homepage logo

Get active at the legislature

By Staff | Jan 29, 2021

Hawaii’s legislative session began last week Wednesday. While the Hawaii State Capitol is closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, you can still connect effectively with lawmakers and keep track of what’s going on.

The legislature recommends using phone calls and e-mails to reach out to senators and representatives with your views on pieces of legislation. Be concise and make sure to include the bill number when appropriate.

If you’re not aware of the wealth of information available on the legislature’s website at capitol.hawaii.gov, give the Public Access Room (PAR) a call — they’ll be happy to point out the highlights.

To find lists of all the bills introduced and the bills authored by a particular lawmaker, and to search for specific bills, try the “Reports and Lists” button on the homepage.

The 2021 session will provide the opportunity to testify remotely, and hearings are being both live-streamed and archived for later viewing.

According to PAR, “A silver lining to the building being closed is the opportunity to testify from your home, work, or wherever you may be.”

In addition to your written testimony that you can offer using the “Testimony” button on the legislature’s website, now you may offer remote comments at hearings that allow oral testimony.

Just indicate on the “Testimony” form that you would also like to offer testimony remotely via Zoom — if your request is accepted, you’ll be provided a Zoom link on your testimony page.

To bring citizens “into” the capitol, the hearings and informational briefings taking place this session are being live-streamed and archived (available “on-demand”). In addition, certain proceedings will be broadcast on television.

And finally, keep track of the deadlines at the legislature and whether bills don’t advance out of committees, essentially killing them for the year.

For information, contact PAR at (808) 587-0478 or par@capitol.hawaii.gov. They are ready to help you navigate what’s happening at the legislature and ensure your voice is heard.