As in recent sessions, opening day of the 2016 Hawaii Legislature will be a “scaled back” occasion. It reflects the legislative branch’s focus on keeping spending and celebration under control in favor of attending to the business of the people.

To that end, the leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives told their members earlier this month the Wednesday floor session beginning at 10 a.m. will be “kept to a minimum” — no musical entertainment (the singing of the national anthem and “Hawaii Ponoi are not entertainment per se), no seating for family, friends and guest on the chamber floors.

Speeches will be kept tight, too, although there will be the usual refreshments in member offices afterwards.

Students demonstrate holding Hawaiian flags in the State Capitol rotunda on 2015 opening day of legislature. 21 jan 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Students demonstrate holding Hawaiian flags in the Capitol Rotunda on opening day of the 2015 Legislature. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“Please remember however, that Opening Day shall be treated as a regular work day,” Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Joe Souki stated in a Jan. 5 memo.

At least one protest rally is scheduled: “Protect People and Planet Over Profits” will start making noise at noon in the Capitol Rotunda.

People Over Profits rally flier

A press release from the Sierra Club of Hawaii says, “The rally features live music by Liko Martin, Jammerek, and Paul Izack, as well as international and local speakers on a wide range of issues related to environmental protection, food justice, workers’ rights, and prison reform — all of which are undermined by public policies encouraging ‘winner take all’ capitalism.”

Galleries open at 9: 45 a.m. One other note:

  • Opening Day of the Hawaii House of Representatives will be broadcast live on Oahu on Channel 49 (FOCUS) and tape delayed to the Neighbor Islands.
  • Opening Day of the Hawaii Senate will be broadcast live on Oahu on Channel 55 (OAHU) and live to the Neighbor Islands.

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