Legislation Norm - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

April 26, 2010

Legislation Norm

For a long time now, I've questioned our local political system and the fact that we have a part-time legislature that meets for about 60-days annually from January-May. To naïve and perhaps ignorant people like me, that seems like a small amount of time in which to discuss, formulate, and debate a lot of big issues and also read through tons of paperwork, especially amongst people who have other outside jobs which help to pay their bills on a year-round basis.

But 45 other states also have part-time legislatures, and some meet for even less time than our local lawmakers are in session. As a matter of fact, six state legislatures meet regularly only every other year.Apparently, what goes on in Hawaii is far and away the norm for state governments throughout the country in terms of time spent on the job.

With so much focus needed of these elected officials in a short period of time foraging through reams of proposals, bills, e-mails, meetings, constituent demands, and special interest concerns, maybe it's not such a wonder that more people choose not to run for office. The pay's not great, the stress is pretty high for months on end, and when you do go back to your district, you surely hear about it from everyone who feels wronged by decisions made. An imperfect system, for sure, but it's part of the mainstream for legislatures and legislators throughout this country. Yes, they should all be held accountable for their actions and inactions, but maybe it's not realistic to expect much more or much better, or is it? Think about it…

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