House Bill 1586, introduced in the 2019 Hawaii Legislature, called for shifting around various energy and environmental agencies within state government.

But by the time it was passed and later became law, it morphed into a $350 million deal for Aloha Stadium.

Because of that, HB 1586 has received the sixth annual Rusty Scalpel award from Common Cause Hawaii and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii.

Aloha Stadium in 2017. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat/2017

The award is meant to focus attention on what’s known as gut and replace — “an abusive practice of government, in which legislators take a bill on one topic, gut the language, and replace it with something completely different to avoid the Constitutionally required legislative review,” according to a recent press release.

The concern is that the public is left out of the full process of hearing bills.

Legislators in favor of gut and replace say it is a way to keep important legislation alive for further consideration.

Common Cause Hawaii and The League of Women Voters of Honolulu legally challenged gut and replace in 2018.

After a loss in Circuit Court, the decision was appealed in May of this year and a briefing is expected this fall.

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