REPORT FROM HOUSE MAJORITY– Legislation designed to allow neighbor island residents increased access and participation in the legislative process was introduced by State Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau).
HB 358, relating to videoconferencing, requires both the House and Senate to implement rules to permit residents to present testimony through audiovisual technology.
HB 361 requires the governor, legislature, and judiciary to ensure public access to information, services, and proceedings of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The bill also authorizes the governor to convene a fair access commission to review public access issues for the neighbor islands and rural Oahu.
“These bills were introduced to help make it easier for neighbor island residents to actively participate in the legislative process,” said Representative Lowen. “Neighbor island residents have to fly to Oahu on short notice and at their own expense if they want to testify before the legislature in person. For many people, that isn’t possible, and the result is that we don’t hear from them. Advances in communication technology makes it possible to provide better access, and we should be doing all we can to put systems in place to make government as accessible as possible.”
The bills now move on to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.