Lessons from the Ledge – A primer on how things really work at the legislature

Below are a loose collection of articles, essays and missives I have written over the years that may be of interest to those seeking to understand the legislative process.  My intent is to explain, educate and describe – How it really works.

The articles may or may not be in order of priority or otherwise organized.  Over time, my intent is to edit, reedit, reorganize and fill in the gaps.  But for now here it is…

Legislative Session Primer – 30 days out

Legislative Session Primer 2 – Rules of the game

Legislative Primer 3: Passing a bill – the basics

Legislative Primer 4 – Hierarchy of access and influence

Legislative testimony: A quick and concise tutorial.

Lessons from the Ledge – The players, the process  and the rules

Lessons from the Ledge – On the meaning of leverage and other important lessons

Lessons from the Ledge – On the executive branch nominees and advice and consent process

 

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Legislative Session – Primer 2,  Rules Of The Game

In order to understand and effectively navigate the legislative process, there are 7 critically important universal truths, that must be understood and followed.  They may at first seem overly simple and obvious, but they are critically important and impact all decisions.

1) To serve in the legislature you must first win an election.  To continue serving, you must continue winning.  Every legislator loves serving and wants to continue doing so, as long as is humanly possible.  Ensuring ones reelection is probably the most important objective of almost every legislator.   This is not a bad thing.  If someone is doing their job properly, loves their job and wants to keep doing that job, this a natural and positive inclination.  As an advocate wanting to influence the lawmaking process, your issue, your policy objective and your priority must impact this reality – either positively or negatively.  If there is no impact, it will be difficult at best to get attention for your issue.

2) Legislators avoid controversy, as controversy breeds divisiveness and divisiveness loses elections.  They want to accomplish stuff, they want to be able to tell people that they are doing stuff, meaningful stuff that will help them get reelected.  Again, this is not a bad thing.  And yet again, your issue, your policy objective and your priority must impact this reality. The sweet spot in the law making business are issues that are both good policy and good politics.

3) Legislators are very, very busy during the legislative session. They deal with a zillion bills on a zillion topics, most of which they do not have a deep understanding of.  Individual legislators may focus on individual issues pertaining to their particular “subject matter interest”.  Unless you and/or your issue is important to them, they will not pay attention.  They simply don’t have the band-width to do it all.  You must break through the congestion of issues that compete for the lawmakers attention (by addressing #1 and #2 above).

4) Majority Rules – There are 25 members in the Senate.  The most important number in this body is 13 which is a majority and thus controls everything.  Any Senator who has 12 friends who will stick with him/her, can run the show.  The majority control the “leadership structure” (President, Vice President, Majority Leader etc), they control all committees, the budget and the entire legislative agenda.  A majority of 13 can pass any policy agenda they choose, so when someone points to a committee chair, or “leadership” as to why something fails to pass, it is the majority that is responsible and not the individuals.  The majority allows these singular seemingly all powerful individuals  (committee chairs and members of leadership) to pass or kill bills, and thus the majority is responsible.  You must count your votes and keep counting until you have a majority of members in both bodies, who are on record publicly in support of your issue. Yes, you must also court the powerful Chair and “Leadership”, but they will ultimately follow if a majority of members want to pass or kill something.

A small but very big piece of the numbers game that might make your head spin: 

If 13 is the magic and most powerful number in the Senate, what is the most important number contained within that 13?  No, the answer is not 7.   The answer is 1.  For if any one member of the majority of 13 decides to leave that majority, the entire power structure collapses.  This is why sometimes certain members appear to hold inordinate power and influence, even though they may not Chair a “big committee” or be part of top leadership.  For without them, all others who retain their power and influence via being part of the majority, risk losing it all.  The 13 must stick together.  Of course in the 51 member House, 26 is the magic number etc etc.

5) The legislature makes the rules.  One of the most frustrating situations that often confront an advocate seeking to pass into law some public policy initiative, is when they are told, “Sorry, you missed the deadline.”  ALL the rules that govern the process of passing bills into law can be amended or “waived” at any time if “leadership” (Senate President and/or House Speaker) want to do so.  The rules and deadlines are changed on a regular basis and often with very little or no notice at all. 

6) When they tell you there is no money, what they are really saying is that it’s not a priority.  The legislature will find the money needed for the things, the majority wants to fund.  Think rail.  The 2017 legislature called a special session and raised taxes to fund the rail system.  With regards to education, they play “whack the mole and pass the buck”.

