Wednesday, October 17, 2018


House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and House leaders interviewed Circuit Court Judge Keith Hiraoka today following his nomination to the state Intermediate Court of Appeals. House leaders and Judge Hiraoka engaged in an informative and wide-ranging discussion about judicial experience and temperament, judicial philosophy, and separation of powers between the three branches of government.
“The House has taken this unprecedented step of interviewing a judicial nominee prior to his or her Senate confirmation hearing,” said Speaker Saiki.  “The interview afforded House leaders an opportunity to discuss topics such as the nominee’s judicial philosophy, the role of an appellate court, and the importance of the constitutional separation of powers doctrine. Although the Senate confirms judges, the House shares an interest in ensuring that judicial nominations are fully vetted.”

“We know how important it is to select the right person to the Intermediate Court of Appeals because appellate judges play such a critical role in interpreting the laws crafted by the Legislature in accordance with principles outlined in the Hawai‘i State Constitution,” said House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti.

“In order to understand his views and qualifications, we have talked with Judge Hiraoka and may offer our input to the Senate before they debate his confirmation,” said Speaker Saiki.

Hiraoka, 59, was named a First Circuit judge in 2017. If this appointment is approved, Hiraoka would occupy one of six seats on the state Intermediate Court of Appeals, the second highest court in Hawaiʻi. His term would be for 10 years.
The Senate is expected to meet in a special session on October 24-25 to consider the nomination.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Offices at the Hawaiʻi State Legislature will be closed on Thursday, August 23, and Friday, August 24 due to the heavy impact anticipated from Hurricane Lane.
The decision by House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi is consistent with the Governor's order to grant administrative leave for non-essential employees statewide.

Additionally, since it is not known what the extent of the hurricane's impact will be the next few days, House employees should call the Speaker's office (586-6100), the Chief Clerk's office (586-6400) or the Sergeant-at-Arms office (586-6500) on Sunday evening after 7 p.m.  There will be a recorded message advising House employees if offices will be open on Monday, August 27.

Unless they are informed otherwise, Senate employees should assume that all offices will be open for business on Monday, August 27.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Los Angeles —House Speaker Scott K. Saiki has been elected vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization serving the nation’s 7,383 state lawmakers and legislative staff. Saiki took office on Thursday, Aug. 2, at NCSL's Legislative Summit in Los Angeles.
The Hawaiʻi speaker will serve one year as vice president, ascend to president-elect the following year, and then become president at the Legislative Summit in 2020. NCSL leadership alternates between parties every year.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as vice president and look forward to working with my colleagues from around the country,” said Saiki. “NCSL has afforded legislators and staff an unrivaled opportunity to learn from the experiences of other states, exchange ideas and come up with policy solutions that can help propel our respective states and, ultimately, our entire nation forward. I also look forward to working with our Washington office to ensure federal policies are in line with state priorities.” 
Hawai’i State Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi said Saiki is a great choice for the leadership position.
"Speaker Saiki has been very active in the NCSL and knows how the organization works," Kouchi said. "His strong planning, communication and leadership skills will be a great benefit to NCSL and will attest to the proficiency of Hawai’i's State Legislature."
Saiki has served as the speaker of the Hawai‘i House of Representatives since May 2017. He had previously served as majority leader. He has also been an active member of NCSL and served on the Task Force on State and Local Taxation as well as the NCSL Executive Committee.
Saiki was born in Honolulu. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and his J.D. from the University of Hawai‘i's William S. Richardson School of Law. 

Senator Toi Hutchinson of Illinois became the 46th president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) at the annual Legislative Summit in Los Angeles. Hutchinson, a Democrat, succeeds Republican Senator Deb Peters of South Dakota.

Other officers elected were:
  • Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos (R), president-elect. Under his leadership, the Legislature has approved one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin history and became the 25th right-to-work state in our country. He is also proud of the bipartisan work in the Assembly where more than 90 percent of the bills passed receive bipartisan support. His speaker's task forces have developed important legislation on topics including mental health, rural schools, Alzheimer's and dementia, urban education and youth workforce readiness.
  • Jon Heining of Texas’s Legislative Council, staff chair. Heining has worked for the Texas Legislature in a variety of positions since 2003, first as a bill analyst and attorney to the lieutenant governor and since 2006, with the Texas Legislative Council. He is currently responsible for drafting legislation, addressing personnel issues, reviewing analyses of legislation, drafting contracts, providing advice regarding ethics and open records law, answering press calls and assisting with certain parliamentary issues, just to name a few. He has been on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) for five years, and has chaired numerous other LSCC subcommittees. He has also served on the NCSL Executive Committee since 2014.
  • Martha Wigton, Georgia House Budget and Research Office director, staff vice-chair. Wigton has worked for the Georgia General Assembly since 1991, first in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office as executive assistant for policy and budget and later as chief of staff. Since 2011 she has served as director of the House Budget and Research Office where she provides policy and fiscal analysis to 180 members as well as furnishes the professional staff for all 38 legislative standing committees. Wigton has been an active member of NCSL since 2011, having served on numerous NCSL committees. Most recently she has served on the NCSL Executive Committee.

Since 1975, NCSL has served as the bipartisan organization serving the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.