HONOLULU—State House Minority Leader Rep. Gene Ward reiterated his call to Rep. Calvin Say and House Democrats to act in the best interest of the people of Hawaii and organize expeditiously so the House can get back business.
Last week, the House Republican Caucus committed their eight votes to Say, in effect ending a months-long Democratic stalemate over House leadership.
“With our eight Republican votes, 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,” Ward said.
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,” said Rep. Barbara Marumoto (R). ” There are no committees, no chairs, no members. The business of the public is not getting done because of this power struggle.”
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 (R).