House Speaker Joseph Souki from Maui will be removed from his leadership position Thursday, according to four House members who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He’s expected to be replaced by Rep. Scott Saiki from urban Honolulu, who currently serves as majority leader.

A resolution to replace Souki with Saiki will be considered during Thursday’s final House floor session, and there are enough votes in the 51-member chamber to replace Souki, the representatives said.

Civil Beat granted them anonymity because of the importance of the looming action and the sensitivity of the information.

House Speaker Joe Souki stands as roll is called. 2 may 2017
House Speaker Joe Souki has served in the post since 2013. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Souki and other House leaders could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Souki, 84, served as speaker for six years in the 1990s until Rep. Calvin Say took over in 1999. Thirteen years later, Souki regained the role in 2013.

The anticipated House shakeup comes as the Senate is undergoing its own significant reshuffle in leadership. Sen. Jill Tokuda is expected to lose her post leading the powerful Ways and Means Committee on Thursday after some of her Senate colleagues were upset about the way she handled negotiations on the rail funding bill.

One of the representatives said that it was only a matter of time until Souki was replaced, and that the move was unrelated to the standoff between the House and Senate over funding for Honolulu’s troubled rail project.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki is expected to replace Joe Souki as speaker. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Still, Souki’s praise for how Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has led the project stands in sharp contrast to criticism by Rep. Sylvia Luke, who leads the House Finance Committee.

The House decided this week that rail should be funded by raising the hotel tax, in contrast to Caldwell’s and the Senate’s position that only the general excise tax should be used.

Souki’s popularity may have been affected when he pushed his members unsuccessfully to approve a medical-aid-in dying bill earlier this session.

The bill did not make it out of committee, and many members were uncomfortable going on the record to show where they stood.

This wouldn’t be the only House leadership shakeup this year.

Midway through the session, fellow Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey was relieved of his chairmanship of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee. Some representatives were upset that McKelvey failed to consult with them before amending certain bills.

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