HONOLULU – In recognition of a Day of Remembrance for President John F. Kennedy, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered that the National Flag and Hawaii State Flag shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard from sunrise to sunset on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013.
President Barack Obama today proclaimed Friday as a Day of Remembrance and called for the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff. The presidential proclamation reads:
“A half century ago, America mourned the loss of an extraordinary public servant. With broad vision and soaring but sober idealism, President John F. Kennedy had called a generation to service and summoned a Nation to greatness. Today, we honor his memory and celebrate his enduring imprint on American history…”
By Jeff King
Gov. Neil Abercrombie plans to sign Senate Bill 1, “Relating to Marriage Equality,” in a unique ceremony today. “Unique” describes the event set for 10 a.m. in the Liliu Room at the Hawai’i Convention Center, in that it is an invitation-only event with invitations sent only to those who voted for and/or supported the measure.
The Hawai’i Senate passed the revised measure Tuesday in a 19-3 vote. SB1 HD1 was the modified version of the original measure. The revisions include exclusions for religious reasons that will allow denominations, organizations and ministers to refuse facilities and/or services to same-sex couples.
Hawai’i becomes the 15th state to permit same-sex marriage. Illinois voters passed a similar measure last week, but Gov. Pat Quinn says he has not yet chosen a date to sign their new state law.
In Hawai’i, legal action is likely to follow the signing by opponents seeking judicial remedies to overturn the decision. Republican Rep. Bob McDermott, who filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the special session, has said he will seek a restraining order to stop the legislation if Abercrombie signs the bill.
HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Senate overwhelmingly voted today to pass SB1 HD1 relating to equal rights. Immediately following the vote, both “sides” reacted.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie stated: “In Hawaii, we believe in fairness, justice and human equality. We embrace the Aloha spirit and respect one another. Today, we celebrate our diversity defining us rather than dividing us.
“I believe this bill provides equal rights for all people, is legally sound, and is in accord with the Hawaii State Constitution.
“I look forward to signing this significant piece of legislation, which provides marriage equity and fully recognizes and protects religious freedoms.”
Meanwhile, Kayla Berube, Executive Director of the Hawaii Republican Party, stated, “The Hawaii Republican Party appreciates that so many people, on both sides of this issue, passionately participated in the hearing process on this bill. However, what Hawaii witnessed during this special session was unprecedented – a democrat super majority side-stepped important issues like lowering the high cost of living for working class families or improving our keiki’s education, and instead pushed through controversial legislation in just ten days.
“Governor Abercrombie and the Democrat political elite decided that Hawaii’s people are unfit to vote on important issues. Citizens may have been denied the right to vote on this issue, but next November they will not be denied the opportunity to vote on who represents them.”
Governor Abercrombie is expected to signb the bill when it arrives on his desk. The new law will take effect December 2.
The two State Legislative committees tasked with listening to 57 hours of public testimony finally voted late Tuesday on the amended bill. The committee votes on Senate Bill 1 were as followed:
* Finance: 10 Ayes – 7 Noes. Zero excused.
* Judiciary: 8 Ayes – 5 Noes. Zero excused.
For a breakdown of votes by member, please see the SB1 bill page at: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indivSS.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=1&year=2013b
Gov. Neil Abercrombie and State Attorney General David Louie released the following statement regarding amendments to SB1: Relating to Equal Rights.
“The amendments outlined in House Draft 1 strike a balance between the bill that was introduced by the Legislature and concerns raised in written and oral testimony during public hearings.
“We support the principle that any measure on marriage equity must protect religious freedom, which the Legislature has clearly worked to achieve.
“The bill as amended is legally sound and is in accord with the Hawaii State Constitution.
“We urge the Legislature to pass this bill, which will provide marriage equity and fully recognize religious beliefs in that context.”
After five days of testimony, the House committees added and removed elements of the original Senate Bill. Today at 1 a.m., the full State House is expected to vote on the amended version. The bill would then have to return to the Senate to ratify the changes before heading to the governor’s desk.
If signed, the bill could take effect immediately. However, some in the Legislature are asking for a delay in implementation to allow community organizations, government agencies and businesses to make preparations for an anticipated deluge of response from same-sex couples wishing to legally marry in Hawai’i.
Tha Hawaii State Legislative branch has scheduled public testimony on Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposed “Marriage Equity” issue. A public hearing has been set for this Thursday, October 31, at 10 ma.m. in the Hawai’i State Capitol auditorium. The hearing will be jointly chaired by the House Budget and Finance Committee and the Committee on the Judiciary.
Testimony may be made in person, or electronically from anywhere in the state.
Due to the anticipated high number of testifiers, those who submit comments and plan to testify in-person will be assigned a registration number to indicate one’s place on the testifier list and speaking order. Please bring this number to the hearing.
The committee on Judiciary would like to hear from as many individuals as possible; therefore,
Oral testimony will be limited to 2 minutes. After approximately every 25 testifiers, committee members will be given the opportunity to ask questions of those previous 25 testifiers. It will not be necessary to wait to the end of the hearing to answer questions.
For more information please visit the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov . For assistance or additional information on the day of the hearing, please go to conveniently located House information desks on the Chamber level.
While every effort will be made to incorporate all testimony received, materials received on the day of the hearing or improperly identified or directed, may be distributed to the Committee after the hearing.
Submit testimony in ONE of the following ways:
PAPER: Original to the House Clerk’s Office (Room 027) in the State Capitol up until the day of the hearing; or
WEB: For testimony less than 10MB in size, log in and transmit from http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx .
Testimony submitted will be placed on the legislative website during or after the hearing adjourns. This public posting of testimony on the website should be considered when including personal information in your testimony.
If you require special assistance or auxiliary aids and/or services to participate in the House public hearing process (i.e., sign or foreign language interpreter or wheelchair accessibility), please contact the Committee Clerk at 586-6180 or email your request for an interpreter to HouseInterpreter@Capitol.hawaii.gov at least 24 hours prior to the hearing for arrangements. Prompt requests submitted help to ensure the availability of qualified individuals and appropriate accommodations.
Selected meetings are broadcast live. Check the current legislative broadcast schedule on the “Capitol TV” website at www.capitoltv.org or call 808-536-2100.
HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked the Hawaii State Legislature to expand the agenda for the upcoming special session to include measures relating to health services on Kauai and the funding of two recent collective bargaining agreements.
Along with a revised Marriage Equity Bill, the Governor today provided three additional measures addressing an emergency $2.5 million appropriation for Hawaii Health Systems Corporation services on Kauai and funding of collective bargaining agreements achieved with Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) Bargaining Units 10 and 13.
“In addition to convening the Legislature in special session to primarily consider marriage equity in Hawaii, there are several other items that require legislative attention,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These important matters include continuation of essential regional health care services on Kauai, as well as funding of two agreements reached in good faith with members of HGEA Bargaining Units 10 and 13.”
Nearly two months ago, the Governor’s Office shared an initial draft of a marriage equity bill with legislators, news media and the public – including posting it on the Governor’s website – to facilitate public input. The bill provided today to the Legislature includes several updates aimed at further balancing equal protection and religious freedom, based in part on input received from various stakeholders.
The bills are expected to be posted on the state Legislature website at: www.capitol.hawaii.gov
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