Senator Ihara emailed the following response to our concerns about SB 126:
From: “Sen. Les Ihara, Jr.”
To: Doug Ritter
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 01:23:12 -1000
Subject: RE: SB 126
Doug: I am opposed to SB 126 and would vote against it if I ever voted on it. Because the Hawaii constitution allows only legislators to introduce bills, my policy has been to introduce bills on behalf of my constituents whenever requested. But if I cannot support a constituent bill, I sign it “by request” which signals to other senators that I am not requesting a public hearing for it. I believe this is a common view of many in the legislature, except for the senate president who introduce all Executive and Judiciary Branch bills “by request” though she may support some of them.
In my 22 years in the Hawaii Legislature, I have signed many constituent bills “by request”, but I may now reconsider this policy and possibly refuse to introduce a constituent’s bill in extreme situations (such as SB 126). Thank you for your inquiry and for helping to inspire the several hundred emails I received opposing SB 126. I am encouraged for our democracy by seeing so many people interested in public policy issues.
LES IHARA, JR.
Hawaii State Senator, 9th District
Senate Majority Policy Leader