The Hawaii Constitution was framed by a Constitutional Convention under Act 334, Session Laws of Hawaii 1949. It was adopted by the people at the election held on November 7, 1950, and was deemed amended when three propositions submitted to the people in accordance with the Act of Congress approved March 18, 1959, 73 Stat 4, Public Law 86-3, were adopted by the people at the election held on June 27, 1959. As so amended, it was accepted, ratified, and confirmed by Congress by the Act of March 18, 1959. It went into effect on August 21, 1959, upon the issuance of a presidential proclamation admitting the state of Hawaii into the Union.

The Constitution has since been amended a number of times in accordance with proposals adopted by the legislature or by constitutional convention and ratified by the people. The source of these amendments is indicated in the source notes immediately following the text of the amended or new section.


Revision Note


On November 7, 1978, amendments to the Constitution proposed by the Constitutional Convention of 1978 were presented to the electorate for its approval. The Lieutenant Governor's computer report showed that all of the proposed amendments passed by the necessary constitutional margin. However, the Supreme Court of Hawaii in Kahalekai v. Doi, 60 H. 324, 590 P.2d 543 (1979), held that a number of the proposed amendments were not validly ratified. The revisor has deleted from the Constitution these invalid amendments and added explanatory notes to the sections concerned. This deletion has been done under the authority of Resolution No. 29 of the 1978 Constitutional Convention authorizing the revisor "to effect such necessary rearrangement, renumbering and technical changes of the sections within the articles of the State Constitution, as may be affected, for proper form and arrangement and proper order in the State Constitution in the event that any or some of the amendments to the State Constitution proposed by the Constitutional Convention of Hawaii of 1978 are not ratified by the electorate."

In addition to the abovementioned amendments, removed from the text of the Constitution, there appear to be other proposed amendments that may have failed of ratification. A number of unspecified amendments, involving technical, stylistic, and incidental changes, were submitted for approval by the electorate under Question 34. As to these, the Court stated:

The question of whether any amendment submitted for approval by Question No. 34 was in fact approved ... depends on its effect upon substantive law. If the amendment is purely stylistic and technical in nature, and does not alter the sense, meaning or effect of any provision of the Constitution, it was approved by the electorate and has become a part of the revised Constitution. On the other hand, if the amendment alters the sense, meaning or effect of any provision of the Constitution, it was not ratified and is not effective to change the language of the Constitution. Obviously, we are not now in a position to make these line by line determinations.

The revisor does not consider that the authority granted under Resolution No. 29 embraces the elimination of proposed amendments as having failed of ratification where the issue has not been adjudicated. Thus the text of the Constitution includes all the proposed amendments submitted for ratification under Question 34. As an aid to the readers, however, an attempt has been made to identify all such amendments--except those obviously purely technical and stylistic and clearly nonsubstantive (which have been ratified)--and explanatory notes have been appended thereto.




