Term limits will do little to fix any of the problems with politics in Hawaii.

Term limits will do little to fix any of the problems with politics in Hawaii.

In recent months, there seems to be a growing chorus calling for term limits for state legislators in Hawaii. While term limits currently exist for the Governor, Lt. Governor, Mayors, and County Council members, the state legislative members (Representatives and Senators) are not bound the same way.

Scientific public polling has consistently shown that large majorities in the U.S. supported term limits for decades. This, however, shouldn’t be reason enough to implement such a reform. Far too many Americans believe, sadly, that majority rule should be (or is) the law of the land. For too long in this country, majority rule has allowed segregation, voting suppression, same-sex marriage bans, and more.

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Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed today. Maybe, just maybe, if I had stayed in bed, it could all be a terrible dream. A vision of an alternate reality somewhat darker than our own. Alas, this is no dream and I am in no alternate reality. Today I am simultaneously heartbroken and outraged. Sickened.

I’ve never been one for feelings of patriotism. As I’ve gotten older (and wiser?) my disdain for my country of residence has only grown. Today is one of those when days I very much disavow it.

I don’t know what else to say.

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Local News Fails to Inform

A truncated version of this piece was offered to both Civil Beat and Honolulu Star-Advertiser for publication. Both politely declined, unsurprisingly. Both Civil Beat and the Star-Advertiser have relationships with some of the news networks of which I am critical here.

On May 3, after a long day of floor debates and votes, the Hawaii Legislature concluded the majority of their business for the 2022 session. Among the hundreds of bills transmitted to Governor Ige for consideration was House Bill 1567 Relating to Criminal Pretrial Reform.

The bill “eliminates the use of monetary bail and requires defendants to be released on their own recognizance for certain nonviolent offenses, subject to certain exclusions and requires the Department of Public Safety to take steps to provide video conferencing to a defendant who chooses to participate in a bail report interview via videoconference.”

Whatever your opinion on bail reform might be, it is critically important that our news media provide us with accurate information about important issues such as this one.

The television networks that published a story on HB1567 made a terrible hash of it. Not only did they provide little expert commentary from either side of the debate, but even worse their stories were incredibly one-sided.

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Progressives Should be Embarrassed to Support HB2510

NOTE: The legislators named herein are broadly considered “progressive.” There are others who voted “yes” who are members of either the Progressive or Working Families Caucuses but are not generally considered progressives so I didn’t feel the need to include them here.

Today, the Hawaii House of Representatives voted on nearly 30 pages of bills to move forward. It was the First Lateral Filing Deadline.

The one I and many of my colleagues were interested in was HB2510. The bill, “Relating to Income,” included an embarrassing and pathetic attempt to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage. Specifically, it raises the minimum wage to $18 by 2030. Yes, you read that right.

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