Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How You Can Become More Involved in the Legislative Process

Many people feel disenfranchised by our government. They feel that our system lacks transparency, accountability, accessibility, and responsiveness. The apathy that, all too often, results doesn't improve this perception; action does. Your rights to take action and participate in the democratic process are not limited to voting in elections or donating to campaigns.

Every piece of legislation must pass through committee before being voted on by the legislature. Committees hold hearings which provide the people a forum to express their opinions on each bill. A schedule of the hearings can be found posted several places throughout the capitol and online. It may be impossible for you to physically attend the hearings, but it couldn't be easier to still make your voice heard. You may do so through any ONE the following options:

PAPER:  5 copies (including an original) to Room 424 in the State Capitol;
FAX:       For comments less than 5 pages in length, transmit to 586-6511(Oahu) or 1-800-535-3859 (for Neighbor Islanders without a computer to submit testimony through e-mail or the Web); or
EMAIL:  For comments less than 5 pages in length, transmit to ; or
WEB:      For comments less than 4MB in size, transmit from the Web page at

Screenshot for submitting testimony through the website
Technology has made our government more accessible than ever, yet people still feel powerless. Abstaining from submitting testimony, be it due to ignorance or attitude, makes you powerless. The only thing stopping you from having a say in your future, in the future of Hawai'i, is you. Squeaky wheels get attention and this is an election year. This is your government and you have more influence over legislative outcomes than you may have been aware of. If you're not content with the way things are going, or even if you are, please take advantage of the mechanisms that were put in place to keep you relevant to your future. We look forward to seeing and hearing from more of you this session. 

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