Difference between revisions of "Hawaii State Legislature"

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|Website = [http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ Official Legislature Page]
 
|Website = [http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ Official Legislature Page]
 
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|Senate president = [[Donna Kim]] (D)
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|Senate president = {{State Senate President|State=Hawaii}}
 
|House speaker = [[Calvin Say]] (D)
 
|House speaker = [[Calvin Say]] (D)
 
|Majority leader = [[Brickwood Galuteria]] (D) ([[Hawaii State Senate|Senate]]),<br>[[Pono Chong]] (D) ([[Hawaii House of Representatives|House]])
 
|Majority leader = [[Brickwood Galuteria]] (D) ([[Hawaii State Senate|Senate]]),<br>[[Pono Chong]] (D) ([[Hawaii House of Representatives|House]])

Revision as of 18:00, 17 April 2014

Hawaii State Legislature

Seal of Hawaii.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2014 session start:   January 15, 2014
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Leadership
Senate President:   Donna Mercado Kim (D)
House Speaker:  Calvin Say (D)
Majority Leader:   Brickwood Galuteria (D) (Senate),
Pono Chong (D) (House)
Minority leader:   Samuel Slom (R) (Senate),
Gene Ward (R) (House)
Structure
Members:  25 (Senate), 51 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Article III of the Hawaii Constitution
Salary:   $48,708/year + per diem
Elections
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
10 seats (Senate)
51 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Hawaii Reapportionment Commission has control
The Hawaii State Legislature is the state legislature of Hawaii. Its upper house is the Hawaii State Senate and its lower house is the Hawaii House of Representatives.

The legislature meets in Honolulu. It is the descendant of the legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the Republic of Hawaii, and the territorial legislature of the U.S. Territory of Hawaii.

The Hawaii State Legislature makes laws that govern the state of Hawaii. The Senate has the advise and consent power to confirm the governor's appointments, both for the executive branch, such as department heads, and most judges of the judicial branch. Both houses may propose amendments to the Hawaii Constitution by either a 2/3 vote of each house in a single session, or a majority vote of both houses in two sessions. Constitutional amendments are presented to the public at the next general election and must pass by a simple majority to become law.

As of August 2014, Hawaii is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.

Sessions

Article III of the Hawaii Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 10 of Article III states that the Legislature shall convene in regular session on the third Wednesday in January of every year. Regular sessions are limited to sixty legislative days, but they can be extended by fifteen days by the Governor of Hawaii or by the request of two-thirds of each legislative house. Section 10 mandates that the Legislature take a mandatory recess of at least five days during each regular session.

Section 10 also contains provisions regarding special sessions of the Legislature. Special sessions can involve both houses of the Legislature or the Senate alone. Special sessions can be convened by the Governor of Hawaii or by two-thirds of the house or houses seeking to convene. Special sessions are limited in length. They are not to last more than thirty legislative days, but they, like regular sessions, can be extended for fifteen days.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 15 through May 1.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include GMO labeling, raising the minimum wage, clean energy and climate change.[1]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 16 to May 3.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included revenue, hotel room tax, GET increase, education funding, and renewable energy tax credits.[2]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 18 to May 3.

Major issues

The legislature focused on job creation, creating a sustainable economy, sustainable and renewable energy, improving the state's information technology infrastructure, and education funding.[3]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 19 through May 5.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 20th to April 29th.

