January 21, 1999
Contact:House Majority Staff Office


The members of the Democratic majority in the State House of Representatives today announced their package of initiatives that target long-term economic vitality as the focal point for the 1999 Legislative Session.

Majority Leader Rep. Ed Case (D - Manoa) said, "Our mandate is change. Our business climate and its ability to produce jobs for our people must come first. But to truly change our economy, we must also accelerate our efforts in all other areas – government operations, education, justice and public safety, healthy families and communities, and our environment."

The package represents a general consensus of the 39 members of the Democratic Caucus, Case said, and is the result of weeks of intense discussion. The proposals center on measured, long-term improvements to the structural facets of the economy – taxes, regulations and infrastructure – as well as addressing more immediate needs such as support for tourism, agriculture and small business.

The Majority also renewed its pledge to honor the Democrat’s "social contract" with the people by including specific measures that strengthen families and ensure the wellbeing of women, children, the elderly, the poor and the disabled.

House Speaker Calvin K. Y. Say (Palolo Valley-Kaimuki) reiterated his Opening Day remarks that the proposals represent a balanced approach. "It (House Majority Legislative Package) recognizes the primary of economic revival while remembering that government is defined by how well it cares for its neediest citizens," Say said.

Key economy-related items in the package include:

The package also addresses crucial items relating to government efficiency, such as:

Other major initiatives to be pushed by the House Democrats include:

The entire package reflects the House Majority’s conclusion that economic health and core government services are interdependent – each relies heavily on the other.

A number of high-profile issues were not included the Majority Package because of the lack of a clear consensus, Case said. Some of the items include a statewide fireworks ban, same-gender marriage issues, and a settlement on ceded lands.

"Nonetheless," Case said, "the majority members of the House of Representatives, despite great diversity, are united by party affiliation and by the obligations of leadership."

House Speaker Say said he was pleased by the active participation of members in formulating the package and vowed to continue pressing for even more openness and constructive debate in the legislative process.

The 1999 Session of the 20th Hawaii Legislature opened January 20 and is scheduled to adjourn May 4.