This article was renumbered from Article VII to be Article VIII by Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978. The former Article VIII now appears as Article IX.




Section 1. The legislature shall create counties, and may create other political subdivisions within the State, and provide for the government thereof. Each political subdivision shall have and exercise such powers as shall be conferred under general laws. [Ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]


Attorney General Opinions


Discussion of general laws. Att. Gen. Op. 61-36.

Law specifically repealing statute pertaining to single county is void as special law. Att. Gen. Op. 62-11.

Pari-mutuel law for a single county would be invalid as special law. Att. Gen. Op. 63-10.

Law conferring power on only certain specified counties is a special law. Att. Gen. Op. 63-22.

Section has prospective effect only, does not affect special laws enacted prior to statehood. Att. Gen. Op. 63-22.

Utilization of classification based upon population for legislation affecting political subdivisions of the State not violative of Constitution. Att. Gen. Op. 65-9.

Law that would confer on city and county power not conferred on other counties is a special law. Att. Gen. Op. 65-20.

A local option law is a general law if it applies to all counties and every county is given the same option. Att. Gen. Op. 67-5.

Repeal of special or local laws and replacing them with grants of general powers having uniform operation in all counties, does not violate Constitution. Att. Gen. Op. 87-1.


Case Notes


Plaintiff fireworks company was unlikely to succeed on the merits in alleging that a Honolulu city ordinance, prohibiting the importation of consumer fireworks into Honolulu, violated this section; the ordinance in question was "more stringent in the control or prohibition of fireworks" enacted within the city's power granted by chapter 132D. 796 F. Supp. 2d 1261 (2011).

In broadest sense, to be a "general law" must operate in all counties, but a law may apply to less than all counties and still be "general law" if it applies uniformly to a class of counties. 50 H. 51, 430 P.2d 321.

This provision not violated by Act 47, L 1967, providing for filling vacancy in office of county chairperson. 50 H. 51, 430 P.2d 321.

Subject to this provision requiring "general laws", the legislature is free to enact any legislation affecting the powers of political subdivisions, including amendment of charter provisions adopted pursuant to 2 of this article. 50 H. 277, 439 P.2d 206.

Generally on functions of statewide interest, if counties are not given specific authority, they cannot thwart the State. 56 H. 582, 545 P.2d 684.

Cited: 57 H. 390, 557 P.2d 1334.



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