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: Following the Money 2014 Report

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[4] According to the report, Hawaii received a grade of C and a numerical score of 71, indicating that Hawaii was "Middling" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[4]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Hawaii was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[5]

Legislators

Salaries

See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Hawaii legislature are paid $46,272/year. Additionally, legislators receive $150/day for per diem for members living outside Oahu during session, and $120/day during the interim while conducting official legislative business. Members living inside Oahu receive $10/day during the interim while conducting legislative business.[6]

Role in state budget

Main article: Hawaii state budget

By the end of December of every other year, the Legislature of Hawaii receives an biennial budget proposal from the Governor. The annual budget proposal is for the next two fiscal years, which begin on July 1st. The Legislature then revises this budget over the course of the next couple of months. In April or May, the Legislature votes on a budget. For a budget to pass, a majority of legislatures must vote in support of it[7]

The Legislature of Hawaii has not been able to pass a balanced budget. Because of some serious challenges, officials think, Hawaii will continue to pile up debt even if they spend prudently. Gov. Lingle stated in late September 2009, “Through various prudent spending restrictions, the Administration has reduced spending by $2 billion. However, we still face a $496 million shortfall in the next nine months and an additional $529 million from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. That’s a total of $1.024 billion less money we will have in the next 21 months. Because of the huge revenue losses between fiscal years 2009 and 2011, it will take until fiscal year 2012 for our revenues to return to pre-recession levels.”[8]

Senate


Opening ceremony of the 2009 legislative session

The Hawaii State Senate is the upper chamber of the Hawaii State Legislature. There are twenty-five members from various electoral districts. Each member represents an average of 54,412 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[9] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 48,461.[10] It is led by the President of the Senate elected from the membership of the Senate. The forerunner of the Hawaii State Senate during the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii was the House of Nobles. Senators are elected to four-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Like in most state legislatures in the United States, the Hawaii State Senate is a part-time body and senators often have active careers outside of government.


Party As of August 2014
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 1
Total 25


The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Hawaii State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Hawaii State Senate.PNG

House

The Hawaii House of Representatives is the lower house of the Hawaii State Legislature. The House consists of 51 members representing an equal amount of districts across the islands. Each member represents an average of 26,673 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[11] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 23,756.[12] It is led by the Speaker of the House elected from the membership of the House.

Legislators are elected to two-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Like in most state legislatures in the United States, the Hawaii House of Representatives is a part-time body and legislators often have active careers outside of government.

Party As of August 2014
     Democratic Party 44
     Republican Party 7
Total 51

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Hawaii State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Hawaii State House.PNG

History

Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Hawaii
Partisan breakdown of the Hawaii legislature from 1992-2013

Hawaii State Senate: Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Hawaii State Senate. The Hawaii State Senate is 1 of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final three years of the study, Hawaii was under Democratic trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Hawaii State House of Representatives: Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Hawaii State house of Representatives. The Hawaii State House of Representatives is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final three years of the study, Hawaii was under Democratic trifectas.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Hawaii, the Hawaii State Senate and the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Hawaii state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Hawaii state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Hawaii has never had a Republican trifecta, but has had a Democratic trifecta between the years 1992 and 2002, and again beginning in 2011. The interruption of these two periods came in 2003 with a Republican governor. The state’s highest SQLI ranking (11th) came in 1993 under a Democratic trifecta, while Hawaii’s lowest SQLI ranking (39th) in 1999 and 2001, also under a Democratic trifecta. The state saw a precipitous decline in its ranking between 1994 and 1995, falling thirteen spots from 15th to 28th. Between 1996 and 1997, the state recovered in its SQLI ranking by nine spots before dropping to a new low (39th) in 1999.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 29.46
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 33.88
Chart displaying the partisanship of Hawaii government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Rights and responsibilities

Constitutional amendments

Main article: Amending state constitutions

Under Article XVII of the Hawaii Constitution, the state legislature can propose legislatively-referred constitutional amendments under these conditions:

  • Through a two-thirds vote in both the Hawaii State Senate and the Hawaii House of Representatives, held in one legislative session.
  • Through a simple majority vote in both chambers, held in two successive sessions of the legislature.
  • Any such proposed amendments must then be placed on a statewide ballot, where they can be approved under these conditions:
If approved by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question if this majority constitutes at least 50% of the total vote cast at the election, or,
If approved at a special election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, if this majority consists of at least 30% of the total number of registered voters in the state at that time.

External links

References