House Speaker Joe Souki has released the committee assignments for majority Democrats in the House of Representatives. Of particular note are the committee assignments for the House Judiciary Committee (JUD):
- Karl Rhoads (Chair)
- Joy San Buenaventura (Vice-Chair)
- Della Au Belatti
- Tom Brower
- Romy Cachola
- Richard Creagan
- Mark Hashem
- Derek Kawakami
- Chris Lee
- Mark Nakashima
- Gregg Takayama
- Justin Woodson
Two points are awarded to the individual that notices that Sharon Har has not just been evicted as the vice-chair of the committee (replaced by the hyper-liberal freshman representative from Puna) but wholly removed from the committee.
Full credit (ten points) is awarded to the individual who notices that ALL previous Democratic JUD members who voted against SB1 were also relieved of their seats on this committee.* This includes Ken Ito, Clift Tsuji and Mele Carroll. The only consolation is that liberal Democrats are gravely concerned about the potential for conservative members of their caucus to complicate other items on the liberal agenda.
People of faith should look at this and be prepared for the onslaught of the coming legislative session as Democrats use their first year to railroad the liberal agenda through the Judiciary committee, hoping that voters will not remember what they did before the election year. This same tactic was used when the 2013 special session was scheduled, and from the results of this year’s election, that seemed to be a safe bet.
Stacking the deck, however goes beyond the House Judiciary Committee and extends into the makeup of other committees. Other peculiarities are noted between the Consumer Protection (CPC) and Judiciary (JUD) Committees. As both committees share the same bracket, they generally also share committee members. A member of JUD normally serves on CPC. However, JUD has four fewer members (fourteen, instead of the eighteen members. Those four are Reps. Har, Oshiro and Yamane (and one extra, unnamed Republican) – all of whom opposed SB1.
The House Finance Committee has also shrunk to limit scrutiny of Sylvia Luke’s haphazard handling of the state budget. Last year she managed to misplace $60-million when she approved the budget bill in conference committee. With fewer members, it seems she’s trying to get out in time for Happy Hour at Hukilau just down the street.
This will not be a good Legislative year for people of faith. Standing up against bad government, standing up against bad laws was difficult enough the past two years when the deck was not stacked up against us. The next two years we will have to do MORE with LESS. Poll numbers show that there are not as many of us willing to stand up in November 2014 as there were in November 2013.
Prayer is awesome, but if people of faith could not go beyond prayer and actually vote, how will we defeat bad legislation? Testimony takes exponentially more effort than just checking a box.
* – An astute reader noted that Justin Woodson voted in opposition to SB1. While this is true, he did not serve on JUD during the special session. It was sitting JUD members that forced the committee to acknowledge the clear majority of individuals that were opposed to SB1 for either procedural reasons or religious convictions. The ire of liberal House leaders was directed solely at these members. In short, they were made an example of. It would be much more difficult for House leaders to punish all members who voted in opposition to SB1.