S.C.R. NO.



S.D. 1


H.D. 1







WHEREAS, section 608-1.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, establishes a five-member Judicial Salary Commission (Commission) to convene every eight years beginning in November 2003, and to recommend an appropriate salary for the justices and judges of all state courts and appointed judiciary administrative officers; and

WHEREAS, according to section 608-1.5(c), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Commission's recommended salaries shall become effective July 1 of the next fiscal year unless the Legislature disapproves the recommended salaries by adopting a Concurrent Resolution that is approved by a simple majority of each house of the Legislature, prior to adjournment sine die of the legislative session in which the recommended salaries are submitted; and

WHEREAS, the 2004 Commission convened on November 17, 2003, and held a series of meetings to deliberate on a range of factors in considering salary adjustments for the justices, judges, and administrative officers of the Judicial Branch; on March 8, 2004, the Commission submitted to the Legislature, through the Chief Justice, its report and recommendations relating to salaries for the eight-year period commencing on July 1, 2004; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes the efforts of the members of the Judicial Salary Commission and commends them for their thorough, thoughtful consideration of all information presented to them as part of their deliberation; and


WHEREAS, after a careful analysis and evaluation of the information presented to them, the Commission recommended that effective July, 2005:

(1) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court receive $140,000;

(2) The Associate Justices of the Supreme Court receive $135,000;

(3) The Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals receive $130,000;

(4) The Associate Judges of the Intermediate Court of Appeals receive $125,000;

(5) The Judges of the Circuit Courts receive $121,600;

(6) The Judges of the District and District Family Courts and Per Diem Judges receive $114,600;

(7) The appointed Administrative Director receive $105,000; and

(8) The appointed Deputy Administrative Director receive $100,000; and

WHEREAS, these recommended increases for fiscal year 2005-2006 represent an overall average salary increase of fourteen per cent or a total of $1,311,746; this one-time increase alone represents over one per cent of the Judiciary's entire operating budget for fiscal year 2003-2004 of $117,708,951; and

WHEREAS, these one-time salary increases also represent a 2.8 per cent annual increase when spread over the period beginning on July 1, 2000, the date of the last salary increase for justices, judges, and administrative officers, to the next recommended salary increase on July 1, 2005; and


WHEREAS, in addition to this fourteen per cent salary increase, the Commission further recommended that justices, judges, and administrative officers also receive annual 3.5 per cent incremental increases effective July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2012; these annual increases alone would cost the State an additional $373,842 in fiscal year 2006-2007, increasing each fiscal year until it reaches $444,023 in fiscal year 2011-2012; and

WHEREAS, although the Legislature would be the first to acknowledge the key role that justices and judges play in defining the quality of life in Hawaii and in giving meaning to the State Constitution and the laws of this State, these recommended salary increases come at a time when the State's limited resources are already spread thin just to accommodate the areas of only the highest priorities; and

WHEREAS, although the Legislature recognizes the broad-based support for an increase in judicial salaries, the Commission itself acknowledged the State's current budgetary shortfall when it recommended deferring all salary increases until fiscal year 2005-2006; and

WHEREAS, it should be pointed out that these recommended increases do not represent just a commitment of one-time appropriations; on the contrary, they represent a permanent increase to the Judiciary's base budget; and

WHEREAS, the Commission's recommendations do not consider the fiscal impact that the salary increases will have on the Employees' Retirement System and the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund; and

WHEREAS, accordingly, this Legislature refuses to commit future legislatures to the liability resulting from these annual 3.5 per cent salary increases without knowing their full impact on future financial plans; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature, therefore, does not believe it to be in the overall public interest to allow the recommendations of the 2004 Commission to become effective; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-Second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, the House of Representatives concurring, that the recommended salaries submitted by the 2004 Judicial Salary Commission as set forth in the "Report of the Judicial Salary Commission (March 8, 2004)" are disapproved pursuant to section 608-1.5(c), Hawaii Revised Statutes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the members of the Twenty-Second Legislature hereby express their deep thanks and appreciation to the members of the 2004 Judicial Salary Commission for their hard work on this difficult matter; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that upon adoption of this Concurrent Resolution, the Legislature requests that, pursuant to section 608-1.5(c), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Commission reconvene in November 2004, to consider the concerns of the Legislature specified in this Concurrent Resolution and submit a report that includes, but not be limited to, consideration of new salary recommendations that reflect a one time fourteen per cent raise in fiscal year 2005-2006, but not an escalator clause; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Commission submit a report of the findings and recommendations to the Legislature at least twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2005; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chair of the 2004 Judicial Salary Commission.



Report Title:

2004 Judicial Salary Commission