STAND. COM. REP. NO. 559

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 695

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Government Operations, to which was referred S.B. No. 695 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO STATE HOLIDAYS,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to:

 

(1) Establish La Kuokoa, Hawaiian Recognition Day, as an official state holiday; and

 

(2) Repeal Election Day as an official state holiday.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Hawaii Government Employees Association, AFSCME Local 152, AFL-CIO; LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii; Oahu Council of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs; Ka Lei Papahi O Kakuhihewa, and five individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the City and County of Honolulu Department of Human Resources and Common Cause Hawaii.

 

Your Committee finds that Hawaii's special heritage and the various holidays currently celebrated distinguishes Hawaii from other states. La Kuokoa commemorates the date of November 28, 1843, when, during the reign of Kamehameha III, Great Britain and France recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Acknowledging La Kuokoa, or Hawaiian Recognition Day, is an appropriate and meaningful way to recognize and celebrate the culture and history of Hawaii. However, according to testimony received by your Committee, eliminating Election Day as a state holiday sends the wrong message about the importance of voting and may also create issues or difficulty with determining locations for voter service centers, especially those on government facilities. Your Committee recognizes that Hawaii is a vote-by-mail state with voter service centers on government facilities that currently open ten days prior to primary and general elections. Your Committee further recognizes that the cost of a holiday to the State, not including the cost to the counties, is roughly $13,600,000.

 

Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Designating La Kuokoa, Hawaiian Recognition Day, to celebrate the historical recognition of the independence of the kingdom of Hawaii, but not to be construed as a state holiday;

 

(2) Removing language that would have eliminated Election Day as an official state holiday; and

 

(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

Your Committee recognizes that the amendment to this measure may be problematic given the bill title and requests that your Committee on Judiciary consider this issue as the measure proceeds.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Government Operations that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 695, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 695, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.


 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Government Operations,

 

 

 

________________________________

SHARON MORIWAKI, Chair