H.C.R. NO.

















WHEREAS, pursuant to article XVII, section 2, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, at least once every ten years, the electorate at any general or special election must vote to determine whether to convene a constitutional convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the state constitution; and


     WHEREAS, in 2008, the electorate voted against convening a constitutional convention; and


     WHEREAS, the electorate will vote at the November 6, 2018, general election on whether to convene a constitutional convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the state constitution; and


     WHEREAS, the last constitutional convention in Hawaii was held thirty‑nine years ago; and


     WHEREAS, the 1978 constitutional convention was located in the historic old federal building in Honolulu based on location and office space; and


     WHEREAS, in addition, the large former Honolulu office of the Internal Revenue Service was used for plenary sessions, the old courtrooms were used for large committee meetings, and the auditorium and conference rooms at the State Capitol were used for committee hearings and informational sessions; and


     WHEREAS, there were one hundred two constitutional convention delegates representing fifty‑one districts throughout the State; and


     WHEREAS, the delegates were compensated $1,000 per month, which was equal to the legislative salary at that time, and each delegate's salary was capped at $4,000 for the entire convention; and


     WHEREAS, Oahu delegates received a per diem allowance of $10 and neighbor island delegates received a per diem allowance of $30; and


     WHEREAS, a total of three hundred fourteen delegate staff positions, in a myriad of job descriptions including clerk, receptionist, researcher, and secretary, supported the convention process; and


     WHEREAS, in addition to the delegates' staff, there were fifty‑three other convention employees; the Chief Clerk, Assistant Clerk, Chief Attorney and four additional attorneys, two parliamentarians, an accountant, Sergeant‑at‑Arms, Assistant Sergeant‑at‑Arms, two journal clerks, an engrosser, Records Clerk, Supply Clerk, Accounting Clerk, Chief Legal Stenographer and three additional legal stenographers, the secretary of the Chief Clerk, two information clerks, Chief Messenger and ten additional messengers, three custodians, a parking attendant, Print Shop Manager, Chief Machine Operator and two additional machine operators, five file clerks, and four miscellaneous employees; and


     WHEREAS, the Legislature appropriated $2,500,000 towards the expenses of the 1978 constitutional convention, with the actual expenditures totaling a little over $2,032,401; and


     WHEREAS, however, that appropriation does not reflect the cost of the election or the substantial effort that was made, beginning in 1976, to educate the public on the possible constitutional issues and the importance of the delegate election; and


     WHEREAS, for instance, an additional $485,599 was appropriated to conduct the election of constitutional convention delegates and $8,500 was appropriated to supervise campaign contributions and expenditures; and


     WHEREAS, the Legislative Reference Bureau received $72,000 as a separate appropriation (in addition to an amount allocated as an expense of the convention) to provide assistance and services to the convention, including updating the Hawaii Constitutional Convention Studies; and


     WHEREAS, $2,500 was also appropriated to prepare and publish a taxation and finance manual for the convention; and


     WHEREAS, if the expenses of the 1978 constitutional convention (e.g. $2,032,401) were simply adjusted for inflation to 2017, the cost would be approximately $7,626,113; however, the issue of the cost of a constitutional convention is more complicated than simply adjusting costs to reflect the effects of inflation; and


     WHEREAS, it is important to provide the public with an estimate of the cost to taxpayers to convene a constitutional convention so voters can make an informed decision on the issue at the 2018 general election; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-ninth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2018, the Senate concurring, that the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to study the costs of convening a constitutional convention and provide an estimate of the projected total cost; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in completing the study, the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to consider, among other things, that the constitutional convention would:


     (1)  Convene not less than five months prior to the next regularly scheduled general election;


     (2)  Be held at a leased facility in Honolulu large enough to accommodate the general operations of the constitutional convention, including plenary sessions, large committee meetings, and informational sessions and to house offices for the delegates;


     (3)  Be likely to have one hundred two delegates;


     (4)  Require appropriate staff to ensure public input and facilitate operation of the constitutional convention; and


     (5)  Involve adequate compensation for both delegates and staff; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to submit a report of its findings, including an estimate of the projected cost of convening a constitutional convention, to the Senate and House of Representatives no later than September 1, 2018; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau.









Report Title: 

Constitutional Convention; LRB Study