Thursday, May 8, 2008

Battle of the Studies

On May 1st, a week ago, the Legislature adopted HCR231 that requests the bi-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau to study the cost factors of a Constitutional Convention. In his testimony, LRB director Ken Takayama said that "the scope of the study requested in this measure appears to be manageable. We will endeavor to work with the Legislature to produce a study that is objective, informative and useful."

On May 7th, the Governor sent out a news release forming a task force to determine the cost of convening a Constitutional Convention, chaired by the Lt. Governor. "The resolution ties the hands of the reference bureau from looking at viable alternatives, and it shuts the public out of the process."

The news release did not specify why the public would be shut out of the process, or the role the public has in determining the cost of convention. It should be noted that the public will have a large role in determining whether there will even be a convention given that the question will be put on the November 2008 general election ballot.

The Advertiser picked up the story here.

Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell criticized the Lingle administration for dismissing the work of the LRB, and spending taxpayer's money on a duplicative effort. Here's his full response:

The governor recently announced the forming of a task force to study the cost of a Constitutional Convention, even though the legislature just passed a resolution requesting the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) to do the exact same thing. In its testimony to the legislature, the LRB stated it would produce a "study that is objective, informative and useful."

So, now we will have two studies, spending more money and duplicating efforts.

While there are ominous signs regarding the slowdown of our economy, shouldn't the focus really be on protecting our economy, our jobs and our livelihood? We hear nothing from the governor on this issue except to say that the economic signs aren't as bad as we think. Apparently, all other matters like our falling revenues and mishandled state contracts are under control, so she has time to take on something that the extremely competent bureau has already been assigned.

The governor's statement that she prefers an open and transparent process for this study has no small ring of irony to it when you remember that is exactly what she avoided in the Superferry fiasco and her utter unwillingness to discuss with the news media the extraordinary departure of her chief of staff Bob Awana.

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