New Senate Special Investigating Committee on COVID-19 with Subpoena Power

Through the passage of Senate Resolution 198 today, the Hawai‘i State Senate has created a new Senate Special Investigating Committee on COVID-19 with subpoena power. This new investigative committee will supplement, if necessary, the existing informal Senate Committee on COVID-19. The addition of this new investigative committee will give the Senate the greatest flexibility to obtain the information it needs.

The Investigating Committee will give the Senate legal authority to mandate a response from witnesses and compel records. The committee may also administer oaths and report instances of contempt. The subjects of the inquiries will be entitled to legal representation and will have the ability to legally challenge requests.

Hearings will continue to be televised live on ‘Ōlelo on O‘ahu, Akakū on Maui, Nā Leo o Hawaiʻi Island, and Ho‘ike on Kaua‘i, and streamed live on the internet. The committee will issue written reports and recommendations to the Senate.

The Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 was established on March 18 to review the state’s response to the pandemic, and the Senate Investigating Special Committee on COVID-19 was created today by Senate Resolution 198.

The members of both committees are Senators Donovan Dela Cruz, Jarrett Keohokalole, Michelle N. Kidani, Donna Mercado Kim, Sharon Moriwaki, and Kurt Fevella.

Lawmakers Will Discuss Economic Effects of COVID-19 Tonight

Three key State lawmakers will discuss the economic effects of COVID-19 in Hawaii on the next Insights on PBS airing at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 7. 

Representative Richard Onishi

Guests will be House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke, Hawaiʻi Island Representative Richard Onishi of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness and State Senate Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz.  

At the start of the year, lawmakers had high hopes of addressing Hawaiʻi’s affordable housing crisis, increasing the minimum wage and creating tax breaks for the working class. Early education for pre-K students also was on the wish list. Then the new coronavirus took over.  

Now the focus is on how to recover from an economic meltdown while keeping Hawaiʻi’s people healthy.  

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INSIGHTS is also streamed live on and PBS Hawaiʻi’s Facebook page.