Hawaii legislature improperly approved constitutional amendment allowing CJ to call retired judges back into service, corrects error

I mentioned back in early April Hawaii’s SB 650, a constitutional amendment that would allow the state’s chief justice to call retired judges and justices back into service after retirement.

The bill had met with some opposition. The original bill passed by the Senate 25-0 on March 6 allowed judges to be recalled to serve as “mentors”. That language was amended out by the House, which then went on to approve the modified version on a voice vote. The Senate approved the House change on April 12 and gave what should have been final approval, again unanimously, on April 13.

The problem appears to have been with the House passage. Under the state’s constitution the final language was to have been sent to the governor 10 days prior to passage. The legislature sent that notice on April 10, thus the April 13 vote was premature. The Senate on April 20, figuring out the mistake, adopted SCR 176, requesting the Governor send the amendment back.

WHEREAS, article XVII, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution requires that the Legislature give the Governor at least ten days’ written notice of the final form of the proposed amendment prior to the final reading of the proposed amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution; and

WHEREAS, notice of the final form of Senate Bill No. 650, H.D. 1, was transmitted to the Governor on April 10, 2012, and the ten days pursuant to article XVII, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution has not yet expired; and

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2012, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Governor of the State of Hawaii is requested to return Senate Bill No. 650, H.D. 1, to the Senate for proper correction…

The House approved the resolution as well and the Governor returned SB 650 on April 24.

The Senate then readopted the amendment, again unanimously, May 1. The House must now re-pass the amendment for it to go onto the ballot.

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