The Hawai’i reapportionment process: Does anyone else find this objectionable and inappropriate, if not downright in violation of the state constitution?

According to the Hawai’i state constitution Article 4 (Reapportionment) Section 6 #2 states – “No district shall be so drawn as to unduly favor a person or political faction.”

Yet:

1) The members of the reapportionment commission responsible for drawing the new maps were provided with the home addresses of House and Senate members early in the process.

2) Various members of the House and Senate have and are actively lobbying commission members both in private and in public.

3) The criteria being used by commissioners to “redraw the maps” actively and consciously considers the possible impact on various legislators.

4) The most powerful State Senator in Hawai’i, WAM Chair Donovan Dela Cruz with the assistance of Government Affairs Chair Senator Sharon Moriwaki has scheduled a formal Senate briefing for Monday, January 10th at 10 am to “examine the data and methodology used and the bases (sic) for the Reapportionment Commissions decision to provide an accurate count of “permanent residents”.
https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2022/hearingnotices/HEARING_GVO_01-10-22_INFO_.HTM

Does anyone else find this objectionable and inappropriate, if not downright in violation of the state constitution?

Why would the reapportionment committee need or want the home addresses of legislative members when the law prohibits favoring them in the process?

Why is WAM even participating in the briefing as there are no budget impacts or fiscal implications involved?

One would think that if the law requires the process to not “unduly favor any person or party”, that those who are indeed most likely to be impacted would be prohibited from lobbying the commissioners or otherwise attempting to influence the outcome.

One would also think that the commission would at least attempt to conduct the process without plugging in the addresses of those who would be most impacted, and would further resist changing district lines in response to pressure from those likely to be impacted.

One would think.

gh

*Note: If anyone wants to challenge the facts stated above, please do so (either publicly via commenting here or privately to my email at garylhooser@gmail.com). I am more than willing to make a correction or clarify if I have misstated any of the facts or circumstances involved.

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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6 Responses to The Hawai’i reapportionment process: Does anyone else find this objectionable and inappropriate, if not downright in violation of the state constitution?

  1. The recent announcement that the election maps will need to be redrawn has tolled the death march for challenger campaigns in 2022. Delays in drawing the lines of districts means delays on when campaigns can truly begin for challengers. This eliminates any advantage challengers might gain from campaigning while incumbents are stuck on Oahu while the Legislative session is occurring (i.e., incumbents especially from neighbor islands can’t walk their districts while they are stuck in committee hearings). The Commission’s decision to delay the release of the maps compresses the time that anyone can campaign for the August primary. This makes it that much more difficult for newcomers to organize, solicit campaign funds, recruit volunteers, and ultimately. engage the electorate. I’m sure incumbents, many expecting tight races (think Speaker Saiki), are all breathing a sigh of relief.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  2. scottypoppins says:

    Gary, some of the dinos in our legislature are acting like the Republicans are nationwide. It’s a pure power grab. They care not for the people they represent, only for their own political and financial Futures. This has got to stop!

    • garyhooser says:

      Of course,​ I agree 100% Scotty. I’m hoping yesterday’s Resolution calling out Congressman Ed Case might signal a new willingness by the Party to call out the DINO bad actors. We will see.

  3. Barbara Polk says:

    Thank you Gary! I have commented several times on Civil Beat criticizing their continuing news articles treating accommodating sitting legislators as a criterion for drawing the maps. I have pointed out that that is a violation of our State Constitution, and wish CB would say so. Although on paper, we have one of the best reapportionment processes in the nation, in practice, it has always been highly politicized, and, if I recall accurately, even went to court last time around. I don’t know who, other than maybe ACLU, has standing to file charges against those who have actively subverted our supposedly democratic process! Actually, the Democratic or Republican Parties would problably also have standing, but I doubt that either would sue over it. People who want to run for office would have standing if they had filed to run, but I don’t think it’s possible to file at the moment!

    Also note that the writers of our State Constitution included that the districts drawn not favor any political faction. They were wise enough to see that factions, not parties are the primary concern in Hawaii.

    And yes, I assume that the commission draws silly maps and stalls in other ways to benefit incumbents!

    • garyhooser says:

      Thanks Barbara for the thoughtful comment. I’m surprised Common Cause of ACLU or someone has not taken them to court on this. I’ll check around to see if I can find out what’s happening if anything on this specific aspect of the the issue.

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