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
Why Hotels Will Likely Get Stuck With Honolulu Rail Tab Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Why Hotels Will Likely Get Stuck With Honolulu Rail Tab

State lawmakers also want a thorough audit of the beleaguered project.

Lawmakers Consider Having Neighbor Islands Help Pay For Oahu’s Troubled Rail Project Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Lawmakers Consider Having Neighbor Islands Help Pay For Oahu’s Troubled Rail Project

With a special session set for the end of August, the Hawaii Legislature will lay out several funding options for the public at a briefing next week.

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Aquarium Fishing Bill, 12 Others Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Aquarium Fishing Bill, 12 Others

Gov. David Ige faced a heavy lobbying campaign from both sides on a bill phasing out commercial collection of fish for the aquarium industry.

Legislature Schedules Special Session On Rail Funding In Late August Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Legislature Schedules Special Session On Rail Funding In Late August

Hawaii lawmakers will convene for a week to figure out how to fund the rest of Honolulu’s over-budget project.

Ige Signs Bill To Unite Married Couple In Care Facility For Elderly Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Ige Signs Bill To Unite Married Couple In Care Facility For Elderly

After balking two years ago, state officials now feel there are sufficient safeguards to prevent private-paying clients from displacing those on Medicaid.

Here’s Who Might Get Stung Hardest By Any New Rail Taxes Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Here’s Who Might Get Stung Hardest By Any New Rail Taxes

Critics say one of the options to pay for the over-budget Honolulu rail project — extending the general excise tax — would unfairly burden the poor.

DLNR Urges Ige To Veto Bill Phasing Out Aquarium Fishing In Hawaii Cory Lum/Civil Beat

DLNR Urges Ige To Veto Bill Phasing Out Aquarium Fishing In Hawaii

The head of Hawaii’s aquatic resource division said he’s not sure lawmakers “knew what they were doing” when they passed the bill.

Legislature Plans To Hold Special Session On Honolulu Rail Funding Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Legislature Plans To Hold Special Session On Honolulu Rail Funding

UPDATED: Leaders try to assure federal officials that the state is committed to coming up with money, but there no sign a deal has been reached.

Is Hawaii Aquarium Fishing Headed For A ‘Slow-Motion Shutdown’? FromSandToGlass/Flickr

Is Hawaii Aquarium Fishing Headed For A ‘Slow-Motion Shutdown’?

A bill supported by environmental groups would prevent the state from issuing new permits for commercial collection of aquarium fish.

Civil Beat Poll: Support Is Strong In Hawaii For Medical Aid In Dying Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Civil Beat Poll: Support Is Strong In Hawaii For Medical Aid In Dying

Legislators kept the issue at bay again last session, but two-thirds of poll respondents say it’s time to act.

Pulling Out Of Climate Accord Will Hit Hawaii Hard, Officials Say Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Pulling Out Of Climate Accord Will Hit Hawaii Hard, Officials Say

Stressing how an island state is particularly vulnerable, elected leaders and environmentalists resolved to continue local efforts.

State Tax Collections Still Predicted To Grow Slightly Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

State Tax Collections Still Predicted To Grow Slightly

But the state’s top financial advisers decided not to try to predict what the Legislature might do with rail.