Will whack-a-mole never cease?

SUBHEAD: It is hard to stay on top of the bills that are being “amended” to become the next PLDC.
Hawaii lawmakers from two House committees voted to repeal the Public Land Development Corporation on, bowing to strong community opposition across the Hawaiian islands. House committees on finance and land approved the measure Monday afternoon. The measure now moves to the House floor. The more extreme repeal bill prevailed over other proposals to merely reform the organization, which has been criticized for its power to override county zoning and permitting laws."
- From the Associated Press on 2/11/13.
By Sharon Rudolph on 14 February 2013 in Island Breath -

Image above: Residents of Kauai display their thoughts on PLDC during meeting with their mayor on 2/9/13. From (http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/repeal-pldc-on-the-agenda/article_7b1a8ca4-7260-11e2-93e7-0019bb2963f4.html).

So sorry! I've tried to make this as painless as possible!

Each Bill takes seconds to testify. If you're into protecting Hawai'i Please click these links NOW (and make one call!) ASAP! Time is of the essence!

More info on bills at each link. Mahalo!

OPPOSE HB567- Establishes an "Urban Growth Commission" bestowed with PLDC powers. 

OPPOSE HB738 - "Requires" the counties to allow the construction of accessory dwelling units on lots on which a residential dwelling unit is permitted and usurps the counties authority to regulate development standards through zoning ordinances

Will Wonders Never Cease?
By Laura Thielen on 11 Febriary 2013 for SenatorLauraThielen.com

Earlier today (Monday, February 11) I sat in a very long hearing on my original bill to repeal the PLDC and it’s new, mysterious version to do something completely different, and another new draft bill that repealed all exemptions for every state agency and the PLDC.

There was actually quite an interesting dialogue on the policy of having exemptions for multiple state agencies (although I still say the PLDC exemption is quite different in scale and scope).

After all the testimony was taken, the Senators on the two committees sat in front of the audience in “recess” discussing our options. But since it was a small room, the audience could comfortably listen and watch.

This was the most open discussion I’ve participated in to date on a committee vote.

After debating back and forth for a while, we suddenly ended up with a proposal to do a clean repeal of the PLDC. I and another Senator were so startled that we had to ask for a clarification before voting.

The Senate Chairs (Dela Cruz and Solomon) confirmed that we were voting on a full repeal of the PLDC, effective upon passage of the bill. I was stunned.

No defective date to automatically throw it into conference committee. No loose ends on the repeal to bring us back next year. Just like that.

Both committees voted yes on the clean repeal of the PLDC.

The caveat: we didn’t have the final bill language before us. But we did have a clear commitment from both chairs for a full, clean repeal of the PLDC, effective upon passage.

If this ends up going through, I will be bringing something in to the two chairs to thank them for their graciousness.

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, however, I have been around the legislative process long enough to know to wait until the end of session to make sure it’s actually done. There are 76 players and two houses in this game. As Yogi Berra said, “It’s not over until it’s over.” I’ll suspend judgment for now, and keep watch.

But I’m happy, albeit a bit bewildered, to confess that today was a complete surprise.

I have never had a job like this one before.

I’m still not sure if I like it. But it certainly is important, and a privilege to be a part of this process.

By Laura Thielen on 13 Febriary 2013 for SenatorLauraThielen.com

Have you ever played that carnival game, “Whack-a-mole?”

You stand over a box holding a mallet. The box has 12 holes in the top. A fake mole pops up out of a random hole. You try to hit it with the mallet. The mole drops down into the hole, and another one pops up out of another random hole.

Before long you are busy swinging away trying to “whack” these moles that keep popping up all over the place.

That’s what it feels like trying to stay on top of the bills that are being “amended” to become the next PLDC, or to include some completely new idea not envisioned in the original bill.

SB 215 has been amended to propose a new “Public-Private Partnership Authority.” It’s being heard before Senator Dela Cruz’s Economic Development Committee today (Wednesday). Similar to the PLDC, this new Authority would be the development arm for the state.

The bill is ready-made to include exemptions from a variety of laws during some future amendment. It lists the same limited number of laws that the PLDC had to follow when developing projects. Which implies the Authority, like the PLDC, will not need to follow other laws not on the list – after such exemptions are dropped into the bill at a later time.

Other bills are being scheduled for decision-making, and, lo-and-behold, a completely different Senate Draft 1 is handed to us at the hearing. Then I’m told I can’t ask questions of anyone in the audience because it’s decision-making and we’re not taking testimony.

Not all committees are run in this manner; not all chairs radically alter bills on short notice. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that it’s the minority. But it seems to waste the most energy for the least productive result.

I always did like the bumper cars better than the games at the carnival.

Come to think of it, they’re a little bit like the legislature too.

See also:
Ea O Ka Ania: Ex DLNR Chair against PLDC 8/30/12


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