Hawaii Reapportionment Commission prepares for litigation
Honolulu, Hawaii: On June 28, the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission voted 8-1 to include non-resident students and military personnel in redistricting calculations. Now, a month later, the Commission is preparing to face lawsuits seeking to overturn that decision. The change in policy is expected to benefit Oahu and save one of its senate seats from moving to the neighbor islands. However, a number of Big Island lawmakers, including Sen. Malama Solomon, Rep. Cindy Evans, and Rep. Robert Herkes, have voiced strong opposition to the plan. In the face of likely litigation, the Reapportionment Commission has decided to draft dual proposals--one considering non-residents and one excluding them. The Commission's proposal must be published a week from Sunday (August 7), and a final plan must be adopted by September 26.
While no lawsuit has yet been filed, Deputy Attorney General Charleen Aina gave opponents of the plan an encouraging sign last week. In a letter approved by Attorney General David M. Louie, Aina argues that the Hawaii Supreme Court would likely overturn the Commission's decision. The Hawaii County Reapportionment Advisory Council, which has considered a legal challenge, recommended delaying legal action until plans have been drafted.