Constituents on Hawaii Island now have the chance to testify at a Senate meeting without physically being there. By using the Hawaii State Senate’s new Neighbor Island Video Conferencing Pilot Project, constituents on the neighbor islands will be able to participate in the legislative process without traveling to Oahu.
In its inaugural year, the Neighbor Island Video Conferencing Pilot Project is being piloted by the Senate Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Technology and the Arts. Along with neighbor island residents, State or County departments based on a neighbor island may participate in this project. Hearing notices for the pilot project hearings will indicate that videoconferencing testimony will be allowed and contain a link to instructions for the public on how to participate.
“Today’s technology brings people together and allows them to communicate the Senate’s Neighbor Island Video Conferencing Program just does that. It is an efficient and economical method of having our residents take part in committee hearings without having to travel,” said Senator Malama Solomon, who represents (District 4) Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona.
“This is a terrific opportunity especially for those who cannot participate in person and still be able to be part of the legislative process,” said Senator Russell Ruderman, who represents (District 2) Puna and Kau.
“I encourage everyone to take advantage of this new opportunity to participate in the democratic process,” said Senator Gilbert Kahele, who represents (District 1) Hilo. “Constituents will find it gratifying to get their voices heard on issues they support or oppose.”
“Videoconferencing has made significant advancements in medicine, education and other fields and I believe it will make an important contribution here at the State Capitol by enabling our Hawaii Island residents to participate in hearings,” said Senator Josh Green, who represents (District 3) Kona and Kau.
Because this is a pilot project, there are some limitations to how many individuals are able to participate. Following the completion of the Legislative Session, the project will be evaluated and perhaps the Senate will be able to expand it to cover more committees, more hearings, and possibly a wider audience.
For more information on the Neighbor Island Video Conferencing Program, go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/videoconf.aspx
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