Friday, February 22, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, May 04, 2018
Was 2018 Hawaii Legislature a success?
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 3:05 PM :: 1799 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Taxes

Was 2018 Hawaii Legislature a success?

From Grassroot Institute, May 4, 2018

This year’s legislative session has ended and our legislators are proud.

At this week’s “Legislative Wrap-Up,” House Speaker Scott Saiki said, “This has been the most productive session that I’ve been involved with.”

Lest there be any doubt about what he meant, Saiki added that after passing last year’s rail tax hike, he feels like “the Legislature can do anything.”

I suggest we take a moment to consider whether this confidence and satisfaction in legislative productivity are good things.

It was clear that Saiki’s sense of a “productive session” could be measured largely in the bills pushed through this year — especially bills that might have once been difficult to pass.

The proposed education surcharge is likely to end up on the ballot in November. The sunscreen ban went to Gov. David Ige’s desk, as did an appropriation for homeless camps. Sections of the Affordable Care Act were preserved as state law. Kauai will be moving to all-mail voting. The minimum-wage bill failed, but a study for establishing paid sick leave passed. The budget was passed with a spending increase of $327 million.

And that’s just a sample of the legislation passed this session.

Saiki and others at the wrap-up were happy at how well the legislators worked together this session, but that’s not the point of the legislative process.

Our legislative process is intended to be adversarial in nature. Disagreement is fundamental to revealing the flaws and unintended consequences of a bill. The ideal is not a system where everyone is ideologically aligned and proposals move quickly and painlessly towards passage. Compromises, bills that fail and unsolvable disputes are proof that legislators are taking their jobs seriously and giving full attention to the details and implications of a proposal.

Perhaps part of the problem stems from the fact that we call them “lawmakers,” implying that their job is to get more laws passed. It would be better if we could call them something closer to “law evaluators.”

The best measure of legislative productivity is not how many controversial proposals you can get enacted. If that were the case, the most productive legislator in the world would be a tyrannical dictator.

A productive legislative session should be one where rigorous examination of a bill’s cost, consequences and constitutionality takes precedence over its popularity or the drive to pass it. There should be more willingness to shelve a bill or let it die in committee.

When the goal is to fully weigh the legislation, a failed bill is a success in its own way.

The idea that Saiki feels that the Legislature “can do anything” speaks well to his enthusiasm, but it worries me. And it should worry every citizen who has seen how often “anything” translates into tax increases and large spending projects.

A great government is not necessarily known for what it can do. It should also be known for what it does not do.

E hana kākou (Let's work together!),

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii


Affordable Hawaii Coalition


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Copenull

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii