What does this mean?
Read the Civil Beat piece “Hawaii legislature to suspend session amid coronavirus fears”
For advocates and those tracking, supporting and opposing various legislative measures, the short answer is that everything is on hold. There will be no hearings, no floor sessions and no votes taken until such time that the Speaker of the House and Senate President agree to reopen the session. When this happens new hearing notices will be posted but until then all bills are essentially “frozen” in place.
House/Senate leadership has indicated the session may be on hold for up to 8 weeks but also could be reconvened during this period for emergency purposes.
Apparently, the governor has sufficient legal authority to fund emergency services and programs and does not need legislative approvals.
During this time I would expect legislators and staff to continue working on various bills – negotiating with proponents and opponents, developing amendments, refining language, etc.
My hope is that legislators will also use this time to fully develop and accelerate the implementation of HB1153 SD2 RELATING TO REMOTE TESTIMONY IN LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS. This measure, in my opinion, should be made an urgent priority.
In addition, I am hopeful that legislators will make it an urgent priority to meet with local farmers and develop and pass measures directly connected to increasing local food production. Now more than ever, Hawaii needs to take bold steps toward self-reliance.
There are plenty of “legislative vehicles” already in the system to utilize for this purpose. And no, this urgency should not be used by corporate agriculture to make a “water grab” or otherwise take advantage of the situation to avoid health and safety regulations, or otherwise feather their own nests. We need to support local food production for local food consumption – not GMO test fields or corn grown for high fructose corn syrup, etc.
To be sure, though the session is not in session…the work goes on.