7) The most important person to any legislator is the person who can help them get elected.  Translation: If you live in the legislators district and if you are active in politics and campaigns, you have more influence than almost anyone else (see rules #1 and #2 above).  The legislator needs and wants your vote, and he/she definitely does not need or want your opposition whether it be you running for office against him/her or you helping someone do the same.  Unfortunately most people don’t even take the time to know who their district Senator or Representative.  So, this last truth is perhaps the most important one, and the place anyone who aspires to effect the public policy process should start.

Please.  Get to know your Senator and Representative and Councilmember for that matter.  Call them up.  Send them email. Meet with them and share your concerns and hopes for the future of your community.  This is where it all starts.

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Hawaii Legislative Primer #3 – Passing a Bill – The Basics

January 16th, is opening day of the Hawaii State Legislature.  The legislative session will run for “60 session days” and adjourns on May 2 “sine die”.

During the legislative session, thousands of “bills” will be introduced and several hundred will attempt to navigate the process in a treacherous upstream salmon-like journey toward possibly becoming law, or death.

A bill is a proposed law and nothing more.  

For those residents interested in “citizen based advocacy”, the below may be helpful.  While only legislators may introduce bill’s, individual residents can usually find a willing legislator who will introduce a bill on their behalf or “upon request”.

To pass a bill into law, the recipe and ingredients are as follows:

Proposed policy change must be “Ripe”:

A significant % of the general community must be aware of the issue and generally acknowledge there is a problem that needs to be solved.

The proposed policy must have been previously “vetted”, proposed in previous legislative sessions, and/or passed into law in other states or municipalities.

The proposal must be perceived as having the potential to have significant and tangible impact on the problem/issue being addresses.

Legislators are hugely busy with thousands of competing issues and priorities.  Public acknowledgement of the problem needing to be solved, and consequently public support for the bill is essential.

Legislators are not big fans of risking taking.  Therefore, if the proposed policy has been implemented in some other jurisdiction or state and potential unintended consequences vetted, the issue is much more likely to be deemed “safe” and then much more likely to pass into law.

Bills and public policy making is about finding solutions to problems.  Just shouting “fix it” or beating a drum about affordable housing or homelessness, does not result in the passage of legislation.  The proposal must propose a tangible and significant solution to at least key components of the problem

2) The proposal must have a “core” advocacy base:

*The base must be anchored by an established advocacy organization that can provide administrative support and some funding.

*The advocacy organization must be supported by a core group individuals (volunteers and staff) committed to putting in the time and effort needed to see the campaign through to its successful conclusion.

*The advocacy base must be broad reaching across islands and demographics

*Advocates have to be informed and educated on the subject matter, policy basics.

A single individual or even a small group with a good idea, are normally not enough.  However when joined by established organizations such as the Hawaii Sierra Club for environmental issues, or Hawaii AppleSeed for economic justice issues – the issue and bill can quickly gain traction and credibility.

While the organizations name and administrative support are crucial, likewise are the volunteers and grassroots advocates who must back up the effort via testimony (both in person and via email).

30% of the legislators are from the neighbor-islands.  Testimony and support must come from all islands, and a wide range of demographics.  And advocates must take the time to learn the facts, understand the data supporting (and opposing) their proposal.  FAQ sheets are essential.

3) The core advocacy base, must have collaborative partners willing to testify in support.

Example: For SB3095 and related pesticide bills, support was provided by the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Hawaii Nurses Association, the Sierra Club and many other organizations.

Ideally, the public policy being proposed has so-called “main stream institutional support”.  While the initial proponents might be wild eyed activists with purple mohawks, unfortunately these types of individuals do not make the best testifiers.  

A brief look at history will show clearly that all great movements and changes to public policy were in fact initiated by the firebrands.  Those willing to march and to carry signs and yes, to get arrested sometimes, are the ones who force the issue to the forefront.  However, pushing something to the forefront of the publics consciousness is only the first half of the task.  It is a critically important part, but it is not enough to take the issue, the bill or the public policy change, all away across the finish line.

While “dealing with the opposition” will be discussed in a future column, suffice it to say that they will not have many crazy activists testifying from within their ranks.  The status quo, is by definition, well it is the status quo.  They do not want change and they will fight until the end to keep change from happening (except of course “their change”).  They will also show up with stacks of data, and a long line of experts who will testify on their behalf.

