The Hawaii State Constitution sets procedures for enactment of new laws. The purpose of these procedures is to facilitate public participation and to discourage deceptive practices and “logrolling”.
Article III, Section 14 provides in relevant part, “Each law shall embrace but one subject which shall be expressed in its title.”
Article III, Section 15 provides in relevant part that “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each out on separate days.”
In plain English, our Legislature is not supposed to pass a bill which addresses 2 or more unrelated subjects, and is not supposed to pass a bill whose subject has not had 3 separate readings in the State House and 3 separate readings in the State Senate. The purpose is to ensure a fair process, where the public and legislators have time to review and comment on proposed legislation.
Unfortunately, legislators use deceptive practices such as “gut and replace”, when a bill is stripped of its original content and replaced with an unrelated bill’s contents, and “Frankenstein bills” which is when bills encompassing various subjects are cobbled together into one bill.
Common Cause Hawaii opposes these practices as it deprives the public of any meaningful voice in the legislative process and deprives legislators adequate notice and time to thoroughly review the consequences of proposed legislation before making a decision.
Further, in order to expose and curb the widespread use of “gut and replace” and “Frankenstein bills”, we have partnered with the League of Women Voters of Hawaii to create the “Rusty Scalpel” award.
Read about previous Rusty Scalpel winners: