A Hawaii Senate panel deadlocked 3-to-3 Wednesday over a controversial bill that sought to trim retirement benefits for judges, effectively killing the measure.

House Bill 2006, as Civil Beat columnist Ian Lind explains, was introduced by Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance Committee chair, and House Majority Leader Scott Saiki.

It proposed slashing retirement benefits for judges appointed after June 30 of this year, and for judges already on the bench who are reappointed or promoted after that time.

Sen Laura Thielen questions Dept of Health Keith Ridley in Capitol Room 16 on care home reports being made public with up to 2 month delay.
Sen. Laura Thielen. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Unlike several other bills that also targeted the Judiciary this year by threatening the courts’ independence from outside political pressure, this measure would hit current and future judges directly in their pocketbooks,” Lind wrote.

The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee was split on HB 2006, with Chair Gil Keith-Agaran, Donna Mercado Kim and Mike Gabbard voting in favor and Vice Chair Maile Shimabukuro, Laura Thielen and Sam Slom voting no.

A seventh member, Sen. Kai Kahele, was not present for the vote

Thielen said it was not clear that the bill would result in cost savings and that it “unfairly” singled out the judiciary.


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