LEGISLATIVE SERVICE AGENCIES AND OFFICES
Although Hawaii's Legislature is technically a part-time legislature, over the years it has developed into a year-round operation as it is involved in a substantial amount of research, organizational and program planning, and committee activity even during the interim periods. There are a number of agencies and offices that provide assistance to the Legislature. The Office of the Auditor, the Office of the Legislative Reference Bureau, and the Ombudsman are nonpartisan agencies that provide research, investigative, and information services to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. In addition to these agencies, each house has various administrative offices that provide for its daily operational needs and partisan research offices that provide research assistance to the members of majority and minority parties. Part I describes those staff offices that are a part of the respective houses of the Legislature. Part II describes the legislative service agencies that, while not formally a part of the respective houses of the Legislature, provide services to all legislators on a nonpartisan basis.
Offices of the House and Senate Clerks
The Clerks' offices of each house of the Legislature are staffed by permanent employees and handle many if not most of the day-to-day administrative functions of their respective houses. Each serves as the primary focal point for processing the many bills, resolutions, committee reports, and other types of communications drafted by or otherwise submitted to the respective legislative houses. (Senate Rule 6, 7; House Rule 5, 6) In the House, for example, the Clerk's office is responsible for managing and supervising floor action; preparing legislation for permanent recording; coordinating the routing of bills and resolutions; helping process floor amendments; cataloging, classifying, and indexing documents for future reference; preparing bills in final form for transmittal to the Governor; and preparing resolutions passed in official form for the Speaker's signature.
In the Senate Clerk's Office, similar activities take place for all critical points along the legislative process: maintaining bill and resolution jackets and corresponding committee reports, hearing notices, faxing notices to requesting individuals and organizations, and handling overall administrative operations of the Senate.
The Printshops are generally open for business only during the session. During session interested persons may obtain free copies of bills and resolutions by contacting the respective House or Senate Printshops. The respective Clerk's offices respond to requests for copies of bills and resolutions during the interim.
House and Senate Sergeants-at-Arms
The Sergeant-at-Arms of each house maintains order and decorum during sessions and provides other services such as mail and messenger service, and coordinates building security for legislative members and staff. The services performed by the Sergeants-at-Arms for their respective houses include collecting testimony for legislative committees at a curbside drop-off area; helping staff obtain signatures for bills, duplicating office keys for staff members with an authorized request form, preparing committee name plates for public hearings, providing access to photocopying machines, providing property management and supply inventory control, purchasing office equipment and supplies (the Senate has a separate supply office), and scheduling conference room assignments. (Senate Rule 9, 10; House Rule 8, 9)
Other Staff Offices Serving Each House
Members of the House of Representatives and Senate receive support from several other legislative offices in addition to the Senate and House Clerks, and the respective Sergeants-at-Arms. These offices include the House and Senate Printshops, Accounting Office, Data Systems Office, and the like. (Senate Rule 11, 12; House Rule 10)
Both houses maintain an accounting office for the maintenance of personnel records, payroll, paying vendors' invoices and the like. Each house also maintains a data systems office, or computer and data entry office, with personnel responsible for the operations and updating of the many bills, resolutions, committee reports, and search services maintained in electronic form. These offices provide staff training and other help on the Legislature's computer system and also help to ensure the smooth running of all Senate and House offices for the benefit of staff, elected officials, and the public.
Partisan Staff Offices
Each house has a majority staff office which provides varied research services to the majority members of that house and a minority office which renders similar services to the minority members. These offices generally operate on a year-round basis although, for many of these offices, some personnel are hired only during the session. Legislators desiring more information as to the services offered by these offices should inquire with the presiding officer or the caucus leadership of their respective house.
