Resolutions at the Hawaii Legislature, as Civil Beat reported earlier this month, can range from the insignificant to the meaningful.

Some have little or no impact on policy, while others lead to concrete government action.

This week was the deadline for what are known as concurrent resolutions, expressions of the sentiment of both chambers of the Legislature. These, unlike run-of-the-mill single chamber resolutions, actually carry some weight.

Like bills, only a fraction of the total number of concurrent resolutions makes it out of session.

Civil Beat looks at which concurrent reso’s have been adopted or appear headed for adoption.

Agreement From Both Chambers

Consider these four concurrent resolutions:

Urging the federal government to help Hawaii pay for medical assistance for migrants from Micronesia.

Asking the Hawaii attorney general to investigate royalty payments from a Big Island geothermal company.

Requesting that the Department of Agriculture get more locally grown food into school lunch programs.

Encouraging the UH School of Travel Industry Management to make more tourism data available online.

The four — SCR 53, SCR 85, HCR 167 and HCR 273, respectively — are among the more than two dozen concurrent resolutions that survived second crossover and stand a good chance of being adopted before the session ends May 5.

Out of the 178 proposed Senate concurrent resolutions and the 319 House concurrent resolutions, members in both chambers have only agreed on a handful that will likely be adopted.

Even then, not all may make it, though.

On Wednesday, for example, a Senate concurrent resolution calling for renaming Discover’s Day (aka Columbus Day) to Indigenous Peoples’ Day was recommitted to committee in the House, meaning it’s probably dead this session.

Some House members may have been uncomfortable with language in SCR 55, authored by Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, which includes a summary of “Christian dominion” over the Americas and Hawaii.


BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2011, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Governor is respectfully requested to support legislation that redesignates the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, in recognition of the countless numbers of indigenous people worldwide who perished as a result of the indigenous-European clash of civilizations and of those indigenous people who have endured and survived over the past five hundred years and who wish to celebrate their continuity and breath of life, educate the general public about this issue, and create a more peaceful world.

Shimabukuro can take some comfort, however, in that fact that fellow senators — save Republican Sam Slom — adopted Senate Resolution 29, a “reso” identical to SCR 55 and also authored by Shimabukuro.

Having identical resolutions and concurrent resolutions is common practice, though the latter carry much more force than the former because they reflect the view of a majority of all lawmakers, not just one chamber.

Hawaii school children will not have to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, yet. Like all reso’s, SR 29 does not have the force of law.

Worthwhile Resolutions

Depending on one’s views, an Indigenous Peoples’ Day might be considered either a noble cause or a waste of legislative energy. But the purpose of some reso’s is to just raise awareness of an important issue.

HCR 4, for example, proclaims May Lupus Awareness Month, while HCR 60 asked that April be designated Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

Both reso’s made Monday’s cut.

The 25 concurrent resolutions that made second crossover, in addition to the four mentioned earlier on Micronesians, geothermal, school lunches and travel data, also include the following:

SCR 79, which asks the new Board of Education to set up its by-laws, polices and administrative rules and report back to the Legislature.

SCR 24, which calls for setting up task forces to develop community benefits packages for neighborhoods located near landfills.

HCR 173, which asks the Department of Land and Natural Resources to work with Moanalua Gardens Foundation on using Kamananui Valley for educational and cultural purposes.

HCR 286, which asks the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to set up a task force to find ways to effectively enforce the state’s civil and criminal laws applying to unlicensed contractors.

SCR 145, urging the BOE to collaborate with parent organizations to develop policies for family engagement in public schools.

SCR 159, which urges the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to release pastoral and agricultural leases to beneficiaries.

Other concurrent reso’s seek to have state agencies speed up payments to nonprofit groups for purchase of goods and services, to have the state auditor review regulation of large-scale dog breeders, to set up a locally focused stock exchange and to allow an existing task force more time to find ways to reduce barriers to “aging in place” and facilitating multigenerational living.

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