About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair, John Hill. Matthew Leonard and Richard Wiens.


Short takes, outtakes, our takes and other stuff you should know about public information, government accountability and ethical leadership in Hawaii.

Election disintegrity: The Sunshine Blog is bummed that sunshine bills are not part of the state House majority package this year. And the Senate didn’t even bother to introduce its own priority bills. Grrr.

Still, we are heartened that some lawmakers believe that government reform measures are still very important. On Tuesday, the judiciary committees led by Karl Rhoads in the Senate and David Tarnas in the House separately heard more than a dozen such pieces of legislation.

Many of them — though not all — remain alive and kicking. They include bills that would create a printed and mailed version of the state’s planned digital voter guide, prevent deceptive and fraudulent “deepfake” electioneering by candidates and parties, and provide protection for election workers.

(Screenshot/2024)

But those bills and others passed over the many objections of Jamie Detwiler, president of the Hawaii Federation of Republican Women (it values limited government, fiscal responsibility and “America’s sovereignty”).

Detwiler, for instance, does not like two companion bills that would allow Hawaii to join the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, as it is called. The nonprofit, nonpartisan group would help state and county election officials find out whether a Hawaii voter is also registered in another state, according to Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago.

Detwiler, however, argued that the bill would allow the sharing of a voter’s private information, burden taxpayers and not actually prevent illegal voting. And Mary Healy, testifying as an individual, opposed pretty much every bill Detwiler did and used almost identical talking points.

Rhoads didn’t buy those arguments and passed Senate Bill 2240 out of his committee with a couple of tweaks. Same goes for Tarnas, who said that he had recently visited the very red state of Texas where local officials had nothing but positive things to say about ERIC. House Bill 1609 lives on.

What’s up with all this opposition to improving our elections? Here’s a clue: The Texas Tribune wrote just last year that a “band of right-wing voting fraud activists, joined by state GOP officials,” want to abandon ERIC and updated voter rolls.

Not making the cut: Among the sunshine bills that sank below the horizon Tuesday were companion measures to fix one of Hawaii’s odd quirks with constitutional amendments.

In order to be approved, ConAms need to not only receive a majority of “yes” votes over “no” votes but also ballots that are left blank, crossed out or defaced. As it now stands, those junk “votes” are counted in the negative, “which may lead to a result that was not intended by the voter,” as the legislation explains.

Rhoads and Tarnas both deferred the respective companion bills, with Tarnas explaining that, while the issue is very much something that needs to be addressed, the bill was “not on the mark” and needs more work.

  • A Special Commentary Project

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo: Josh Green has been governor for just over a year now, but he’s already appointed a half-dozen or so Democrats to vacancies in the Legislature. Three candidates are selected by party officials in the counties where the departing incumbent resides, and the governor makes the final selection.

The Blog has heard grumbling about that process, the main concern being that it seems to almost always be a done deal. Remember how Green picked May Mizuno to replace John Mizuno, his old buddy that now works for him?

John Mizuno, Gov. Josh Green and May Mizuno. (Office of the Governor)

Sen. Les Ihara has a bill this session that would instead allow political parties to come to a unanimous decision using ranked choice voting.

Rank choice voting permits favoring candidates by preference, listing not only their first choice but also their second and third. If there is no majority winner, the lowest-ranked candidate is eliminated and voting resumes until consensus is reached on who should get the job.

Ihara’s bill would effectively take the governor out of the political — or personal — equation.

We’re from the government and we’re here to help: The Federal Emergency Management Administration is looking to hire people on Maui and Oahu to help with its efforts on the Maui fires.

The FEMA jobs are temporary — four-month stints that may be extended up to a year. You still get sick leave and up to 11 paid holidays.

There are eight different positions listed and it looks like FEMA is looking for a few people for jobs on each island.

(Screenshot/usajobs.com/2024)

The Blog was interested to see that the job that seems to be among the most valued — at least it’s got the highest salary at $29.66 an hour — is a digital communications specialist. That would appear to be someone who spends their life on social media.

According to the job posting, duties include:

  • Identifying influential social media users and websites in disaster-affected communities.
  • Identifying opportunities for shared messaging and content such as re-tweeting, link sharing, placing widgets, audio recordings, photo sharing, and video sharing.
  • Referring hot issues to the appropriate External Affairs functional element.
  • Posting appropriate versions of all products distributed to the Joint Information Center including Facebook, Twitter, and audio podcast.

Note to self: No thanks.

A media relations specialist — we call them flacks — whose duties include, among other things responding to media inquiries and writing press releases, pulls down $28.17 an hour.

Go to the federal jobs website and type in “local hire” in keywords and “Hawaii” in location.


Read this next:

Beth Fukumoto: 5 Rules For A Great Political Speech


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About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair, John Hill. Matthew Leonard and Richard Wiens.


Latest Comments (0)

I have decades of trolling, trickeration, and other forum subterfuge experience. I have been banned, shadow banned, and exiled from much of forum and blog space. I would be happy to take the digital communication specialist job under one of my anonymous handles.

Peaceful1 · 3 weeks ago

"a "band of right-wing voting fraud activists, joined by state GOP officials," want to abandon ERIC and updated voter rolls"I'm confused, could someone explain why officials wanting to protect voter integrity and prevent citizens from voting twice in a National election, would be against the ERIC?

Joseppi · 3 weeks ago

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