The Hawaii Constitution was framed by a Constitutional Convention under Act 334, Session Laws of Hawaii 1949. It was adopted by the people at the election held on November 7, 1950, and was deemed amended when three propositions submitted to the people in accordance with the Act of Congress approved March 18, 1959, 73 Stat 4, Public Law 86-3, were adopted by the people at the election held on June 27, 1959. As so amended, it was accepted, ratified, and confirmed by Congress by the Act of March 18, 1959. It went into effect on August 21, 1959, upon the issuance of a presidential proclamation admitting the state of Hawaii into the Union.

The Constitution has since been amended a number of times in accordance with proposals adopted by the legislature or by constitutional convention and ratified by the people. The source of these amendments is indicated in the source notes immediately following the text of the amended or new section.

Revision Note

On November 7, 1978, amendments to the Constitution proposed by the Constitutional Convention of 1978 were presented to the electorate for its approval. The Lieutenant Governor's computer report showed that all of the proposed amendments passed by the necessary constitutional margin. However, the Supreme Court of Hawaii in Kahalekai v. Doi, 60 H. 324, 590 P.2d 543 (1979), held that a number of the proposed amendments were not validly ratified. The revisor has deleted from the Constitution these invalid amendments and added explanatory notes to the sections concerned. This deletion has been done under the authority of Resolution No. 29 of the 1978 Constitutional Convention authorizing the revisor "to effect such necessary rearrangement, renumbering and technical changes of the sections within the articles of the State Constitution, as may be affected, for proper form and arrangement and proper order in the State Constitution in the event that any or some of the amendments to the State Constitution proposed by the Constitutional Convention of Hawaii of 1978 are not ratified by the electorate."

In addition to the abovementioned amendments, removed from the text of the Constitution, there appear to be other proposed amendments that may have failed of ratification. A number of unspecified amendments, involving technical, stylistic, and incidental changes, were submitted for approval by the electorate under Question 34. As to these, the Court stated:

The question of whether any amendment submitted for approval by Question No. 34 was in fact approved ... dependents on its effect upon substantive law. If the amendment is purely stylistic and technical in nature, and does not alter the sense, meaning or effect of any provision of the Constitution, it was approved by the electorate and has become a part of the revised Constitution. On the other hand, if the amendment alters the sense, meaning or effect of any provision of the Constitution, it was not ratified and is not effective to change the language of the Constitution. Obviously, we are not now in a position to make these line by line determinations.

The revisor does not consider that the authority granted under Resolution No. 29 embraces the elimination of proposed amendments as having failed of ratification where the issue has not been adjudicated. Thus the text of the Constitution includes all the proposed amendments submitted for ratification under Question 34. As an aid to the readers, however, an attempt has been made to identify all such amendments--except those obviously purely technical and stylistic and clearly nonsubstantive (which have been ratified)--and explanatory notes have been appended thereto.


Federal Constitution Adopted

Article I Bill of Rights

  1. Political power
  2. Rights of individuals
  3. Equality of rights
  4. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition
  5. Due process and equal protection
  6. Right to privacy
  7. Searches, seizures and invasion of privacy
  8. Rights of citizens
  9. Enlistment; segregation
  10. Indictment; preliminary hearing, double jeopardy; self-incrimination
  11. Grand jury counsel
  12. Bail; excessive punishment
  13. Trial by jury, civil cases
  14. Rights of accused
  15. Habeas corpus and suspension of laws
  16. Supremacy of civil power
  17. Right to bear arms
  18. Quartering of soldiers
  19. Imprisonment for debt
  20. Eminent domain
  21. Limitations of special privileges
  22. Construction
  23. Marriage
  24. Public access to information concerning persons convicted of certain offenses against children and certain sexual offenses
  25. Sexual assault crimes against minors

Article II Suffrage and Elections

  1. Qualifications
  2. Disqualification
  3. Residence
  4. Registration; voting
  5. Campaign fund, spending limit
  6. Campaign contributions limits
  7. Resignation from public office
  8. General, special and primary elections
  9. Presidential preference primary

Article III The Legislature

  1. Legislature power
  2. Composition of senate
  3. Composition of house of representatives
  4. Election of members; term
  5. Vacancies
  6. Qualifications of members
  7. Privileges of members
  8. Disqualifications of members
  9. Salary; allowances; commission on legislative salary
  10. Sessions
  11. Adjournment
  12. Organization; discipline; rules; procedure
  13. Quorum; compulsory attendance
  14. Bills; enactment
  15. Passage of bills
  16. Approval or veto Reconsideration after adjournment
  17. Procedures upon veto
  18. Punishment of nonmembers
  19. Impeachment

