BY ROBERT THOMAS – Not only did the State win the reapportionment legal case in which it successfully argued that military personnel and their families who reside in Hawaii are not “permanent residents” and thus may be treated as outlanders and ignored for state reapportionment purposes [we represented the plaintiffs who challenged that scheme], but with the proposed defense cuts, it seems that Hawaii officials are now all worried that we might not have all those federal defense dollars flowing so readily from off-island that the large military presence in the islands brings (roughly $18 billion per year).
It was always ironic to us that on one hand, the State of Hawaii and seemingly every Hawaii pol aggressively lobbied for a large military presence in Hawaii in order to enjoy the money and the extra seat in Congress that Hawaii’s military population brings us, but when it came time to count these folks in the population for state apportionment and districting, Hawaii law considers them to be “transients,” and aggressively treats them as invisible: mahalo for your money, but don’t expect to be counted.
But although irony and inconsistency do not a legal case make and we lost that one in the courts, it seems that perhaps the State is now getting its wish. Not only will the soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and their families be legally invisible, they might be really gone as well.
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