WAM Committee Hearing on HB1133

As an AP Government and Participation in Democracy teacher at Mililani High School, I was very excited to see that the Senate Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to make a decision on HB1133 on Thursday, March 28, 2013.  Many of my students had submitted testimony and actually gone downtown to speak before the Board of Directors of the PLDC because they felt so strongly that Act 55 and all of the related legislation that contributed to the creation of the PLDC should be repealed.

We took almost a hundred students downtown, and all of my AP Government and Pre-AP Participation in Democracy students went to see the hearing.  ALL of my students were utterly dismayed and confused, after seeing decisions being made on bill after bill, to witness HB1133 being deferred by the chair of the committee, Senator Ige, with no explanation. 

For all of the work that teachers put into helping students develop confidence in the democratic process and their ability to affect positive change, that was a slap in the face.  The student-led discussion that followed was cynical and negative, and I had no answers for those young people.  The students felt that the senators were being secretive and sneaky, planning to actually allow the PLDC to stand or to modify it in non-meaningful ways after the students thought there was a clear public consensus expressed on the matter. 

Let’s hope the students are wrong.