While people of faith petition Rep. Karl Rhoads to gain a hearing on HB1624, the priorities of the House Judiciary Committee are clear based on the priority legislation that they have granted a hearing. This special privilege appears exclusive to the pet-projects of Karl Rhoads since many of the measures have been introduced by the committee’s chair. This includes the following:
- HB1498 – Prohibits urination or defecation on paved roads or sidewalks.
- HB1660 – Prohibits the obstruction of public sidewalks and other public rights of way.
- HB1499 – Proposes a (useless) constitutional amendment to appear on the next election ballot regarding the First Amendment of the state Constitution
When there are more pressing issues to deal with such as the backlog in family courts, puppy mills, juvenile recidivism and a government that no longer works for the people, Karl Rhoads would rather discuss public defecation. All three measures were granted a hearing during the first month of the Legislature while other bills wait in the eleventh hour to be heard or face an untimely death.
HB1499 is worthy of greater scrutiny because it proposes a Constitutional Amendment that purports to exclude political donations and lobbying expenses from the free speech provision of the First Amendment. While the effects of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision are lamentable, there is no law or constitutional amendment that can be passed by the state legislature that would alter the Supreme Court’s decision. While the state Attorney General’s office admitted this much in their testimony, even Karl Rhoads appeared cognizant of it in the committee report (HSCR 245-14) when he wrote:
“…this measure can have no legal effect on political spending to influence elections and expenditures. Your Committee understands that the measure is purely symbolic.”
If HB1499 will have no meaningful ramifications, why would the House Judiciary Committee even hear the measure when there are more pressing matters for the committee to address? While the House Judiciary Committee has time to consider meaningless constitutional amendments, they failed to consider a measure proposed during the special session that would properly address the 1998 constitutional amendment regarding same-sex marriage (HB5) that was repeatedly requested during House testimony on SB1. (1) This blog has previously indicated that HB1624 is a priority piece of legislation for people of faith and in a broader Call to Arms has so far resulted in at least 2000 emails of support to House representatives.
The message from Rep. Karl Rhoads is quite clear, and the House Judiciary Committee spends their time hearing Karl Rhoads’ personal bills rather than addressing issues that are meaningfully important to the entire State of Hawaii. However, with less than 24 hours left on the clock to schedule a hearing on the measure, House Leadership remains defiant and refuses to schedule HB1624 for a hearing.
(1) Subject of a future post.