S.B. NO.



S.D. 1


H.D. 1


C.D. 1












SECTION 1. Section 11-118.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"11-118.5 Constitutional amendments, proposed; attorney general statement. (a) Any constitutional amendment proposed by the legislature shall include in final form the exact constitutional ratification question to be printed on a ballot. The constitutional ratification question shall be phrased in a manner to enable voters to express their choice on the constitutional amendment by providing a "yes" or "no" response. The language and meaning of a constitutional amendment and a constitutional ratification question shall be [clear and it shall be neither misleading nor deceptive.] simple, concise, and direct to the extent practicable.

(b) The attorney general, in consultation with the legislative reference bureau, shall prepare a statement in English and Hawaiian for each proposed constitutional amendment in language that is [clear] simple, concise, and direct to the extent practicable and that indicates the purpose, limitations, and effects of the proposed amendment. The attorney general shall distribute each statement to the state office of elections and all county clerks for further distribution. The office of elections and county clerks shall make the statement available to the public at all polling places in the State and on a website operated by the office of elections."

SECTION 2. Section 602-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) Except as otherwise provided, the supreme court shall have jurisdiction and powers as follows:

(1) To hear and determine all questions of law, or of mixed law and fact, [which] that are properly brought before it by application for a writ of certiorari to the intermediate appellate court or by transfer as provided in this chapter;

(2) To answer, in its discretion, any question of law reserved by a circuit court, the land court, or the tax appeal court, or any question or proposition of law certified to it by a federal district or appellate court if the supreme court shall so provide by rule;

(3) To exercise original jurisdiction in all questions arising under writs directed to courts of inferior jurisdiction and returnable before the supreme court, or if the supreme court consents to receive the case arising under writs of mandamus directed to public officers to compel them to fulfill the duties of their offices; and [such] any other original jurisdiction as may be expressly conferred by law;

(4) To issue writs of habeas corpus, or orders to show cause as provided by chapter 660, returnable before the supreme court or a circuit court, and any justice may issue writs of habeas corpus or [such] any orders to show cause, returnable as above stated;

(5) To make or issue any order or writ necessary or appropriate in aid of its jurisdiction, and in [such] that case, any justice may issue a writ or an order to show cause returnable before the supreme court; [and]

(6) To make and award [such] any judgments, decrees, orders, and mandates, issue [such] any executions and other processes, and do [such] any other acts and take [such] any other steps as may be necessary to carry into full effect the powers [which] that are or shall be given to it by law or for the promotion of justice in matters pending before it[.]; and

(7) To issue, upon a written request by the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, or both, a written opinion of the justices of the supreme court, or a majority thereof, stating whether a proposed amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution and the corresponding constitutional ratification question is simple, concise, and direct to the extent practicable, as required by section 11-118.5; provided that:

(A) Within fifteen days of receipt of a written request for a written opinion pursuant to this paragraph, the supreme court shall render and deliver a written opinion to the requester or requesters;

(B) Any written opinion that finds that the constitutional ratification question corresponding to a proposed amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution is not as simple, concise, and direct to the extent practicable, shall contain a detailed and specific explanation of the reasons for such a finding; and

(C) Any decision established in a written opinion rendered pursuant to this paragraph shall not be appealable."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.


Report Title:

Supreme Court; Constitutional Amendments; Ratification Question



Requires the language and meaning of any proposed constitutional amendment and ratification question to be simple, concise, and direct to the extent practicable. Allows the presiding officers of the legislature to request a written opinion of the supreme court regarding the legality of a proposed constitutional amendment and ratification question. (CD1)




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