To close the deal, the proposal must have so-called mainstream, institutional support.  Doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners etc, all have far more credibility with legislators than that activist with the purple mohawk who started it all.  Sad but true.

At the end of the day it is simply a battle.  While “war metaphors’ are somewhat distasteful, that is really what we are dealing with.  While you don’t have to have more data, more research or more institutional support than the opposition, you have to at least hold your own in these departments.  You must hold your own with the basics, and you must win overwhelmingly in the field of public support and sentiment.  You do this and you win.

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Legislative Testimony: A quick and concise tutorial 

First of all, your testimony is important and has an impact.  Trust me on this.  I have served in public office on both the state and county level for 16 years, and I can say without hesitation that your testimony is important.  While testimony delivered in person is preferred, the reality is that the vast majority of testimony is delivered via email.  It is easy really, but there are 6 basic points that can make a world of difference as to the effectiveness of the message.

The “hot topics”, those bills or proposed laws that are the most significant and thus the most controversial, often can generate hundreds and sometimes thousands of pieces of testimony.

In politics and in life, people are busy.  Do you really think that legislators read all 480 pieces of testimony that come into their office on a particular piece of legislation?  Do you think that even their staff reads each and every one?

The answer, of course, is no.  It is an impossible task, but still incredibly important for citizen advocates to take the time to submit that very same testimony that few will read.  I repeat, trust me on this.  Your testimony, even if unread, is important.  Volume matters.

#1)  Which leads to the importance of the subject line.  While each and every testimony might not be read in its entirety, you can be sure each is at least “skimmed” and categorized as “support, oppose and comments/amendments”.  The subject line is everything!

It is critically important that two items ALWAYS be put in the subject line: The bill # (HB1234 or SB4321) AND the words “Support or Oppose or Comments/Amendments”.  “Support Intent of HB1234 With Comments/Amendments” is also commonly used when someone supports the basic purpose of the bill, but is concerned about various provisions as they are currently written.

But, the subject line must contain the bill # and a clear indication of whether your testimony is in support or opposition.  Legislators and their staff are extremely busy and will not take the time to review your entire testimony, trying to figure out which bill you are testifying on and whether or not you are for or against it.

#2)  It kills me to have to state the obvious, but it is also immensely important that you include your name and at least the town or general area where you live.  There is no shortage of email testimony that is submitted from email addresses such as stargazer1407@someweirdemail.com and does not list the person’s actual name or address.

Honestly, it helps to be taken seriously if you have an email address that reflects someone who is part of mainstream society.  If you want to be taken seriously, it is important to keep your purple mohawk hidden!

#3)  For all testimony, there is a hierarchy of importance, and highest on this list is a person who lives in the district of a legislator who sits on the committee (especially the Chair) that will be voting on the issue.  So, it is important to STATE THE TOWN OR AREA IN WHICH YOU LIVE IN YOUR TESTIMONY.

The actual content of the testimony of individuals is less important than the three items listed above.  If you state clearly your position (oppose or support), your name and where you live – the legislator then has the basic information needed to judge community sentiment.  And, while some legislators will argue with me on this point, community sentiment is the most important element involved in making a political decision.

#4) However, yes it is also a good idea to include a few points of substance that support your basic conclusion to support or oppose.  But it is not necessary to write a lengthy dissertation, or to extensively expound upon the intricacies of the subject matter.  If you are an “expert in the field” or otherwise have genuine value to add by all means please do so, and include attachments and/or links to resources that might be useful.  But for most citizen advocates, a single page of testimony sticking to the basics is enough.

#5)  For the policy wonks and those who truly understand the subject matter, the offering of specific amendments is important.  If you possess the expertise to offer specific changes to the language in the bill that will improve it, please do so and mark it clearly: Suggested Amendment (and state the suggested new language).  Remember, most bills are “works in progress” and will undergo extensive amendments during the review process.  Your suggestions if they add value and are presented clearly, may very well be utilized.

But for most citizen advocates and regular residents who simply want to make a difference, submitting basic testimony in support or opposition and stating the basics will suffice.

#6)  The essential online tool for testimony submission can be found at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov .  Yes, you have to enter your email address and “log in”, but the rest is easy!  Please take a moment, embrace the citizen advocate within you, and start today getting more involved in the legislative process!

