Gov. David Ige announced Wednesday that he has signed House Bill 1581 to help expedite the resolution of disputes on actions by state agencies.

The new law, which takes effect Aug. 1, allows contested case hearings before the commissions on Water Resource Management, Land Use, Public Utilities, the Hawaii Community Development Authority and cases involving conservation districts to be directly appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Gov. David Ige hopes annual reports on rail will help provide better oversight of the $6 billion project, which is the largest public works undertaking in the state's history.
Gov. David Ige, seen here signing a bill last year, signed a bill Wednesday to expedite the review of disputes with state agencies. Governor's Office

The law also requires the Supreme Court to give priority to contested case appeals of significant statewide importance, the release says.

The Judiciary had asked lawmakers to defer the bill and study the potential impacts — namely, increasing the Supreme Court’s backlog.

Lawmakers amended the measure to include a sunset date of July 1, 2019. This effectively sets the law up for a three-year trial period.

“The ability to directly appeal a contested case decision to the Hawaii Supreme Court will be very efficient, saving both time and money for all parties involved,” House Majority Leader Scott Saiki, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

“A Supreme Court decision will provide finality for a contested case much sooner than if appeals must be taken at various court levels,” he said.

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