Give good reasons for calling ConCon
STATE legislators are considering bills
Voters will decide in November whether to call for a state Constitutional Convention.
that would establish ground rules for a state Constitutional Convention, but the larger question to be put to voters in November is whether such a confab is necessary. Supporters need to provide convincing evidence of the need for a convention to entertain proposals that have been put to voters or the Legislature in the past and rejected.
The state Constitution requires that the question of whether to call such a convention be put to voters every 10 years. In the last ConCon 30 years ago, delegates approved and voters ratified a revision that included creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Judicial Selection Committee.
Gov. Linda Lingle supports a ConCon, suggesting that changes could increase environmental protection and further protect business ventures. