2017 Rusty Scalpel Award Winner Is…

HB 375, CD 1 (Act 214, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017) has been selected by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause Hawaii for their 2017 “Rusty Scalpel” award. The “Rusty Scalpel” award recognizes enactment of a bill whose subject has been substantially amended without opportunity for legislative review as required by the Hawaii Constitution.Article III, Section 14 of our State Constitution provides “Each law shall embrace but one subject which shall be expressed in its title.”  HB 375 was titled “Relating to Taxation”.   When introduced, HB 375 proposed amending income tax rates to negate any income tax liability for those at or below poverty thresholds. The Senate Ways and Means Committee was the first to drastically amend the bill, gutting its contents, and replacing it with provisions to repeal the sunset date for the refundable food/excise tax credit. Then during Conference Committee, the bill was drastically altered to appropriate $1 million, subject to a dollar for dollar match by the private sector, to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, working in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, for projects to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

Corie Tanida, of Common Cause Hawaii said, “While addressing homelessness in Hawaii is important and commendable, an ‘appropriation’ is not the same as ‘taxation’.  The final version of this bill doesn’t pass the relatively ‘low bar’ of having the bill’s subject match the bill’s title.”

Article III, Section 15 of our State Constitution provides that “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each house on separate days.”  The unambiguous intent is to provide  the House and Senate, separately, the  opportunity to thoroughly review every single bill.  Amending a bill’s subject in conference committee without such review ignores this Constitutional requirement.

According to Ann Shaver, President of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, “The 2017 session was a ‘Good News, Bad News’ situation.  HB 375, CD 1 was the only real candidate for our 2017 ‘Rusty Scalpel’ award.  On the other hand, HB375, CD1 was the worst we’ve seen in the five years we have presented this award.”  On July 12, 2017, without the Governor’s signature, HB 375 became Act 214, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017.

1/20/2017 H Pending introduction.
1/23/2017 H Pass First Reading
1/23/2017 H Referred to FIN, referral sheet 2
2/6/2017 H Bill scheduled to be heard by FIN on Thursday, 02-09-17 2:00PM in House conference room 308.
2/9/2017 H The committees on FIN recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes were as follows: 17 Ayes: Representative(s) Luke, Cullen, Cachola, Choy, DeCoite, Gates, Holt, Keohokalole, Kobayashi, LoPresti, Lowen, Nakamura, Tokioka, Quinlan, Yamashita, Tupola, Ward; Ayes with reservations: none; 0 Noes: none; and 0 Excused: none.
3/2/2017 H Reported from FIN (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 816) as amended in HD 1, recommending passage on Second Reading and placement on the calendar for Third Reading.
3/2/2017 H Passed Second Reading as amended in HD 1; placed on the calendar for Third Reading with none voting aye with reservations; none voting no (0) and Representative(s) Ichiyama excused (1).
3/7/2017 H Passed Third Reading with none voting aye with reservations; none voting no (0) and Representative(s) Ichiyama excused (1). Transmitted to Senate.
3/9/2017 S Received from House (Hse. Com. No. 253).
3/9/2017 S Passed First Reading.
3/9/2017 S Referred to WAM.
3/14/2017 S The committee(s) on WAM has scheduled a public hearing on 03-22-17 9:30AM in conference room 211.
3/22/2017 S The committee(s) on WAM recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in WAM were as follows: 8 Aye(s): Senator(s) Tokuda, Dela Cruz, English, Galuteria, Riviere, Shimabukuro, Taniguchi, Wakai; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 0 No(es): none; and 3 Excused: Senator(s) Harimoto, Inouye, K. Kahele.
4/4/2017 S Reported from WAM (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 1288) with recommendation of passage on Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and placement on the calendar for Third Reading.
4/4/2017 S Report adopted; Passed Second Reading, as amended (SD 1).
4/4/2017 S 48 Hrs. Notice 04-06-17.
4/6/2017 S Passed Third Reading, as amended (SD 1). Ayes, 24; Aye(s) with reservations: none . Noes, 0 (none). Excused, 1 (Senator(s) English). Transmitted to House.
4/6/2017 H Returned from Senate (Sen. Com. No. 491) in amended form (SD 1).
4/7/2017 H House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).
4/11/2017 S Received notice of disagreement (Hse. Com. No. 545).
4/17/2017 H House Conferees Appointed: Luke Chair; Johanson, Tupola.
4/17/2017 S Received notice of appointment of House conferees (Hse. Com. No. 586).
4/18/2017 S Senate Conferees Appointed: Tokuda Chair; English, Shimabukuro.
4/18/2017 H Received notice of Senate conferees (Sen. Com. No. 680).
4/19/2017 H Bill scheduled for Conference Committee Meeting on Friday, 04-21-17 2:00PM in conference room 309.
4/21/2017 H Conference Committee Meeting will reconvene on Tuesday 04-25-17 2:00PM in conference room 309.
4/25/2017 H Conference Committee Meeting will reconvene on Thursday 04-27-17 2:00PM in conference room 309.
4/27/2017 H Conference Committee Meeting will reconvene on Friday 04-28-17 2:00PM in conference room 309.
4/28/2017 H The Conference Committee recommends that the measure be Passed, with Amendments. The votes were as follows: 3 Ayes: Representative(s) Luke, Johanson, Tupola; Ayes with reservations: none; 0 Noes: none; and 0 Excused: none.
4/28/2017 S The Conference committee recommends that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes of the Senate Conference Managers were as follows: 2 Aye(s): Senator(s) Tokuda, English; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 0 No(es): none; and 1 Excused: Senator(s) Shimabukuro.
4/28/2017 H Reported from Conference Committee (Conf Com. Rep. No. 145) as amended in (CD 1).
4/28/2017 H Forty-eight (48) hours notice Tuesday, 05-02-17.
4/28/2017 S Reported from Conference Committee as amended CD 1 (Conf. Com. Rep. No. 145).
4/28/2017 S 48 Hrs. Notice (as amended CD 1) 05-02-17.
5/2/2017 S Passed Final Reading, as amended (CD 1). Ayes, 25; Aye(s) with reservations: none. Noes, 0 (none). Excused, 0 (none).
5/2/2017 H Passed Final Reading as amended in CD 1 with none voting aye with reservations; none voting no (0) and Representative(s) Ichiyama excused (1).
5/3/2017 H Received notice of Final Reading (Sen. Com. No. 737).
5/4/2017 S Received notice of passage on Final Reading in House (Hse. Com. No. 642).
5/3/2017 H Transmitted to Governor.
7/13/2017 H Became law without the Governor’s signature, Act 214, 07/12/2017, (Gov. Msg. No. 1328).
7/13/2017 S Became law without the Governor’s signature, Act 214, 07/12/2017, (Gov. Msg. No. 1328).

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