HAWAII LEGISLATORS' HANDBOOK
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTIONS AND CERTIFICATES
Resolutions adopted by the Legislature do not have the force and effect of law as do bills that are enacted. Nevertheless, they are important in that they are vehicles for conveying legislative policy and intent. Two types of resolutions are currently used by the Hawaii Legislature, concurrent resolutions and single house resolutions. (House Rules 33.1, 39.3, 39.4; Senate Rule 60) In recent years, however, both houses began using certificates, in lieu of resolutions, to convey congratulatory and commemorative messages.
Both types of resolutions must be submitted in the form and in the number of copies as may be required by rule (House Rule 33.1; Senate Rule 60). All resolutions, excepting congratulatory resolutions introduced in the House (House Rule 39.3), are printed and distributed in the same manner as bills introduced. Upon adoption, resolutions are transmitted to the specific individuals, officers, agencies, or other concerned parties cited in the resolutions. Copies of adopted resolutions for such transmittals are certified by the presiding officer and Clerk of either or both houses. Unlike bills, resolutions offered during an odd-numbered session do not carry over to the next session.
Certificates do not require floor action and are not printed and distributed in the same manner as bills and resolutions. Certificates are prepared individually for presentation to the person or organization cited in the certificate.
For additional information as to procedures for drafting and introducing concurrent resolutions, single-house resolutions, and certificates, see the latest editions of the Hawaii Legislative Drafting Manual, the House Staff Manual and the Senate Staff Manual.
Concurrent resolutions are used to state officially the position of the Legislature on an issue or to request action formally without having to mandate it by law. Typically, concurrent resolutions may urge the United States Congress, the Governor, or a state agency to take a particular action or to study a problem. However, there are occasions when the Legislature is required by law to adopt a concurrent resolution for particular actions, such as the adoption of a state functional plan (HRS ß226-20) or the authorization to lease submerged land (HRS ß171-53).
Although concurrent resolutions can be voted upon and adopted immediately upon introduction, they are usually referred to a standing committee for consideration and recommendations. Voting usually occurs after the concurrent resolution is reported from a committee, which recommends adoption of the measure.
Concurrent resolutions require passage on a single reading in each house. After a concurrent resolution is adopted by the house of origin, it is transmitted to the other house for consideration. The second house usually follows a procedure similar to that in the house of origin, often referring the concurrent resolution to a committee for consideration. Concurrent resolutions must be adopted by both houses to become an official statement of the Legislature. If the measure is amended by the second house, it must be returned to the house of origin for its concurrence. On occasion, concurrent resolutions may also be referred to a conference committee.
Single House Resolutions
Single house resolutions are used to state the position of the Senate or House, as the case may be, or to request some action, such as a study by an agency. As such, single house resolutions only require passage by the house of origin on a single reading to be rendered an official statement of that house. In the House, single house resolutions are also used to offer congratulations or condolences. Generally, congratulatory resolutions are introduced and acted upon only during floor presentations and condolence resolutions require the approval of the Speaker of the House before the Clerk will accept such measures for filing and subsequent floor action. The Senate expressly prohibits the introduction of congratulatory, commemorative, or memorial resolutions (Senate Rule 60). Like concurrent resolutions, single house resolutions, except those in the House for congratulatory or condolence purposes, are usually referred to standing committees for consideration and recommendation for floor action.
As the Senate prohibits the introduction of congratulatory, commemorative, and memorial resolutions, such expressions of sentiment may be made by means of a suitable certificate. (Senate Rule 60) The House permits the issuance of congratulatory certificates as authorized by the Speaker. (House Rule 44.3) Certificates to express condolences are usually not prepared in the House. Instead, the preparation of formal and personalized letters of condolence on official House stationery is encouraged.
The use of certificates has resulted in less paper processing and savings in valuable floor time for the more substantive business of the Legislature. Moreover, the certificates, which are individually typed on official parchment forms designed for framing, are more impressive than a printed resolution and can be issued at any time, even during the interim periods between session, since floor action is not required.
The language used in certificates can be drafted by any person or agency using the format used for resolutions; however, legislative staff should check with the Clerk's office or the Majority Office of the particular house for details as to the current procedures for preparing and presenting certificates in the respective house.
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