HAWAII LEGISLATORS' HANDBOOK

Chapter 11

RESEARCH SERVICES AND RESOURCES

The law-making functions of the Legislature encompass the processing of oftentimes overwhelming volumes of legislative materials and documents. A large number of legislative measures are introduced into the Legislature for consideration each legislative session. During the Regular Session of 1995, both houses of the Legislature introduced 4,305 bills, 651 concurrent resolutions, and 606 resolutions. (See Appendix F for a history of measures introduced in past sessions.) Although the number of bills in an even-numbered-year session is usually lower due to the carry-over of bills from the odd-numbered-year session, there were still 3,064 bills introduced during the Regular Session of 1996. The responsibility of reviewing, analyzing, and tracking legislative measures as they are processed by the Legislature is an enormous task. To assist legislators and their staffs in performing their duties, various services and publications are made available by the support offices of each house and the legislative service agencies.

Staff Manuals

Each house publishes a staff manual which contains information and guidelines as to legislative organization; staff roles; administrative procedures; daily session routines; committee operations and procedures; and procedures for the introduction, processing, and tracking of legislation. In 1996 the House Staff Manual was a five-volume set covering the following topics:

The Senate Staff Manual was a single publication outlining standard procedures, deadlines, and hints and suggestions for assuring smooth operation of a senator's office. Staff manuals can be obtained from the Senate Majority Office or the House Majority Staff Office.

These manuals are invaluable guides to staff members regarding their duties, responsibilities, and obligations to the legislative member and the public.

Research Services

The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) and the partisan research offices of each house (Senate Majority Office, Senate Minority Office, House Majority Staff Office, and House Minority Research Office) provide a wide range of research services to assist legislators in obtaining information, upon request. Research services are usually rendered upon request by an individual legislator or by a committee, although work during the interim, such as the conduct of a study on a particular issue or providing assistance to an interim committee, may also be requested through the adoption of resolutions during the preceding legislative session.

Drafting of Legislative Measures

The Legislative Reference Bureau publishes the Hawaii Legislative Drafting Manual which is used as the official guide for legislative drafting. With the aid of this Drafting Manual, the simple appropriation bills and congratulatory certificates and resolutions, can be drafted by any legislator, legislative staff, or private citizen. Bill drafting classes are offered by the majority staff offices and the Legislative Reference Bureau within a few days after session commences for both the Senate and House. The LRB also offers a bill drafting class to all state agencies during the interim through the Department of Human Resources Development. Even if a legislator prefers to have measures drafted by an office providing such service, the legislator's familiarity with the Drafting Manual and attendance at the bill drafting classes can be valuable in understanding the process of how an idea can be effectively transformed into proposed legislation.

Upon request by a legislator, assistance in the drafting of bills can be obtained from the Legislative Reference Bureau, which services both houses. Senators can also obtain assistance from the Senate Majority Office or the Senate Minority Office. Representatives can also seek assistance from the House Majority Staff Office and the House Minority Research Office. These agencies also assist legislators in the drafting of resolutions.

The departments of the executive branch usually draft all "administration bills", the bills proposed by the executive branch for consideration by the Legislature. Occasionally, legislators will request the Department of the Attorney General or another executive branch department to assist in the drafting of a particular measure for which the department may have special expertise or where there are peculiar legal concerns.

The Legislature has a unified bill text processing system, the SHADOW information system, within which all bills and resolutions introduced during a session are electronically recorded. Regardless of who drafts a bill or a resolution, certain guidelines must be followed to ensure that the measure is electronically recorded in the SHADOW system. Legislative staff are informed of guidelines and procedures through the training classes and manuals which are provided by each house for its staff.

Legislative Journals

Each house of the Legislature keeps an official record of its proceedings. The Journals are statements prepared by the Clerks and their staffs of all actions taken by their respective bodies. An accumulation of daily statements comprise the Journal. The Journals attempt to give a verbatim account of the debate conducted by the members of the particular body, and a concise account of the business transacted. (House Rule 5.2; Senate Rule 6(2)) Each day's Journal is typewritten and presented to the legislative body on the following day or as soon as practicable thereafter, for approval. After adjournment sine die, the Clerk of each house prepares the Journal of the entire session for printing, adding committee reports, financial statements, indexes, etc. The published Journals are distributed by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Supplies and Mail Distribution

Stationery, envelopes, and other writing materials and supplies are issued to each member by the staff of the member's house as the member requires them. The Senate and the House both have Supply Rooms to process requests for materials and to issue supplies.