Office of the Auditor (See HRS ßß23-1 to 23-12)
Appointment; Term of Office - The Office of the Auditor is a legislative service agency, headed by the Auditor. The Auditor is appointed by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature in joint session. The Auditor serves for a period of eight years unless removed by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature in joint session. (Hawaii Const. art. VII, ß10; HRS ß23-2)
Responsibilities - The Auditor is responsible for conducting postaudits of the programs, performance, transactions, and all books and accounts of all departments, offices, and agencies of the State and its political subdivisions. The postaudits and examinations of financial administration must be conducted at least once every two years after the close of a fiscal year, and at other times as deemed necessary or as may be required by the Legislature. (HRS ßß23-4, 91-4.1)
The Hawaii Regulatory Licensing Reform Act, commonly referred to as the sunset law (HRS ch. 26H) provides for the program evaluation of any professional or vocational regulatory program enacted after July 1, 1994. This evaluation by the Auditor must be completed before the repeal of the program at the end of the third full calendar year following the program's enactment. These evaluations assess whether or not the regulatory program complies with the policies established under the sunset law and whether public interest requires that the chapter be reenacted, modified, or permitted to expire. The Auditor is required to make recommendations for improving the regulatory program evaluated, including proposing draft legislation which is prepared with the help of the Legislative Reference Bureau. (HRS ß26H-5)
The sunset law also requires that any measure which proposes to regulate an unregulated profession or vocation being considered by the Legislature for enactment be sent to the Auditor for an analysis to ascertain the probable effects of regulation and whether enactment would be consistent with the policies in the sunset law. (HRS ß26H-6)
Another responsibility of the Auditor concerns mandatory health insurance coverage. Before consideration of any legislative measure that mandates health insurance coverage for specific health services, specific diseases, or for certain providers of health care services as part of individual or group health insurance policies, the Legislature must refer the issue to the Legislative Auditor for a social and financial assessment of the proposed health insurance coverage. (HRS ßß23-51 to 23-52)
Since 1990 the Auditor is also responsible for analyzing the probable effects of all bills that propose to establish new special or revolving funds. The clerk of each house is directed to transmit to the Auditor within five days after the deadline for the introduction of bills all bills proposing new special or revolving funds. The Auditor's analysis is due no later than 30 days before the adjournment of the session. (HRS ß23-11)
In 1993 the Auditor was granted the responsibility to review revolving and trust funds established to provide services rendered by any state department or establishment to other state departments or establishments or to any political subdivision of the State. Among other things the Auditor reviews whether the intent and purpose of each fund meets its stated and claimed purposes. Each executive department, including the University of Hawaii and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, is reviewed every five years on a rotating basis beginning 1994. (HRS ß23-12)
Powers - To carry out its duties, the Auditor has the power to examine the documents and financial affairs of every department, office, agency, and political subdivision. The Auditor also has the authority to require the production of records and documents by persons with custody of the documents. (HRS ß23-5)
The Auditor must report any irregularities discovered by the Auditor's investigations to the Legislature or any interim committee in existence, the Governor, and the council of the county concerned. (HRS ß23-7)
At each regular session of the Legislature, the Auditor must submit a report to the Legislature of the audits and examinations conducted by the Auditor's Office, the findings of the investigations, and the recommendations resulting from the findings. (HRS ß23-9)
Legislative Advisory Committee (See HRS ßß23-61 to 23-67)
In 1989, the Legislature abolished the Legislative Scientific Advisory Committee and Legislative Economic Advisory Council, and established a Legislative Advisory Committee. (Act 165, SLH 1989) The fifteen-member committee, except for its co- chairpersons, is made up of professionals representing a broad spectrum of the scientific, financial, economic, business, and academic communities who are skilled in factual inquiry and dispute resolution. The committee is placed within the Office of the Auditor for administrative purposes. The members are appointed jointly by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, in consultation with the party leaderships of their respective houses, from a list of thirty names submitted by the Ombudsman, the Auditor, and the Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau. The chairpersons of the legislative management committees of both houses are designated as the co-chairpersons.
The Legislative Advisory Committee was established to provide the Legislature with the necessary resource experts to assist it in making judicious decisions on legislation involving technical matters. The Committee responds to requests for information from the Legislature within guidelines established by the legislative management committees. It is required to establish ad hoc panels of experts to clarify policy issues where facts are in dispute and present the clarified policy questions to the Legislature for resolution. Committee members are appointed to serve three-year terms.
