Think About It: Legislative Pondering - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

July 9, 2015

Think About It: Legislative Pondering

How many bureaucrats does it take a screw in a light bulb? I don't know, and I certainly don't want to put myself on the line, but let me get a study going on it. Just kidding, but some of you may think that quasi-joke really sums up our local legislative process. But is it fair to expect full-time work from part-time employees? After all, our legislature is just like 24 other state's elected officials who are part-time, yet say they devote at least 70% of their working hours to their legislative duties. 10 states have full-time elected officials. Some small, rural states meet even fewer days than the 60-working days required in our local bylaws. 60-days! It's summertime, do you know where your representative is?

Would you be satisfied with a part-time doctor or lawyer handling your problems? Would you expect potential conflicts of interest when our 76 legislative elected officials also work in the private sector when they're not toiling on Punchbowl Street? Nebraska has a unicameral and nonpartisan legislature- one legislative body. At least 14 states have approached Nebraska for details on how it works- including Hawaii, at one point.

While no legislature would ever think to vote itself out of existence, perhaps a full-time, single legislative body here would generate more interest and provide more value to an apathetic, non-voting public. Perhaps such an entity could completely focus on just the people's issues, not their other jobs that require focus 12-months a year. Do you think it's worth considering? Good, I'll get a study going on it. Think about it…

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