Mail is distributed to each member, either to the member's desk or office, by the Sergeant-at-Arms and staff.

Laws

Each legislator is provided with a set of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), the codified general and permanent laws of the State. The HRS is a cumulative compilation of laws arranged by subject matter and title and chapter numbers. Volume 1 of the HRS also contains the United States Constitution, the Hawaii National Park Act, the Organic Act, the Admission Act, the Hawaii State Constitution, and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920. Every year, a set of cumulative supplements to the HRS is sent to each office. The cumulative supplements include all changes and additions made to the statutes in the main volumes and come in the form of pocket parts for easy insertion in the back of each main volume. The cumulative supplements to the HRS are usually published about four months after the deadline for the governor to sign bills into law (about six months after the adjournment of session).

In addition to the HRS, each legislator receives a copy of the Session Laws of Hawaii which is a compilation of all bills enacted and any proposed constitutional amendments passed during a legislative session. The bills are arranged according to act number and, unlike the HRS, the session laws contains all bills enacted, even those of a temporary nature (such as the budget act or a law establishing a two-year pilot program) which are not usually published in the HRS. The annual session laws publication is usually published about four months after the adjournment of session, which is about two months after the deadline for the governor to sign bills into law.

Both the HRS and the session laws are published by the Legislative Reference Bureau and distributed by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. (HRS ß23G-17)

Rules

Before a legislative session or soon after the commencement of the session, each member is given a copy of the rules of procedure under which the member's house operates. A copy of the rules which governed the 1995 and 1996 sessions can be found in Appendix C.

Digests of Bills Introduced

There are no formal provisions for the comprehensive digesting of legislative measures by the staffs of the respective houses in the Legislature. However, during the 1990 session, both houses agreed to require that all bills, except for appropriation and short form bills, introduced and recorded in the SHADOW system contain a description that would not exceed sixteen lines. Administration bills, upon introduction, often include digests and justification sheets which are prepared by the executive branch department or agency responsible for drafting the bills.

Brief descriptions of bills can also be obtained through the HO'IKE bill status database. The descriptions in this data base will reflect the latest version of the bill.

SHADOW Information System

The SHADOW information system is the computer system which houses the unified bill text processing system of the Legislature. The system also contains: (1) an office automation database within which letters, memoranda, reports, and other documents may be typed; (2) a bill status database which contains the current status of actions on bills and resolutions and is updated by the Clerk of each house; and (3) a text search and retrieval database of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and bills and resolutions introduced. Training classes for users of the SHADOW information system are conducted by each house for its respective staff.

HO'IKE Bill Status Database

During each session, the Legislative Reference Bureau's Legislative Information Systems Office (LISO) creates and maintains an online bill status database which contains a brief description and the current status of each bill and resolution introduced into the Senate and the House of Representatives. This database is contained in the HO'IKE computer system (explained in chapter 10) and is accessible through various HO'IKE terminals as well as through the SHADOW system via certain DEC terminals in the State Capitol. An individual can locate a bill or resolution relating to a particular subject matter by querying a database. The bill status database provides information such as the description of the latest version of the measure, the introducer, the title, the committees to which the measure was assigned, the current status, committee report numbers, the votes against passage on third and final reading of the bill or adoption of a resolution, and the sections of laws affected by a bill.

The data in the HO'IKE bill status database can be compiled in a variety of ways to create reports and listings of measures by introducer, subject matter, committee, type of floor action, etc., which can be of valuable assistance to a legislator in tracking legislative action. Hard copy printouts of information contained in the bill status database are available to the Legislature and can be obtained through LISO.

LISO conducts training classes on the use of the HO'IKE system for legislative staff prior to and during the early days of each regular session.

Listings of Bills Passed

Following the third reading deadline, the Legislative Information Systems Office publishes a listing of all bills that passed third reading and were transmitted to the second house. A few days after the end of session, a final listing of all bills passed by the Legislature and resolutions adopted by the Legislature is published. These listings are convenient checklists to use in tracking measures of particular interest to a legislator.

Printed Copies of Bills

During the session, each legislator will receive a set of all bills and resolutions introduced and all committee reports submitted. Additional copies of Senate bills can be obtained at the Senate printshop and House bills can be obtained at the House printshop. After the adjournment of a session sine die, copies of bills can be obtained through the Clerk's office of the respective house.

Copies of bills for the general public during session are available through the printshops at no cost. After the session free copies, with certain limitations, are available through the Clerk's office of the respective houses and copies for a fee are available through the State Archives or certain public libraries. A current list of places to obtain copies of bills and acts is included in the LRB's annual Digest of Bills Passed publication.