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Hawaii Legislative Primer 4 – Hierarchy of access and influence

The 2019 legislative session is in full swing and those familiar with the process know the environment in “the building” is hectic at best.

Having served in the building for eight years as a State Senator, I can say without reservation that the work environment is extremely intense.  3,000 bills will be introduced and thousands of people will be sending email, making calls, and stopping by each legislator’s office, attempting to exert influence on those bills.

In addition to the general public, each legislator is also being lobbied by their fellow legislators both in their own institution (the House or Senate), and in the countervailing one as well.  They will get calls from the heads of government, business, labor, and community organizations – each pressing upon them to “vote yes or vote no”, or “amend the bill” this way or that.

So how do legislators deal with drinking from this fire-hose?  How do they manage their time and prioritize their telephone and meeting availability?

If advocates want to “reach” a certain legislator with their message, who is the best person to carry that message?

While some manage their own schedules, most legislators utilize staff to guard the gates of entrance and access.  For both, there is a “hierarchy of access and influence” that governs who gets called back first, who can just “walk right in” without an appointment and who perhaps gets ignored completely.  The below, is a fairly typical representation (written from my perspective) of the filter many/most legislators use to prioritize access to their limited time and bandwidth.

Hierarchy of access and political influence (outside the building):

1) Family – You can be sure that when my mother calls, I will take that call.  Likewise if my wife, daughter, or son calls or stops by the office – I will normally step out of a meeting, stop what I am doing, and speak with them.  If my dad calls, I know it must be serious as he never ever calls.  I am not being facetious.  If there was a bill that was near and dear to a close family member’s heart, you can be sure that I would pay the utmost attention to it, and do whatever I could to support that measure.  To be clear, I would not violate my core principles and would not go to jail to please a family member or friend, but yes absolutely I would do what I could to make my mom and dad and children (and now grandchildren) happy.

2) Friends/Campaign Volunteers – Without question I will take the calls and try to help other friends and volunteers who have stood out in the hot sun holding signs for days on end, to help me get elected.  There are people who as volunteers have given up weeks and months of their lives to help me, and you can bet I am deeply and personally indebted to them.  Yes, I would want to help them and yes of course they can call or come in to see me anytime whatsoever. But as is the case with family, any help that I offer will never violate my core values and principles.

3) The Media – They can help you or hurt you and it is always best to get back with them as soon as possible.  If they call you, it is likely because either you are doing something good, or something bad. In either case the sooner you deal with it the better.

4) Voters/Constituents that live in your district – These are the core group of people who at the end of the day determine whether or not you can continue to serve in public office – they vote. When a constituent calls or stops by the office, it behooves the legislator to pay attention.  Constituent service is everything.  Every politicians bad dream revolves around a constituent writing a letter to the editor complaining about how the politician didn’t call them back, was not supportive, or otherwise blew them off.

5) Advocacy Groups (labor unions, environmental, etc) – Advocacy groups normally have influence over elections, and they have a legitimate voice representing large constituency groups.  These groups often are also “subject matter experts” on issues that impact their subject matter interests.

6) Non Voters In District – They don’t vote, but they might write letters to the editor and or talk to friends and neighbors.

7) Voters In Other Hawaii Districts – Unless the legislator is seeking higher office, these voters don’t carry a lot of weight nor do they deserve a lot of time or energy.  The refrain “I am never going to vote for you!” coming from someone who does not live in your district, means nothing.

8) People outside Hawaii – Unless they represent large advocacy organization or are campaign donors, the testimony from these folks is funneled always to the circular file (metaphorically speaking).

Hierarchy of access and political influence (inside the building)

1) The Chair of the House and/or Senate “money committee” (Finance or Ways and Means) – Just about everything any legislator wants to do costs money, and the “money chairs” essentially control that flow.  Further, rarely do they ever come to see you but rather you are the one seeking to connect with them – so when they come calling it behooves you to be there and available.

2) The Senate President or the House Speaker – When they come calling, it is usually to provide guidance (please appreciate the nuance here).  Usually the guidance will be to encourage (yes, more nuance) you to vote a certain way, hear a certain bill (or not), and to pass, kill, or amend a certain bill in a manner that serves the majority caucus (which may or may not align with your interests and or the broader public interest).  Both the President and the Speaker hold their positions due to the support of “the majority” and thus they theoretically speak for the majority.  So yes, these two individuals generally rank pretty high on the hierarchy of access and influence.

