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Sept. 15, 2017 Friday

By:  Karen Cobeen

We have been asked why Hawai’i does not have Citizen Initiative for its voters already.  It’s a great question.  The Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau (or LRB) has provided us with a non-partisan study they did of Hawaii’s last Constitutional Convention in 1978.  The entire document (88 pgs) is really interesting.   But go to the pdf counter page 61 where discussion begins on initiatives.  Supporter and opposition views are laid out.  We found it interesting that those who opposed this voter right felt citizens were not equipped or responsible enough to handle this responsibility (I have paraphrased here).



Ordinary people are getting fed up with their state and federal governments. They’re frustrated with their voices being ignored and elected officials pursuing their own agendas and those of vested special interests.

We are supporting a bill in the Hawaii legislature which would establish CITIZEN INITIATIVE, which is a process of direct democracy which enables citizens to bypass their state legislature by placing proposed laws and constitutional amendments on the ballot in November elections.

The first state to adopt the initiative was South Dakota in 1898. Since then, 23 other states have included the initiative process in their constitutions, the most recent being Mississippi in 1992. Hawai’i does not have this process. It would allow citizens of Hawaii at election time to place new legislation on a popular ballot, or to place legislation that has recently been passed by the state legislature on a ballot for a popular vote to repeal it.

Hawai’i is the only Western state that does not yet have any form of direct democracy. Let’s bring it…