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Legislature & Politics

Legislature has abdicated its watchdog responsibility

There are many reasons to be frustrated with the governor’s current use of emergency powers: a seemingly endless state of emergency, moving goalposts and the lack of transparency, to name a few.  But equally frustrating is the Legislature’s inability to rein it in. It had the opportunity with HB103 in

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Why reform of Hawaii’s emergency powers law failed

As Hawaii’s 2021 legislative session came to a close on April 29, many Hawaii residents were disappointed by the failure of the Legislature to approve HB103, which would have placed limits on the governor’s emergency powers. Hawaii has been under a state of emergency since March 2020, when Gov. David

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How to tell which bills to veto

The commentary below was Keli’i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for April 24, 2021. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org. ______________ As we near the end of the legislative session, the spotlight is moving toward

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‘It’s hard to say if they’re schizophrenic or not’

Joe Kent was featured guest on Keli’i Akina’s “Hawaii Together” program on ThinkTech Hawaii network on March 1, 2021, and his first observation about legislators at the 2021 Legislature was, “It’s hard to say if they’re schizophrenic or not.” Kent, executive vice president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, was

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‘Well, Johnny, it’s really been a strange session so far’

It was a good Sunday morning on the last day of February when Johnny Miro once again hosted Grassroot Institute President Keli’i Akina to talk about public affairs on the H. Hawaii Media family of radio stations: 101.1 FM, 101.5 FM, 107.5 FM, 97.1 FM and 96.7 FM.  Miro’s first

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2021 Legislature might actually do some good

The commentary below was Keli’i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for Feb. 5, 2021. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org. ______________ We’ve only just started the new legislative session, and the biggest surprise might be

Read More →

Hill discusses ‘Lockdowns Versus Liberty’ brief

With Hawaii’s COVID-19 state of emergency now in its 11th month, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii this week — on Martin Luther King Jr. Day —released a new policy brief, “Lockdown Versus Liberty,” which calls on the Legislature to step in and restore checks and balances to the state’s emergency powers. The brief

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How Hawaii is harmed by ‘rent seeking’

Examples include special-interest support for the Jones Act, job licensing, project labor agreements and tourism subsidies People who think the United States has a free market apparently are unaware of the economic concept of “rent-seeking,” also known as crony capitalism. During a presentation in October to a political science class at

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Hawaii can thrive despite one-party dominance

Photo by Charley Myers While voters across the nation settled in to await the final results of their state elections, in Hawaii it wasn’t hard to predict that the outcome would be a victory for the status quo. After all, that is what happens when yours is virtually a one-party

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Transparency in government is critical at all times

Editor’s note: These are remarks that Keli’i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, delivered April 21, 2020, during a webinar titled, “Democracy in peril: Upholding government transparency during a time of crisis.” He was joined by Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, and Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat

Read More →

Legislature has abdicated its watchdog responsibility

There are many reasons to be frustrated with the governor’s current use of emergency powers: a seemingly endless state of emergency, moving goalposts and the lack of transparency, to name a few.  But equally frustrating is the Legislature’s inability to rein it in. It had the opportunity with HB103 in

Read More →

Why reform of Hawaii’s emergency powers law failed

As Hawaii’s 2021 legislative session came to a close on April 29, many Hawaii residents were disappointed by the failure of the Legislature to approve HB103, which would have placed limits on the governor’s emergency powers. Hawaii has been under a state of emergency since March 2020, when Gov. David

Read More →

How to tell which bills to veto

The commentary below was Keli’i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for April 24, 2021. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org. ______________ As we near the end of the legislative session, the spotlight is moving toward

Read More →

‘It’s hard to say if they’re schizophrenic or not’

Joe Kent was featured guest on Keli’i Akina’s “Hawaii Together” program on ThinkTech Hawaii network on March 1, 2021, and his first observation about legislators at the 2021 Legislature was, “It’s hard to say if they’re schizophrenic or not.” Kent, executive vice president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, was

Read More →

‘Well, Johnny, it’s really been a strange session so far’

It was a good Sunday morning on the last day of February when Johnny Miro once again hosted Grassroot Institute President Keli’i Akina to talk about public affairs on the H. Hawaii Media family of radio stations: 101.1 FM, 101.5 FM, 107.5 FM, 97.1 FM and 96.7 FM.  Miro’s first

Read More →

2021 Legislature might actually do some good

The commentary below was Keli’i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for Feb. 5, 2021. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org. ______________ We’ve only just started the new legislative session, and the biggest surprise might be

Read More →

Hill discusses ‘Lockdowns Versus Liberty’ brief

With Hawaii’s COVID-19 state of emergency now in its 11th month, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii this week — on Martin Luther King Jr. Day —released a new policy brief, “Lockdown Versus Liberty,” which calls on the Legislature to step in and restore checks and balances to the state’s emergency powers. The brief

Read More →

How Hawaii is harmed by ‘rent seeking’

Examples include special-interest support for the Jones Act, job licensing, project labor agreements and tourism subsidies People who think the United States has a free market apparently are unaware of the economic concept of “rent-seeking,” also known as crony capitalism. During a presentation in October to a political science class at

Read More →

Hawaii can thrive despite one-party dominance

Photo by Charley Myers While voters across the nation settled in to await the final results of their state elections, in Hawaii it wasn’t hard to predict that the outcome would be a victory for the status quo. After all, that is what happens when yours is virtually a one-party

Read More →

Transparency in government is critical at all times

Editor’s note: These are remarks that Keli’i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, delivered April 21, 2020, during a webinar titled, “Democracy in peril: Upholding government transparency during a time of crisis.” He was joined by Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, and Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat

Read More →