Compilation of Requests Made by the Hawaii Legislature

The Legislative Reference Bureau, within a few months after the adjournment of a session sine die, also prepares a compilation of requests made by the Legislature during the session to the agencies and officials of the federal, state, and county governments and to quasi-public and private agencies. The requests are usually in the form of studies on specific issues or requests for particular actions to be taken. The report contains short descriptions of the requests, which are usually made through resolutions and committee reports adopted during the legislative session. Also noted are the sources of the requests (resolution, bill, or committee report number), the names of individuals or agencies to whom the requests are directed, and the due dates when set by the Legislature. The publication contains a subject index as well as an index by requestee to facilitate research.

Legislative Reference Bureau Library Newsletters and Acquisition Lists

First Reading. Over the years, the research requirements of the Legislature have generated an increasing demand for better accessibility to the most recent data available on current issues and to the legislative activities of other states and the federal government. In response to this demand, the Legislative Reference Bureau Library has been acquiring new types of resources and providing new types of library services. In the past, announcements to legislators and staff of the availability of these resources and services were made through memoranda. In an effort to more effectively communicate the availability of its resources and services, the LRB Library began publishing a newsletter in August, 1990. The newsletter, entitled "First Reading", is published three times a year and is disseminated to the library's primary patrons: legislators, legislative staff, and the legislative service agencies. "First Reading" offers information regarding the library's services to legislators and patron policies, as well as updated information about the library's collection and new resource acquisitions. As the newsletter format was designed to provide a convenient reference on the LRB Library's resources and services, legislators and staff are encouraged to keep a file of all copies of the newsletter in their offices for easy referral.

The WEBster. This newsletter, produced in both print and electronic formats, was first issued in February, 1996. It's appearance coincides with the Bureau's Worldwide Website, created and maintained by the Library staff. The purpose of the site is to facilitate legislative research on the Web. The WEBster, a bimonthly, highlights important Web resources and technologies for the legislative researcher.

Selected Recent Acquisitions and Selected News Articles. These lists serve to inform the Legislature of relevant and timely new material added to the Library collection. Both are arranged by subject. Selected Recent Acquisitions highlights new books, reports, and studies. Material cited in Selected New Articles has been gathered from the most current periodical literature. Both are archived for six months on the Bureau's Web site.

Guide to Government in Hawaii and Directory of State, County, and Federal Officials

The Legislative Reference Bureau periodically publishes two very useful documents regarding government in Hawaii. The Guide to Government in Hawaii describes the various functions and responsibilities of agencies in state, county, and federal government in Hawaii and includes organizational charts. The Directory of State, County, and Federal Officials, the companion publication to the Guide, lists the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of key officials of the departments and agencies described in the Guide. The Directory is updated and published annually while the Guide is published in intervals of two to four years, depending on the extent of changes in government organization in Hawaii.

Hawaii Administrative Rules Directory

Hawaii does not have a publication, like the Code of Federal Regulations, containing all the administrative rules of state agencies. Administrative rules are best obtained by going directly to the agency responsible for adopting rules in a particular area. To facilitate identification of rules, the Legislative Reference Bureau publishes the Hawaii Administrative Rules Directory which contains listings, in table of contents format, of the administrative rules by agency and subject areas. Information as to how to obtain copies of administrative rules is also provided in the Rules Directory.

Table of Sections of the Statutory Sections Implemented

The Hawaii Administrative Rules, Table of Statutory Sections Implemented provides a listing of sections of the Hawaii Revised Statutes that are implemented or interpreted by agency rules. The corresponding administrative rules are indicated in the table next to each HRS section. This enables users to ascertain at a glance:

(1) Whether a statute is implemented or interpreted by agency rules; and

(2) If so, what those specific rules are.

How to Research Constitutional, Legislative, and Statutory History in Hawaii

In 1986, the Legislative Reference Bureau published a document entitled, How to Research Constitutional, Legislative, and Statutory History in Hawaii, to assist researchers in understanding what is involved in constitutional, legislative, and statutory research. The publication contains information describing the documents all legislative offices should be familiar with: the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Session Laws of Hawaii, and legislative journals. Readers are provided with explanations of how a bill becomes law; the process of tracking bills during session; how the history of a particular law in the Hawaii Revised Statutes can be traced; a few short cuts in legislative research; how to use the session laws and its tables; and the constitutional convention process.


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