iâ€™ve just finished reading through the proposed changes to the state constitution.Â for some reason, i thought there were more.Â oh well.
while understanding the language of the proposed changes was simpler than expected it to be, iâ€™m still left scratching my head a bit.Â they may seem like simple yes or no questions to some, but i think making changes to the state constitution is a big deal, not to be taken lightly, so i will be pondering these proposals for a while.Â i thought i would take this opportunity to give some of my thoughts on each of the four and, i hope, have a chance to hear what others might think.
constitutional question no. 1
“shall the governor be required to select board of regents candidates from a pool of qualified candidates screened and proposed by a candidate advisory council for the board of regents of the university of hawaii as provided by law?”
to be honest, iâ€™m not sure i care one way or another.Â i canâ€™t think if a reason why it would make much difference?Â the way i understand it, the only difference the proposed change would make is that the governor would be required to choose from a list of candidates approved by the advisory council.Â the senate would still have advice and consent authority.Â maybe i donâ€™t understand well enough how the system works now to see how this would really affect things.Â pros?Â cons?Â anyone?
constitutional question no. 2
“shall the constitution be amended to provide for a salary commission to review and recommend salaries for justices, judges, state legislators, the governor, the lieutenant governor, the administrative director of the state, state department heads or executive officers of the executive departments, and the deputies or assistants to department heads of the executive departments, excluding the superintendent of education and the president of the university of hawaii?”
once again, it seems to me that the only change here is that all the current salary commissions would be combined into one.Â some questions readily come to mind.Â would all the members of the new commission have the expertise and experience to suggest salaries across a range of public professions?Â would various members of the current committees be pooled into the new singular commission?Â how would this commission be formed; by appointment from the governor?Â lastly, iâ€™m not sure what i think about the provision saying the legislature would have to accept or reject the entire salary proposal in bulk.
constitutional question no. 3
“shall the mandatory retirement age of seventy for all state court justices and judges be repealed?”
this seems like a no brainer to me.Â seventy isnâ€™t what it used to be and if there are justices that reach that age, but still want to sit on the bench, i donâ€™t think the law should require their removal.
constitutional question no. 4
“shall the constitution of the state of hawaii be amended to provide that in continuous sexual assault crimes against minors younger than fourteen years of age, the legislature may define:
(1) what behavior constitutes a continuing course of conduct; and
(2) what constitutes the jury unanimity that is required for a conviction?”
i suspect this will be (is?) a hot button issue and of the four, i tend to feel this is the most complicated.Â while i donâ€™t think anyone would argue that the continued sexual assault of a minor isnâ€™t a horrible thing, i think question no. 4 puts us on a slippery slope.Â of course its despicable, but iâ€™m not sure how i feel about making is easier to convict them.Â the system is in place for a reason and while sexual predators may be criminals (is there an argument that they are â€˜sickâ€™ or â€˜mentally illâ€™ and should get treatment rather than a prison sentence?), i get very nervous about the idea of making it easier for the state to prosecute anyone.Â then thereâ€™s the fact that the hawaii supreme court has already ruled on this issue, not once, but twice.Â while i donâ€™t know that i automatically default to the state supreme court position, but i was already skeptical before i read the bit about the hawaii supreme court decisions.Â this is an issue that i think requires more discussion and while i think donâ€™t think the other three questions are of supreme importance, iâ€™m a bit concerned that i havenâ€™t heard anything about this question in the media.Â is anyone else concerned about this question?Â or am i just paranoid?
Constitutional Question No. 5
“Shall the State be authorized to issue special purpose revenue bonds and use the proceeds from the bonds to assist agricultural enterprises serving important agricultural lands?”
wouldn’t be nice to see the stateÂ support something other than the real estate and movie industries?Â i have to admit that i don’t really understand the whole bond process, but it seems to me that any assistance the state can give to the agricultural industry here would beÂ a good thing.Â my only concern, however, is those who would benefit the most would be agrabusiness in hawaii, rather than small and local farmers.Â but i don’t know that that would be anything new, however.Â my instincts tell me this would be a good thing, but i’ve been known to be wrong in the past.
so, there they are, hopefully others will have more insightful comments than i.