Senate Rule 20 - Special Committees on Accountability - The President may appoint a Special Committee on Accountability which shall conduct informational briefings on matters referred to it by Senate Leadership or investigate matters referred to it by single house or concurrent resolutions.
The committee shall be composed of not less than five members, unless otherwise ordered by the Senate, and include a member or members of the minority party. The President shall appoint the committee's vice chair, who may change from time to time, to represent the standing committee having primary jurisdiction over the subject matter referred to the special committee. All requirements of standing committees shall apply to the committee.
There's been tremendous public interest in the Senate Special Committee on Accountability's hearings on the University of Hawaii's management issues.
While public reaction to the hearings have included calls for everything from firing top UH administrators to subpoenaing public officials to have them testify under oath, that is not the purview of the Accountability Committee or the desire of the Legislature.
Here are the facts to help you understand the committee's scope:
The committee's task is to review the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii, including the Manoa athletics program.
Since the legislature is not in session, the committee may conduct informational briefings to gather information and request individuals to testify before the committee. After gathering the information, the committee will submit a report with recommendations.
At this stage the committee does not have the authority to subpoena or put any individuals under oath.
Once the 2013 Legislature opens, a resolution needs to be voted upon to establish the Special Committee on Accountability as an investigative committee with the authority to subpoena testifiers to appear before the committee.
The voters approved a Constitutional amendment granting a significant degree of autonomy to the University of Hawaii to govern its own affairs.
The Board of Regents members are appointed by the Governor from a list of recommended nominees and confirmed by the Senate. Once they are confirmed there is no provision to remove a Regent from the Board
With self-governance in place, the Legislature cannot take action to overturn UH decisions or to hire and fire administrative/leadership personnel.
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