train.

Lawmakers Strike Deal To Increase Hotel Tax, GET To Pay For Rail Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Lawmakers Strike Deal To Increase Hotel Tax, GET To Pay For Rail

State lawmakers also want to require an audit of the struggling rail project. Senate Ways and Means will hear the measure Monday.