3) Various Committee Chairs – If a committee chair wants to see you it is either because they want something from you, or you are asking them for something, and they are ready to talk.

4) Legislators from your “faction” – Generally speaking these folks are your friends and either seek camaraderie, wish to give you a “heads up” on something happening in the building, or seek your support and help.

5) Legislators from outside your “faction” – Generally speaking these folks are not your friends, but may not be your enemies, but will act like your friends.  They will be seeking “intel”, and/or trying to enroll your support.

6) Staff – While they do not hold the same status as the other power brokers, every legislator wants their staff to think of them as “a good guy” (gender neutral intended).  Thus staff also have significant influence but not overtly and such influence must be far more nuanced – a staff member will never tell a legislator how to vote, etc.

A brief note on leverage:

No one listed above on the hierarchy of access and influence from “inside the building” will normally call, visit, or broach a conversation with a fellow legislator unless they want something.  Yes, of course I exaggerate – but not really.  People in the building are BUSY and the pace and mood is frenetic.  The clock is always ticking and there is always a deadline that needs to be met or some bill is going to die.

So except for a small circles of friends, the vast majority of times that a legislator will reach out to another legislator is when they want something.  They want a bill heard or they want your vote, or they want support for something that is important to them.

Legislators quickly learn that when this happens, there is an opportunity for “leverage”.  “Sure” they will likely respond, “I will give you this, but by the way, I need your help on this other thing too”.

Call it horse trading, call it leverage, or call it politics as usual.  It is the way of the world – in the building.  People are busy, and they are trying to get stuff done.

First published on Feb. 6th, 2019 in The Garden Island Newspaper

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Brutally frank – a discussion we need to have.

Brutally frank – a discussion we need to have.

The cynics, jaded and the obsessively pragmatic need not read further. In fact, delete now please and for that matter there is an unsubscribe button at the bottom of this page.

The people I want to hang out with believe positive change can happen, and they understand to make that a reality, they must be willing to work hard.

The label I prefer is, pragmatic idealist. This is not to say pollyannaish, but a realist who believes that the world can change for the better, and that as Dr. King said so eloquently “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

So…let’s do this.

Many of you who open and read these emails, are stepping up and helping by submitting testimony, sharing the information with your friends, and helping with financial contributions. And your involvement and help is critically important.

But we need more.

We can pass a strong bill that increases Hawaii’s minimum wage to $17 and puts us on a path toward a living wage, phased in incrementally and supports small business.

We can pass legislation that increases pesticide regulation, and further protects our keiki.

We can fully legalize hemp and offer increased support to our family farms.

We can take further meaningful steps to eliminate fossil fuel consumption.

We can reform our elections and campaign systems, and restore faith and confidence in our democracy.

We can do all of this and more, here in Hawaii and set an example for the rest of the world.

And we can do it now, during the 2019 legislative session. But to make it happen we have to turn it up a notch or two or three.

So please click on the identified links below, read and think about the bills, and then offer testimony in support if possible.

Please also share this email with your friends and neighbors.

And please consider offering Pono Hawaii Initiative, (PHI) a financial contribution, whether $25 or $2,500 or anything in between – all is welcome and much needed. While we operate on a very tight budget, we do have expenses and in order to maintain our basic administrative infrastructure and just to keep doing the basic work, we must raise the funding needed. In order to maintain our momentum contributions made this week are urgently needed. Full Disclosure: Contributions are NOT tax deductible, and none of the funds raised will be used to fund the ED position, which I hold.

Thank you in advance for your ongoing help and support, online contributions may be made securely at https://ponohawaiiinitiative.org(scroll to bottom of page). Or checks mailed to P.O. Box 871, Honolulu HI 96808.

Please help if you can.

I understand, this is a long email and I am asking you to read the bills, send emails, and offer a contribution. Please know, I would not be here on my keyboard, early in the evening on Super Bowl Sunday, if the help I am asking for was not critically important.

In solidarity,
Gary Hooser
The above is an excerpt from my recent email, sent out to “my list”…if you would like to be included in future emails, please go here to subscribe and “Join Me”. http://www.garyhooser.com/#four

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Your testimony is needed now, today on – Cannabis, Pesticide Drift, Minimum Wage, Automatic Voter Registration

It’s time to rock and roll my friends.

