BY MICHELE VAN HESSEN – HONOLULU, HAWAII – State House Minority Leader, Representative Gene Ward today on behalf of the House Republican Caucus reiterated his call to Calvin Say and House Democrats to act in the best interest of the people of Hawai`i and organize expeditiously so the House can get back to the business voters elected their representatives to do.
“With our eight Republican votes, Rep. Calvin Say has seven more votes than necessary to keep the legislature from slowly shutting down which it has been for the past 10 weeks of gridlock,” said Minority Leader Ward.
While the State Senate has been organized since November, House members still do not have a legislative calendar or committee assignments. With opening day only 10 days away, time is running out for legislators, lobbyists, advocates and the general public who are still unable to prepare for the upcoming session.
“With no organization the House of Representatives cannot even vote on first reading bills and refer them to committees. There are no committees, no chairs, no members. The business of the public is not getting done because of this power struggle,” said Rep. Barbara Marumoto.
In addition to permanent office and committee assignments, additional phone lines for session staff and use of the print shop for constituent mailings are among the many functions of the Legislature that have been slowed or put on hold until the House organizes.
“While many of these functions seem individually small in nature, they add up to become a major impediment to the Legislature’s ability to conduct business as it moves closer to opening day, “said Rep. Cynthia Thielen.
“The people of Hawaii clearly need bipartisan work accomplished on their behalf this session. We have the votes, let’s move forward,” said Rep. Kymberly Pine. “It’s time to come together to solve the pressing issues facing all our residents, including stimulating our economy, helping small businesses create jobs, ensuring taxes are not raised and reducing the size and scope of government.”