From Andrew Namiki Roberts, Hawaii Firearms Coalition, Feb 10, 2019
Over the last few weeks Hawaii Firearms Coalition has been helping you the people submit testimony to the Hawaii state legislators.
We have been using our web site and the state e-mail system to do so.
It is with great sadness that I need to inform you that all of our work and yours was ignored. Now I don’t mean they heard us but chose not to listen. I mean they made a choice not to hear us at all.
The Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs has arbitrarily decided to not accept testimony submitted to it via e-mail. Ignoring the fact that the e-mail system is an approved and legitimate way to submit testimony. Ignoring the fact that we had confirmed with the Public Access (information) Room, the Senate Clerk’s office and the Committee Chair’s office itself that our testimony was being accepted. We even called the day before the hearings to enquire and were told it was being included.
We did not find out it was not included until the day of the hearings after the testimony was released to the public. The number of testimonies missing across the five bills is around 700, that means that the other members of the Committee were denied the ability to make an educated determination on the bills. They were not presented with the will of the people that they are representing. Your testimonies equated to around 75% of the total submissions. This means that the legislators made a determination of what Hawaii wants and what’s best for us the people whilst ignoring the opinions on 75% of the people.
I went to Senator Clarence K. Nishihara’s office (the committee chair) to find out what happened and why. What I was told shocked me beyond belief: This committee has been ignoring this official method of submitting testimonies for two legislative sessions. So not only have they ignored the approximately 700 submissions for these five bills but they could have ignored thousands more for dozens of other bills.
When asked why they do this I was told simply that this is just the way we do it. When I asked if it was noted anywhere I was told it was on the hearing notice. So we looked at the hearing notice and guess what, they lied. Although they do link to the legislative website to submit testimony, it’s the same website where it says you can e-mail testimony.
I asked for the Senator to call me to let me know what happened and he did. What he said was the comments we submitted would be added to the Committee report. This is the report generated AFTER the Committee hearing and shows its recommendations on the bill. Why would they add something to a report that was not used to determine the outcome of the report? This is what they did. The fact is that since 2018 this one legislator has made a choice not to hear testimonies submitted by e-mails and to not allow the other committee members to do so either.
Now what can we do?
Here are the three things:
Call and e-mail Senator Clarence K. Nishihara and let him know what you think.
Call and e-mail the Senate President and let him know what’s happened and ask him to intervene in stopping the progress of these bills due to the testimony not being handled correctly.
Senator Ronald D. Kouchi
Call and e-mail your representatives and let them know that your not happy. You can find your here https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx…
HNN: Hawaii rights group upset over hundreds of missing pieces of testimony "When the clerk saw that, he thought they were all spam or orphan emails so he just ignored them. That was a mistake. He shouldn't have done that," said Richard Rapoza, State Senate Director of Communications.
Link: Legislative webpage with list of committee email addresses to submit testimony (This includes the email address being ignored by PSM.)
Link: Discussion on ‘Stolen Stuff Hawaii’
Link: Discussion on Hawaii Firearms Coalition
Background: Hawaii: Five Anti-Gun Bills Introduced