Federal Constitution Adopted


Article I Bill of Rights



1 Political power

2 Rights of individuals

3 Equality of rights

4 Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and


5 Due process and equal protection

6 Right to privacy

7 Searches, seizures and invasion of privacy

8 Rights of citizens

9 Enlistment; segregation

10 Indictment; preliminary hearing; information;

double jeopardy; self-incrimination

11 Grand jury counsel

12 Bail; excessive punishment

13 Trial by jury, civil cases

14 Rights of accused

15 Habeas corpus and suspension of laws

16 Supremacy of civil power

17 Right to bear arms

18 Quartering of soldiers

19 Imprisonment for debt

20 Eminent domain

21 Limitations of special privileges

22 Construction

23 Marriage

24 Public access to information concerning persons

convicted of certain offenses against children and

certain sexual offenses

25 Sexual assault crimes against minors


Article II Suffrage and Elections


1 Qualifications

2 Disqualification

3 Residence

4 Registration; voting

5 Campaign fund, spending limit

6 Campaign contributions limits

7 Resignation from public office

8 General, special and primary elections

9 Presidential preference primary

10 Contested elections


Article III The Legislature


1 Legislative power

2 Composition of senate

3 Composition of house of representatives

4 Election of members; term

5 Vacancies

6 Qualifications of members

7 Privileges of members

8 Disqualifications of members

9 Legislative allowance

10 Sessions

11 Adjournment

12 Organization; discipline; rules; procedure

13 Quorum; compulsory attendance

14 Bills; enactment

15 Passage of bills

16 Approval or veto

Reconsideration after adjournment

17 Procedures upon veto

18 Punishment of nonmembers

19 Impeachment


Article IV Reapportionment


1 Reapportionment years

2 Reapportionment commission

3 Chief election officer

4 Apportionment among basic island units

5 Minimum representation for basic island units

6 Apportionment within basic island units

7 Election of senators after reapportionment

8 Staggered terms for the senate

9 Congressional redistricting for United States house

of representatives

10 Mandamus and judicial review


Article V The Executive


1 Establishment of the executive

2 Lieutenant governor

3 Repealed

4 Succession to governorship; absence or disability of


5 Executive powers

6 Executive and administrative offices and department


Article VI The Judiciary


1 Judicial power

2 Supreme court; intermediate appellate court; circuit


3 Appointment of justices and judges

Qualifications for appointment

Tenure; retirement

4 Judicial selection commission

5 Retirement; removal; discipline

6 Administration

7 Rules


Article VII Taxation and Finance


1 Taxing power inalienable

2 Income taxation

3 Tax review commission

4 Appropriations for private purposes prohibited

5 Expenditure controls

6 Disposition of excess revenues

7 Council on revenues

8 The budget

9 Legislative appropriations; procedures; expenditure ceiling

General fund expenditure ceiling

10 Auditor

11 Lapsing of appropriations

12 Definitions; issuance of indebtedness

13 Debt limit; exclusions


Article VIII Local Government


1 Creation; powers of political subdivisions

2 Local self-government; charter

3 Taxation and finance

4 Mandates; accrued claims

5 Transfer of mandated programs

6 Statewide laws


Article IX Public Health and Welfare


1 Public health

2 Care of handicapped persons

3 Public assistance

4 Economic security of the elderly

5 Housing, slum clearance, development and rehabilitation

6 Management of state population growth

7 Public sightliness and good order

8 Preservation of a healthful environment

9 Cultural resources

10 Public safety


Article X Education


1 Public education

2 Board of education

3 Power of the board of education

4 Hawaiian education program

5 University of Hawaii

6 Board of regents; powers


Article XI Conservation, Control and Development

of Resources


1 Conservation and development of resources

2 Management and disposition of natural resources

3 Agricultural lands

4 Public land banking

5 General laws required; exceptions

6 Marine resources

7 Water resources

8 Nuclear energy

9 Environmental rights

10 Farm and home ownership

11 Exclusive economic zone


Article XII Hawaiian Affairs


1 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act

2 Acceptance of compact

3 Compact adoption; procedures after adoption

4 Public trust

5 Office of Hawaiian Affairs; establishment of board of


6 Powers of board of trustees

7 Traditional and customary rights


Article XIII Organization; Collective Bargaining


1 Private employees

2 Public employees


Article XIV Code of Ethics


Article XV State Boundaries; Capital; Flag;

Language and Motto


1 Boundaries

2 Capital

3 State flag

4 Official languages

5 Motto


Article XVI General and Miscellaneous Provisions


1 Civil service

2 Employees' retirement system

3 Disqualifications from public office or employment

3.5 Salary commission

4 Oath of office

5 Intergovernmental relations

6 Federal lands

7 Compliance with trust

8 Administration of undisposed lands

9 Tax exemption of federal property

10 Hawaii national park

11 Judicial rights

12 Quieting title

13 Plain language

14 Titles, subtitles; construction

15 General power

16 Provisions are self-executing


Article XVII Revision and Amendment


1 Methods of proposal

2 Constitutional convention

Election of delegates


Organization; procedure

Ratification; appropriations

3 Amendments proposed by legislature

4 Veto

5 Conflicting revisions or amendments


Article XVIII Schedule


1 Districting and apportionment

2 1978 Senatorial elections

3 Repealed

4 Effective date for term limitations for governor and

lieutenant governor

5 Judiciary: transition; effective date

6 Effective date and application of real property tax


7 1978 Board of education elections

8 Effective date for Office of Hawaiian Affairs

9 Continuity of laws

10 Debts

11 Residence, other qualifications

12 Board of education transition


Effective date




For proposed constitutional amendments to article VI, 3, see SB 886, L 2013, pg. 841 and HB 420, L 2014, pg. 839; article VII, 12, see HB 748 and SB 2876, L 2014, pgs. 840 and 843, respectively; and article X, 1, see SB 1084, L 2013, pg. 842.

Regarding proposed constitutional amendments to article VIII, 3 and article X, 1, by SB 2922, L 2018, the Hawaii supreme court declared the ballot question invalid on October 19, 2018, SCPW-18-0000733.




We, the people of Hawaii, grateful for Divine Guidance, and mindful of our Hawaiian heritage and uniqueness as an island State, dedicate our efforts to fulfill the philosophy decreed by the Hawaii State motto, "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono."

We reserve the right to control our destiny, to nurture the integrity of our people and culture, and to preserve the quality of life that we desire.

We reaffirm our belief in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and with an understanding and compassionate heart toward all the peoples of the earth, do hereby ordain and establish this constitution for the State of Hawaii. [Am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]




The Constitution of the United States of America is adopted on behalf of the people of the State of Hawaii.



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