Important bill’s are being scheduled at the legislature and your testimony, both in person and via email is important.  Trust me on this.  While some think that just a little ole email won’t make a difference, it does and it will – but only if you take the few minutes it takes to send it off.

If you have not yet completed the Issue Survey , please do so ASAP, prior to January 31st!

The below 5 issues have not yet been scheduled but I encourage you to become familiar with and support them in the future.  Scroll down to see 4 very important measures that are being heard in the next few days and need your immediate attention and support

1. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) – This straightforward measure has the potential to both improve voter turnout, increase election security and save the state money.  It is a no brainer IMHO.  Please read my recent blog piece “Automatic Voter Registration – save money and improve access to voting”  .  HB4 is a good bill to watch for now, but has not yet been scheduled.

2. Audit the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC).  The ADC manages over 22,000 acres of publicly owned agricultural lands yet they have no mandate to actually produce food for local consumption, nor are their financial transactions held to the same level of transparency as regular state agencies.  Watch SB482 and HB871

3. Increase enforcement actions and penalties for pesticide drift.  At the present time, the State of Hawaii’s efforts at enforcing incidents of pesticide drift are lackluster at best.  HB929 is the one to watch.

4. Ban the use of herbicides on all public school grounds.  HB872

5. Increasing the minimum wage in Hawaii to $17 per hour, phased in over 4 years and including an automatic annual cost of living increases.  Several bills have been introduced on this topic but none have yet been scheduled for a hearing.  SB476  and HB727 both accomplish this.

Check out – “Living Wage Legislation – radical, leftist concept or essential, centrist thinking”

The below four important measures have been scheduled and hearings will be held in the next few days.  Please consider testifying in support!

HB557 RELATING TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

It’s purpose is to amend the criteria for granting a solar water heater system variance. The hearing notice is HERE.   The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday January 29th at 8:30am at the State Capitol in Conference Room 325.

Why support HB557? Current state law requires all newly constructed single family homes to install a solar hot water system. When the law was first passed, a provision was included that allowed for exceptions in areas where solar systems were not practical (way back in the mountains perhaps where there is constant cloud cover).  HB557 is a reasonable measure that closes a loophole that has been abused ever since this original law was passed. It goes without saying that solar hot water heaters use zero carbon based fossil fuel, while all other options are fossil fuel based.

SB375 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE.  It’s purpose is to require the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Office of the Governor, to develop a strategic plan to double local food production and increase food exports by 2020. The hearing notice is HERE. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday January 30th at 1:15pm at the State Capitol in Conference Room 224.

SB686 RELATING TO MARIJUANA. It’s purpose is to Legalizes the personal use, possession, and sale of marijuana.  The hearing notice is HERE ()   The hearing is scheduled for Thursday January 31st at 9am at the State Capitol in Conference Room 016.

Why support SB686? This measure is long, long over due.  Eleven other states have legalized it already. With a well established medicinal program already in place, and the ability to learn from the experiences of other states who have already legalized it – the time is now. It is the right thing to do, plus we need the income that will be generated.

IMPORTANT – OAHU RESIDENTS – Honolulu City Council Resolution #19 -1 Asking the State Legislature to make Hawaii’s minimum wage a living wage.Hearing will be held and testimony is needed by Wednesday January 30th at 10am.  Go here to submit testimony online!    The full agenda is HERE :

New to the process?  Testimony basics for State measures:

1. Go to the Hawaii State Legislature website

2. Sign In (top right hand corner)

3. Submit Testimony (left center on page)

4. Enter Bill or Measure (left toward top)

5. Click Continue and the rest is self explanatory

This website provides a wealth of information. Please explore it if you can.

If you have read this far, I thank you. Please know that your participation and your testimony is vitally important to the passage of the above measures.

Please also know, that yes…funds are indeed needed so that we can continue the work, especially during the coming 4 months and the legislative session.  If you are able to contribute any amount, whether $20 or $200 – now would be a good time to help.  As always new contributors of any amount are most welcome.  You may contribute securely via credit or debit card HERE.  Due to the political nature of our work, contributions to Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI) are NOT tax deductible.

Thank you in advance for your help and support!   Together, working hard and pushing all the way through until the end of the legislative session – we can improve the lives of our residents, friends and neighbors, AND we can set an example for all as to how democracy is supposed to work.

Best,

Gary Hooser -Executive Director, Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI) (https://ponohawaiiinitiative.org)

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