Office of the Legislative Reference Bureau (See HRS ßß23G-1 to 23G-20)
Establishment and Responsibilities - The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) was first established in 1943 as a research agency at the University of Hawaii "...for the use of the members of the legislature, the governor and the various departments, institutions, and agencies of the State..." (Act 91, SLH 1943) In 1972, the Legislative Reference Bureau was transferred from the University of Hawaii to the Legislature. The functions of the LRB under the Legislature remained substantially the same except that the LRB's services were no longer available directly to the Governor and other state agencies and the functions of statute revision and controlling and maintaining a legislative data processing program were added. (Act 171, SLH 1972)
The LRB was given additional responsibilities by the 1996 Legislature, namely, in the administration of the operations of the Public Access Room (HRS ß23G-3; Act 174) and the preparation of appropriate voter education material upon the certification of any bill which sets forth a question for vote by the electorate. (HRS ß11-2(e); Act 173)
The Director of the LRB is appointed by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature in joint session for a term of six years. By a two-thirds vote of the members, the Legislature may remove or suspend the Director for neglect of duty, misconduct, or disability. (HRS ß23G-1)
The purposes of the Office of the Legislative Reference Bureau, as provided by law (HRS ß23G-3), are to:
1. Provide a comprehensive research and reference service on legislative problems for the Legislature;
2. Conduct impartial research, including legal research, as may be necessary for the enactment of substantive legislation, upon request by the Legislature, legislative committees, or legislators, or on its own initiative;
3. Disseminate its research findings to the Legislature on all research projects undertaken upon the request of the Legislature or legislative committee;
4. Secure reports of various officers and boards of the State and as far as may be of the states and of the other territories of the United States and such other material, periodicals, or books as will furnish the fullest information practicable upon all matters pertaining to current or proposed legislative problems;
5. Secure information for the Legislature, legislative committees, and legislators by cooperating with the legislative reference services in the states and with the legislative service conference maintained by the Council of State Governments;
6. Maintain a reference library for use by the Legislature and legislative service agencies. Subject to the priorities established by the Director, reference materials may be made available to the various departments and agencies of the State and the general public;
7. Draft or aid in drafting bills, resolutions, memorials, and amendments thereto, including committee reports, for the Legislature, legislative committees, and legislators when requested;
8. Control and maintain the operations of any legislative data processing program as may be established;
9. Serve, upon request, in an advisory capacity to the Legislature and its committees on all matters within its competencies and responsibilities;
10. Assist, upon request, legislative service agencies on matters within its competency; and
11. Perform the function of statute revision and publication of session laws, supplements, and replacement volumes.
12. Coordinate the preparation of voter materials to educate voters on any question that will be put to a vote by the electorate.
13. Provide programs and services to facilitate citizen participation in legislative proceedings through the public access room.
The LRB performs these functions for the Legislature on a full-time, year-round basis with a staff consisting of legal, research, library, computer, and clerical personnel.
Research - The research function is performed through services such as bill drafting, the conduct of interim studies, and responding to inquiries concerning Hawaii's laws and programs and other matters of concern to the Legislature. In performing its research function, the LRB works cooperatively with agencies at all levels of government, legislative service agencies of other states, and national organizations such as the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Statute Revision - In performing the function of statute revision, the LRB (1) publishes the session laws, the supplements to the Hawaii Revised Statutes, and any replacement volumes of the Hawaii Revised Statutes; (2) reviews annotations to the Hawaii Revised Statutes; (3) continuously revises the statutes; (4) publishes the Hawaii Administrative Rules Directory and supplements thereto; (5) prepares rules of format to be followed by all state agencies in compiling and publishing their rules and distributes copies of the rules format to all state agencies; and (6) reviews rules for format compliance. (HRS ß23G-22) Legislative Information Systems Office (LISO) - This function of the LRB maintains the HO'IKE computer system which contains online databases for bill status, the government libraries card catalogue, Governor's messages to the Legislature regarding appointments of board and commission members, and Hawaii appellate court decisions. The LISO staff also trains legislative staff in the use of the online databases, and provides assistance to legislative offices as well as the general public in locating and tracking various legislative measures introduced. In addition, a duplicating service is provided during the session to assist persons testifying on legislation in furnishing the requisite number of copies to be submitted to legislative committees.
Legislative Reference Bureau Library - The Legislative Reference Bureau Library provides information services and research support to the Legislature. The Library offers a core reference collection of state and federal documents. Its circulating collection contains reports and studies as well as books and periodicals on a wide range of topics of interest to the Legislature. The Library also maintains current and retrospective reference files of bills and resolutions introduced in the Legislature and newspaper clippings of selected articles from the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Most of the library's collection is catalogued in an online database (CARD) which includes the catalogues of the Supreme Court Law Library, the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism Library, and the Municipal Reference and Records Center of the City and County of Honolulu. Computer terminals for public use which access the CARD and other databases in the HO'IKE System are housed in the Library. Access to the online catalogues of the University of Hawaii libraries and the public library system are also available. The LRB librarians, upon submission of an online search request form by legislators or their staff, will conduct online searches of databases within LEGISNET (the National Conference of State Legislatures's online information system), ISIS (the Council of State Government's online information retrieval system), or DIALOG (the world's largest information retrieval service with over 350 databases). The LRB librarians also provide training for legislative staff in the use of the CARD, LEGISNET, and ISIS information systems. A FAX machine is available to legislative and other government offices. A coin-operated copier is available for the public but there is no copying charge for legislative offices.
