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
Committee Rejects Governor’s Choice For Utilities Commission Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Committee Rejects Governor’s Choice For Utilities Commission

UPDATED But the full Senate will ultimately decide whether Tom Gorak’s appointment to the PUC will be confirmed.

Competing Airbnb Bills Set Off Lobbying Battle Screenshot

Competing Airbnb Bills Set Off Lobbying Battle

A  bill letting online brokers serve as tax collectors is likely to pass, but lawmakers are still debating giving local governments more enforcement power.

Homelessness: A Lot Of Talk But No ‘Game-Changer’ At The Legislature Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Homelessness: A Lot Of Talk But No ‘Game-Changer’ At The Legislature

Some bills are still alive, with their fate to be decided in conference committees.

Hawaii Police Agencies Struggle To Equip Officers With Body Cameras Nick Grube/Civil Beat

Hawaii Police Agencies Struggle To Equip Officers With Body Cameras

Only one department — the smallest — has had any luck with implementing the technology. So what’s taking so long everywhere else?

Counties Pressure State To Protect Lifeguards From Lawsuits Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Counties Pressure State To Protect Lifeguards From Lawsuits

Hawaii’s four mayors and county council members say the latest draft of a liability bill still puts lifeguards and beachgoers at risk.

Hawaii Set To Roll Back Nation’s Toughest Drug Paraphernalia Laws Steven Depolo/Flickr.com

Hawaii Set To Roll Back Nation’s Toughest Drug Paraphernalia Laws

A bill decriminalizing the possession or sale of pipes, bongs and other drug paraphernalia is cruising through the Legislature, despite strong opposition from prosecutors.

House Legislators Clash Over Bill To Trim Judges’ Pensions Cory Lum/Civil Beat

House Legislators Clash Over Bill To Trim Judges’ Pensions

Meanwhile, bills advanced to fund Honolulu rail, clarify control over roads and make it easier to treat mentally ill patients against their will.

Lawmakers May Put Brakes On Hawaii’s Aquarium Fish Industry FromSandToGlass/Flickr

Lawmakers May Put Brakes On Hawaii’s Aquarium Fish Industry

A bill nixing all new permits for aquarium fishing and requiring the state to establish sustainable collection practices and limits is being considered by legislators.

Counties Threaten To Pull Lifeguards Over Fear Of Lawsuits Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Counties Threaten To Pull Lifeguards Over Fear Of Lawsuits

The Legislature is debating whether to extend limited liability protections for lifeguards over the objections of a group of personal injury lawyers.

Most Hawaii House Members Won’t Say Where They Stand On Aid In Dying Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Most Hawaii House Members Won’t Say Where They Stand On Aid In Dying

The House Health Committee’s deferral of the bill let other members off the hook on making their position on the issue known to the public.

Will Joe Souki Be Hawaii’s Next Lt Gov? Cory Lum/CIvil Beat

Will Joe Souki Be Hawaii’s Next Lt Gov?

There’s a lot of speculation about how the dominos could fall if Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui resigns to run for Maui mayor.

Lawmakers Fail To Fund Hawaii’s Ambitious Housing Plans — Again Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Lawmakers Fail To Fund Hawaii’s Ambitious Housing Plans — Again

Lowered revenue forecasts are deflating hopes during a legislative session that started with the potential for real change.