HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

635

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO LEGISLATIVE ACCESS THROUGH REMOTE TESTIMONY.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii's geography as an archipelago of islands poses particular challenges for residents of the counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui active participation in the legislative process. While legislative committees accept written testimony via electronic means, in-person, face-to-face testimony can have a significant impact on legislators and the media. For members of the public who live far from the state capitol, it is costly and time-consuming to provide in-person testimony before the legislature. The legislature also finds that the lack of remote access to the legislative process also disenfranchises persons with disabilities who live on all islands. Enabling the public to provide live, real time remote testimony will improve opportunities for the public to participate in the legislative process.

The legislature further finds that for neighbor island residents, physically attending legislative committee hearings to testify on measures can cost upwards of $300 per day for travel and other costs and requires taking time off from work. This barrier affects approximately four hundred thousand people living in the counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui who deserve greater opportunity to be heard, to testify, and to participate in committee hearings of the legislature.

The legislature recognizes that Alaska, Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington have successful remote testimony programs. Hawaii can join these states by creating a way for the public to submit remote testimony on legislation.

The purpose of this Act is to require each house of the legislature to establish procedures and necessary information infrastructure for the public to present remote testimony at legislative committee hearings.

SECTION 2. Chapter 21, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"21-   Remote testimony; rules. (a) Each house of the legislature shall establish, by rule:

(1) Procedures that enable the legislature to use remote testimony at legislative committee hearings;

(2) Procedures that enable the public to present oral testimony at legislative committee hearings through remote testimony; and

(3) Procedures to accommodate persons with disabilities through remote testimony.

(b) As used in this section, "remote testimony" means the use of video conferencing or other technology that facilitates interaction between the public and members of the legislature and enables the public to submit oral testimony remotely via the Internet or other telecommunications technology during legislative hearings and proceedings."

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $17,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019-2020 and the sum of $3,400 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020-2021 for the purposes of this Act.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of accounting and general services for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Remote Testimony; Legislature; Public Participation; Persons With Disabilities

 

Description:

Requires each house of the Legislature to establish, by rule, procedures that enable the legislature to use remote testimony at legislative committee hearings to enable the public to present oral testimony at committee hearings and accommodate persons with disabilities. Appropriates funds.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.