BY ED WAGNER – This message already went to national news media and a couple of US Senators.
Establishing a unicameral non-partisan legislature like Nebraska will save the U.S. Government billions of dollars over its totally dysfunctional and incredibly wasteful bicameral Congress and save millions more for all states that adopt this progressive model that Nebraska has had since the 1937. Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral, non-partisan legislature.
Implementation of the unicameral legislature in 1937 cut government costs for obvious reasons. Legislative membership went from 133 in the bicameral to 43 in the new single house – nearly a 70 percent reduction.
Also, the one-house system was more efficient than its predecessor. The number of committees was pared down from 61 to 18, and 581 bills were introduced in 1937, as opposed to twice that many the previous session. The last bicameral session in 1935 ran 110 days, passed 192 bills and cost $202,593. The first unicameral session two years later ran 98 days, passed 214 bills and cost $103,445.
Nebraska a Model
Movements for unicameralism have existed throughout the United States since the country’s independence. There were several pro-unicameral movements in the state before one finally succeeded. The same year Nebraska’s unicameral legislature began operating, attempts in 21 other states to become one-house legislatures failed.
Such efforts waned until the 1960s when a Supreme Court ruling revived the movement. The court ruled that both houses must be apportioned according to population, instead of one house according to population and the other house according to geographical lines.
The Supreme Court ruling raised doubts about the necessity of having two houses based on population, stirring many states to evaluate their own systems. Many states looked to Nebraska as a model of an effective one-house legislature. Those states included California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas. Nebraska officials visited many states to spread the word about unicameralism. Journalists and officials from other states also visited Nebraska.
The Unicameral’s first clerk, Hugo Srb, predicted that lawmakers in other states would not want to legislate their own jobs out of existence. Despite the interest unicameralism has received over the years, Nebraska remains the only state with a unicameral legislature.
Does anyone, including the StarAdvertiser, know in what year Hawaii looked to Nebraska as an effective one-house legislature as stated above? Are there any archived newspaper articles or legislative records related to unicameral discussions in the Legislature at the time? Revisiting this progressive legislative model is long overdue. I encourage all the news media to research and report on this approach to a more fiscally responsible Hawaii government. The other 48 states should do the same.
How does one go about submitting a bill to the 2015 legislature to implement the unicameral model in 2016?
Such a move will eliminate millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on the dead weight we have in our legislature now, dead weight like Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Chris Lee, Senator Russell Ruderman, Representative Sylvia Luke, all supporters of the Hawaiian Electric Industries monopoly, blocking renewable energy development and ruining the lives of our residents, and even Representative Cynthia Thielen who talks the talk about how bad Hawaiian Electric is, but, according to my source, has never introduced a single bill that opposes the utility monopoly. Governor Neil Abercrombie represents more dead weight and must be sent into retirement on August 9.
Senator Malama Solomon is the only one with enough balls to oppose Hawaiian Electric. That is why HECO is, no doubt, backing Lorraine Inouye to replace Senator Solomon because HECO will have another puppet that it can control instead of having to deal with Senator Solomon who staunchly supports the people, the little guy struggling to survive, instead of bowing her head and genuflecting on bended knee before HECO like the others do.
Senator Solomon refuses to March to HECO’s drum beat. She not only needs to be reelected, but she needs to replace Mike Gabbard as chair of the Senate Energy Committee. Tulsi Gabbard should use the same logic on her old man that she used on the local VA Administrator and tell him to get out of town too!
I have no doubt that there is a lot more dead weight in the Hawaii Legislature than those mentioned above. They all need to be routed out and removed, and maybe ( Governor ) David Ige will be the one to do just that with a new style of leadership, openness, transparency, and community involvement.