Public Access Room - The Public Access Room (PAR) was first opened in 1991 in response to the growing desire of Hawaii's citizens to participate in and have an impact on the State Legislature's proceedings. Originally supported and staffed by community volunteers from public service organizations, the PAR has evolved into a fully-equipped, professionally-staffed, year- round office dedicated to providing a wide range of programs and services to maximize the effectiveness of citizens' efforts.
Founded upon the fundamental principles that (1) all citizens of a democracy have the right to participate in their governance, and (2) the effectiveness of any government is directly related to the ability of the governed to interact with it, the Public Access Room is committed to providing the information, training, and tools necessary for citizens to actively and effectively participate in the legislative process.
The Public Access Room is located on the fourth floor of the State Capitol and:
. Offers training in and answers questions about the Legislature's ACCESS computer information system, and on-line bulletin board system, ACCESS NET, and provides terminals in the room for the public to connect to both;
. Has electronic and hard copies of all bills, resolutions, committee hearing notices, committee reports, and floor journals from recent legislative sessions;
. Provides training on the legislative process, citizen lobbying, and testimony preparation;
. Coordinates conversations between legislators and students using videophone technology;
. Offers numerous handouts with helpful information on the Legislature;
. Offers courses for legislative staff to familiarize them with how the PAR can service their constituents;
. Provides a typewriter and computer for testimony preparation, a copier for testimony copying, reference materials, materials on citizen participation, a set of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, office equipment, and a bulletin board for community messages and notes;
. Provides the public a locale to hear audio broadcasts or view video broadcasts of legislative proceedings in the Capitol;
. Provides "mail" boxes which PAR users may sign up for, allowing them to (1) leave communications for other PAR users, and (2) store their paperwork or supplies;
. Has a TTY machine for the hearing-impaired.
The Ombudsman is the official who receives and investigates citizens' complaints against the government and its subdivisions. (HRS ß96-5) The Ombudsman is appointed by a majority of each house in joint session for a term of six years. (HRS ß96-2) Procedures for receiving and processing complaints, conducting investigations, and reporting findings are established by the Ombudsman. (HRS ß96-4) The Ombudsman has the authority to investigate the administrative acts of agencies and may exercise powers without regard to the finality of any administrative act. (HRS ß96-5) The Ombudsman may investigate any complaint that is determined to be an appropriate subject for investigation including administrative acts of an agency which might be: (HRS ß96-8)
2. Unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, or unnecessarily discriminatory, even though in accordance with law;
3. Based on a mistake of fact;
4. Based on improper or irrelevant grounds;
5. Unaccompanied by an adequate statement of reasons;
6. Performed in an inefficient manner; or
7. Otherwise erroneous.
The Ombudsman's investigation may also include the search for an appropriate remedy.
The Ombudsman reports opinions and recommendations to the agency investigated and may request that the agency notify the Ombudsman of any action taken on the recommendations. (HRS ß96-12) After a reasonable time, the Ombudsman may present opinions and recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature, and the public. (HRS ß96-13)
Office of the Legislative Analyst
The Office of the Legislative Analyst was established in 1990 (Act 347, SLH 1990) to provide the Legislature with its own fiscal analysis capability, independent of the executive branch. The Legislative Analyst is appointed for a four-year term by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee which was also created by Act 347. The duties of the Legislative Analyst, as provided by Act 347, are to provide:
2. Analysis of the Governor's revenue and expenditure plans and their impact for the next biennium;
3. Research on economic and fiscal policy;
4. Economic reports and studies on the State's economy;
5. Budget and tax studies and general fiscal and budgetary information;
6. Reviews of state programs for the purpose of appraising implementation of laws regarding expenditure of funds; and
7. Recommendations as to changes in the mix of revenue sources for programs, level of state expenditures for major programs, and role of the Legislature in overseeing state expenditures and revenue projections.
As of the publication deadline for this edition of the Handbook, no appointment was made for the position of the Legislative Analyst.
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