Senate ends use of paper over waste
The state Senate will stop giving free copies of bills to lobbyists, government officials and members of the public in an effort to save paper.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa announced the plan yesterday in an e-mail, saying that beginning with the 2008 Legislature, the Senate would be moving to electronic communications.
During the interim, the state Capitol has been made a wireless or Wi-Fi hot spot, offering free Internet access.
In her memo, Hanabusa said the plan should result in the reduction of waste paper.
"If all of us commit to using electronic formats for legislative document storage and retrieval, the Senate can significantly reduce the 4,375,000 sheets of paper used this past legislative session," Hanabusa said.
No figures were available for the cost of operating the Senate print shop, and a spokesman for the Senate said it was not anticipated that the Senate would save any money by going to a paperless bill system.
Laurel Johnston, Senate assistant clerk, said the Senate print shop staff was not expected to be reduced.
Senate officials said that instead of printing bills, resolutions and committee reports, the senate will provide the public with electric copies via daily CDs.
The public also will be able to get an electronic and hard-copy digest of all bills introduced, and all legislative testimony will be available via the Internet.
Hearing notices also will be available online and through an e-mail subscription service, according to Hanabusa.
The public will be able to get the bills, reports, committee hearing notices and testimony by going to the Legislature's Web site, www.capitol.hawaii.gov.
The state House will continue to distribute paper copies of bills and reports.
House Clerk Patricia Maui-Shimizu said, "If people want hard copies, we will have them available, and if they want the information on a CD, we can do that, too."