Senate Minority Announces 2011 Legislative Priorities

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Sen. Sam Slom - Photo courtesy of Mel Ah Ching Productions

BY HERB LAYBON – On Friday, January 21, 2011, Senator Sam Slom, the Senate Minority leader filed the Minority bill package with the Senate Clerk.

This package of bills reinforces Senator Slom’s remarks on the Opening Day of the Legislature. Specifically, Senator Slom noted that the State budget should be the Legislature’s most pressing issue, and he further noted that without systemic changes, Hawaii’s economy cannot be improved.


Accordingly, he introduced a measure that would require bills that make appropriations or otherwise contain money provisions to include a fiscal impact statement.

The Minority package also proposes amendments to the Hawaii constitution to allow for initiative, referendum, and recall, and to impose term limits for state legislators. These measures would restore political power to the people.

Senator Slom stated on Opening Day that Hawaii suffers due to unfunded federal mandates, which are draining the Treasury and diminishing the State’s 10th Amendment sovereignty rights.

To remedy this, he has introduced a bill to require the Hawaii Attorney General to investigate and take appropriate legal action against unconstitutional federal laws and mandates.

Senator Slom’s bills present an opportunity to “right-size” government in Hawaii, and to create positive changes.  The Minority package bills for 2011 include:

1.      SB 268 requires a fiscal impact statement for any proposed legislation that includes an appropriation or which will result in significant future fiscal changes for the State.

2.      SB269 exempts food and medical services from the general excise tax.

3.      SB 270 revises medical tort reform laws.

4.      SB 271 repeals the requirement for gasoline to contain 10% ethanol.

5.      SB 272 amends State constitution to provide initiative, referendum, and recall.

6.      SB 273 term limits state representatives to six consecutive two-year terms, and state senators to three consecutive four-year terms.

7.      SB 274 provides for an advisory referendum as part of the next general election to allow the people of Hawaii to vote in favor of or against the Akaka Bill.

8.      SB 275 & SB 276 repeal the constitutional provision creating the commission on salaries; and repeal statutory provisions of the commission on salaries.

9.      SB 277 allows the legislature, governor, and department heads to request investigations into the constitutionality of federal laws and mandates, and requires the attorney general to initiate legal action when a federal law is in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

10.   SB 278 “Right to Work” protects an individual’s right to gainful employment regardless of membership in any special interest or labor organization.

Herb Laybon is with the Senate Minority research office