Article IV Reapportionment

  1. Reapportionment years
  2. Reapportionment commission
  3. Chief election officer
  4. Apportionment among basic island units
  5. Minimum representation for basic island units
  6. Apportionment within basic island units
  7. Election of senators after reapportionment
  8. Staggered terms for the senate
  9. Congressional redistricting for United States house of representatives
  10. Mandamus and judicial review

Article V The Executive

  1. Establishment of the executive
  2. Lieutenant governor
  3. Compensation: governor, lieutenant governor
  4. Succession to governorship; absence or disability of governor
  5. Executive powers
  6. Executive and administrative offices and department

Article VI The Judiciary

  1. Judicial power
  2. Supreme court; intermediate appellate court; circuit courts
  3. Appointment of justices and judges Qualifications for appointment
    Tenure; compensation; retirement
  4. Judicial selection commission
  5. Retirement; removal; discipline
  6. Administration
  7. Rules

Article VII Taxation and Finance

  1. Taxing power inalienable
  2. Income taxation
  3. Tax review commission
  4. Appropriations for private purposes prohibited
  5. Expenditure controls
  6. Disposition of excess revenues
  7. Council on revenues
  8. The budget
  9. Legislative appropriations; procedures; expenditure ceiling General fund expenditure ceiling
  10. Auditor
  11. Lapsing of appropriation
  12. Definitions; issuance of indebtedness
  13. Debt limit; exclusions

Article VIII Local Government

  1. Creation; powers of political subdivisions
  2. Local self-government; charter
  3. Taxation and finance
  4. Mandates; accrued claims
  5. Transfer of mandated programs
  6. Statewide laws

Article IX Public Health and Welfare

  1. Public health
  2. Care of handicapped persons
  3. Public assistance
  4. Economic security of the elderly
  5. Housing, slum clearance, development and rehabilitation
  6. Management of state population growth
  7. Public sightliness and good order
  8. Preservation of a healthful environment
  9. Cultural resources
  10. Public safety

Article X Education

  1. Public education
  2. Board of education
  3. Power of the board of education
  4. Hawaii education program
  5. University of Hawaii
  6. Board of regents; powers

Article XI Conservation, Control and Development of Resources

  1. Conservation and development of resources
  2. Management and disposition of natural resources
  3. Agricultural lands
  4. Public land banking
  5. General laws required; exceptions
  6. Marine resources
  7. Water resources
  8. Nuclear energy
  9. Environmental rights
  10. Farm and home ownership

Article XII Hawaiian Affairs

  1. Hawaiian Homes Commission Act
  2. Acceptance of compact
  3. Compact adoption; procedures after adoption
  4. Public trust
  5. Office of Hawaiian Affairs; establishment of board of trustees
  6. Powers of board of trustees
  7. Traditional and customary rights

Article XIII Organization; Collective Bargaining

  1. Private employees
  2. Public employees

Article XIV Code of Ethics

Article XV State Boundaries; Capital; Flag; Language and Motto

  1. Boundaries
  2. Capital
  3. State flag
  4. Official languages
  5. Motto

Article XVI General and Miscellaneous Provisions

  1. Civil service
  2. Employees' retirement system
  3. Disqualifications from public office or employment
  4. Oath of office
  5. Intergovernmental relations
  6. Federal lands
  7. Compliance with trust
  8. Administration of undisposed lands
  9. Tax exemption of federal property
  10. Hawaii national park
  11. Judicial rights
  12. Quieting title
  13. Plain language
  14. Titles, subtitles; construction
  15. General power
  16. Provisions are self-executing

Article XVII Revision and Amendment

  1. Methods of proposal
  2. Constitutional convention Election of delegates
    Organization; procedure
    Ratification; appropriations
  3. Amendments proposed by legislature
  4. Veto
  5. Conflicting revisions or amendments

Article XVIII Schedule

  1. Districting and apportionment
  2. 1978 Senatorial elections
  3. Salaries of legislators
  4. Effective date for term limitations for governor and lieutenant governor
  5. Judiciary: transition; effective date
  6. Effective date and application of real property tax transfer
  7. 1978 Board of education elections
  8. Effective date for Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  9. Continuity of laws
  10. Debts
  11. Residence, other qualifications