S.R. NO.













amending the rules of the senate of the thirtieth legislature of the state of hawaii, regular session of 2020, by adopting a New rule 38.5 Virtual attendance during catastrophic disasters.



     WHEREAS, in January of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") issued an alert and warned of a new respiratory virus, subsequently named "COVID-19"; and


     WHEREAS, the COVID-19 virus spread globally with a high rate of transmission, infecting millions worldwide; and


     WHEREAS, COVID-19 is transmitted through close contact with an infected person and possibly by contact with surfaces where the virus may survive, leading to wide community spread of the disease; and


     WHEREAS, beginning on March 4, 2020, the Governor of the State of Hawaii issued the first in a series of proclamations addressing the spread of COVID-19; and


     WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization ("WHO") declared COVID-19 as a worldwide pandemic; and


     WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States issued a proclamation declaring a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 virus; and


     WHEREAS, to date, there are over 3.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with a global death toll of over two hundred fifty thousand.  In the United States there are over 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with over seventy-five thousand deaths; and


     WHEREAS, to combat community spread of COVID-19, the State of Hawaii has instituted statewide protections including, but not limited to, stay-at-home orders, social distancing requirements, mandatory 14-day quarantine after air travel, and restrictions relating to gatherings; and


     WHEREAS, there is a real threat of exposure to, severe illness or death from, and community spread of COVID-19, despite implementation of these protective actions; and


     WHEREAS, there is currently no vaccination or medical prescription to cure the highly contagious COVID-19; and


     WHEREAS, the presence of COVID-19 negatively impacts Senators' ability to meet in traditional manners; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirtieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2020, that the Rules of the Senate be amended by adding Senate Rule 38.5 Virtual Attendance During Catastrophic Disasters to read as follows:


     "Rule 38.5  Virtual Attendance During Catastrophic Disasters.


     (1)  During a period of catastrophic disaster, the President may authorize, for good cause, any meeting of members of the Senate to be conducted at which one or more members participate through virtual attendance.


     (2)  A member participating through virtual attendance shall be considered present and in attendance as if the member were physically present, including but not limited to, for determining a quorum pursuant to Senate Rule 22 and Senate Rule 34.


     (3)  In ascertaining whether a quorum is present, the presiding officer or chair shall count the number of members in physical attendance and those members, including the presiding officer or chair, participating by means of virtual attendance.


     (4)  "Catastrophic disaster" means a severe or prolonged natural or human caused occurrence including, but not limited to, world conflicts, terrorist threat, national or global economic crisis, natural disaster, outbreak of disease, or any other event or occurrence that severely threatens or negatively impacts life, health, welfare, property, infrastructure, the environment, and financial security of the State.


     (5)  "Virtual attendance" means participation in a meeting of members of the Senate using telecommunications technology, video-conferencing technology, or other electronic or digital means of communication that allows any member who is authorized or required to be at the meeting to:


     (A)  Authenticate and verify each participating member and the vote made by each member;


     (B)  Simultaneously hear or read the comments of every member who is duly recognized by the presiding officer or chair;


     (C)  Vigorously participate in debate with other members as if they were physically present; and


     (D)  Send and receive documents and other material that are used or referred to in the meeting;


provided that if equal access of a member via virtual attendance is interrupted, the meeting shall be recessed until such time as equal access by all members is restored."; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the new Senate Rule material is underscored; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the amendments made to the Senate Rules by this Resolution take effect upon the adoption of this Resolution.













Report Title: 

Coronavirus; COVID-19; Virtual Attendance; Adoption of Senate Rule 38.5