Hawai‘i County Disaster Relief Bill ‘Gutted & Replaced‘

March 1, 2019, 1:41 PM HST (Updated March 1, 2019, 1:46 PM)
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A Circuit Court judge ruled a few weeks ago that the practice of gutting bills and replacing them with entirely new content is constitutional. Now, Senate Bill 166—which was Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim’s $310 million request for disaster relief funds—was amended in that fashion by a state Senate committee on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.

This left the public with less than 24 hours to respond to the bill, which was scheduled to be heard Friday, March 1, in the Ways and Means Committee chaired by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz.

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Nancy Davlantes, president of the League of Women Voters of Honolulu, said she was upset with the gut-and-replace tactic.

The bill was moving through the Legislature in advance of a Friday deadline to remain alive. The bill now essentially no longer exists, although the language of the measure could be resurrected in other legislation later in the session.

“Gut-and-replace may be useful at times, but basic democratic principles, including public involvement and fair process, are more important by far,” Sen. Russell Ruderman said to Civil Beat.

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