Fiscal notes provide value for legislators and the public by forecasting revenue changes in proposed legislation. However, many times bills are introduced and voted on before the data on fiscal repercussions are made available to those voting on the bills. State officials can easily feign surprise at the state of the budget when it is obvious that the long-term budget forecasts have either been unseen or utterly disregarded. For more info, please click on the PDF below! (more)
“Honolulu, Hawaii—The Grassroot Institute applauds the House Minority Caucus for including fiscal note legislation in its 2011 legislative package. “House minority leader Gene Ward said the Republicans would ‘be the watchdogs for fiscal discipline and controlling government spending’ and ‘insist on a more open and accountable government, especially when it comes to finances and education’. (more)
On December 30, 2010 the Maui Tea Party and Maui Calabash group joined together and hosted an event featuring Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham County, Arizona. His presentation was about the eroding powers of individual states and local governments. It was the individual states that formed the federal government initially, with very limited and discreet powers. The Founders wrote a constitution for this new government to insure that we were to be governed by a limited entity, with strict parameters for its authority and power. (more)
Schools nationwide are taking advantage of virtual learning and the internet to improve education. The most successful ones allow students unrestricted access to online programs, so they can take high quality courses regardless of geographic location. Yet online education programs Hawaii lag far behind some of the better programs found on the Mainland. The Florida Virtual School (FLVS), for example, provides K-12 online education and has vastly improved test scores and achievement statewide. Florida’s virtual school students have not only demonstrated positive gains in education, but they have even out-performed their peers in traditional school settings and posted above-average test scores in advanced placement courses and mathematics. These improvements aren’t just relevant to Florida: They represent a pioneering example in virtual education for other states to follow. Hawaii should learn from these successes, to gather the best practices from effective models, and to implement these lessons now. (more)
In the November General Election, 124,000 Hawaii voters chose to mail in their ballots. That was a third of all ballots cast and more than double the percentage of those mail-in votes cast in the 2008 election. More importantly, mail-in votes were far greater than the typical difference in the votes cast for the winning and losing candidates. The danger to all of us is that we really do not have any assurance that all mail-in voters did so free of coercion. Secrecy is vital if we are to assure ourselves that their votes are taken freely. Secrecy concerns should far outweigh the benefit of the mere convenience of mail-in balloting. (more)
On December 6, 2010, Grassroot Institute President Jamie Story was featured in a Honolulu Star Advertiser Editorial Series titled "Dear Governor Abercrombie.." In this editorial, several key leaders of Hawaii were asked to address a personal letter to the Governor himself, detailing what they wanted to see him work on. Please click ahead to read the full text of Jamie Story's letter to Governor Neil Abercrombie (more)
Public outrage against the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations has been making headlines for several weeks now. Passengers have expressed rightful indignation at the insults the federal government, via the TSA, has thrown on them. New regulations for "random screenings" have not been proven to actually increase public safety, but they do serve to demoralize and dehumanize the American people, the majority of whom have done nothing to deserve such insults. Nuns in full habit and small children are searched and groped and young women's nude bodies are revealed on-screen to perfect strangers--all in the name of security. Yet the public cannot be safe when the rights and freedoms of any person are violated. In this case, TSA regulations violate the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects individuals from unwarranted search and seizures. (more)
In an article titled “What are the ‘Ceded Lands’ of Hawaii?” written for Honolulu Civil Beat on 11/08/2010, Professor Van Dyke makes some critical errors in his assessment of both the history and the law. While acknowledging the Supreme Court’s rejection of the “Apology Resolution,” he still relies on it for his “legal” justification. While quoting from the Admissions Act of 1959, he omits a key clause that differentiates between “should” and “can.” But most problematically, Van Dyke intimates that “Native Hawaiians” were somehow legally separate during the Kingdom period in Hawaii, and that the public lands that were returned to the State of Hawaii have some sort of racial lien on them. (more)
E pluribus unum. Present on the Great Seal of the United States since 1782, its meaning is both simple and profound - “Out of many, one.” Originally it may have been but a literal acknowledgment of the Union of the thirteen colonies, but as the years have gone by it has become a philosophical premise which we apply as a standard of morality. It is today a clarion call for the respect of diversity, an acknowledgment that while we may have our differences, we are one people, under one law. Each citizen of the United States takes for granted that regardless of their racial background, cultural background, or family history, they are endowed by their Creator, the same unalienable rights as all their other fellow citizens. (more)
It is noticed that virtually every political talker who says they support the Akaka bill likes to say, in response to the “why” question, something like: “I am in favor of the Akaka bill because it will be good for all of the people of Hawaii” Duke Aiona says that. So does OHA. It seems reasonable to assume Governor Lingle thinks that. Otherwise she would not be in favor of the bill. Or, would she, could she, be in favor of a law that she knew was going to hurt some people in Hawaii just to look like she was helping others? (more)
Correcting historical revisionism and misconceptions promoted by the Akaka Bill.
How Fast Does The State Government Spend Your Money?