S.B. NO.














relating to the legislature.





SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the public plays an important role in the legislative process through the testimony they provide. However, the opportunity to provide testimony in person at committee hearings may not be available to all members of the public, especially those who live outside of the urban core of the island of Oahu and on neighbor islands or those who experience barriers to access due to disabilities. Individuals with disabilities often must utilize technology and technology-based services and equipment to travel or to effectively communicate with others, but these services and equipment may not be readily available to them to participate in the legislative process.

The legislature further finds that as technology evolves, other state governments have implemented remote committee hearings to bridge the distance between testifiers and legislative committees. In 1978, Alaska established a teleconference network and began holding remote hearings for residents. In 2014, more than four thousand citizens of Alaska participated remotely in five thousand hours of legislative teleconferences. In Nevada, only about two per cent of the state's population lives in the capital city of Carson City, while seventy-six per cent live in the Las Vegas metro area, about four hundred miles away. The Nevada Legislature began videoconference hearings between the two cities in 1991. In 2015, seven hundred thirty-seven committee meetings were conducted by videoconference, with a total of 6,699 citizens attending.

The legislature notes that a videoconferencing pilot project began in 2014 for use in certain state senate committee hearings. The pilot project allows individuals to offer testimony and participate in hearings by teleconference through a computer with a webcam, microphone, and a reliable internet connection. The implementation of a program similar to the videoconferencing pilot project by both houses of the state legislature will help to improve the legislative process and provide the public with another means to provide testimony.

The purpose of this Act is to increase the available methods of public participation in the legislative process by establishing a remote legislative access program to enable Hawaii residents to participate remotely in legislative proceedings and appropriating funds to establish the program.

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

"21G-   Remote legislative access program. (a) There is established in the state capitol a remote legislative access program that shall become part of the legislature's public access program.

(b) The remote legislative access program shall be supervised by the joint legislative access committee established pursuant to section 21D-6; provided that the committee shall seek advice and recommendations from expert individuals with knowledge in remote communications, including the chief information officer of the office of enterprise technology services, in implementing the program.

(c) In establishing the remote legislative access program, the joint legislative access committee shall consider different methods of communication, including teleconference and videoconference, and different technologies that accommodate individuals with visual or hearing impairments to administer the program."

SECTION 3. Section 21D-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]21D-6 Joint legislative access committee.[]] There is established the joint legislative access committee which shall be composed of members of the legislature. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint a co-chair and two members or more to the committee, one of whom shall be a member of the minority party.

The committee shall:

(1) Oversee the staff and operations of the legislative broadcast project, and recommend policies for the project which shall be adopted by concurrent resolution; [and]

(2) Oversee the staff and operations of the remote legislative access program, and recommend policies for the program which shall be adopted by concurrent resolution; and

[(2)] (3) Review the operations of the public access room, legislative internet project, remote legislative access program, and other public access projects of the legislature and recommend policies for these projects to the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives."

SECTION 4. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019-2020 for the establishment of the remote legislative access program.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the legislature for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.




Report Title:

Remote Legislative Access Program; Establishment; Joint Legislative Access Committee; Public Access; Appropriation



Establishes a Remote Legislative Access Program to allow for the submission of testimony remotely. Appropriates funds.




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