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Supreme Court Tosses Constitutional Amendment Question

October 19, 2018, 6:22 PM HST
* Updated October 19, 6:50 PM
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The Hawai‘i Supreme Court on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, ended any thoughts of a proposed Hawai‘i constitutional amendment that would’ve raised investment property taxes for education, making the question invalid and preventing it from being voted upon during next month’s general election.

The ruling, was issued on Friday afternoon. The proposed amendment read:

Shall the legislature be authorized to establish, as provided by law, a surchage on investment real property to be used to support public education?

The courts said it was not in compliance with a state law that says “the language and meaning of the ballot question must be clear and not misleading.”

Gov. David Ige said:

The Court’s ruling on the Legislature’s amendment means we must keep searching for a way to support the dedicated teachers and staff who make a difference every day in classrooms around the state. I am committed to doing just that.

Hawai‘i House of Representatives Speaker Scott Sakai said:

“It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court is not allowing the public to vote on this question after the Legislature vetted it over the past two years.”

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HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said:

We are disappointed with the Supreme Court ruling. This has been a multi-year fight to fund our schools and get the constitutional amendment proposal on the ballot.

While we are sad about the ruling, there is still an urgent need that students have qualified teachers and sufficient school funding to provide our keiki with the learning environment they deserve. The fight for our schools does not end with the Supreme Court ruling; all of Hawai‘i must ask that our elected leaders work to ensure that our schools are properly funded.

The current situation is unacceptable. We have more than 1,000 classrooms that lack a qualified teacher, crumbling facilities, and too many of our students are denied learning opportunities based on their special needs. We have heard throughout this campaign the loud voice of the community to improve our schools. While there might have been disagreements on the amendment itself, there is still the strong desire from our community to invest in education. As a community, we must strive to give our keiki the schools they deserve.

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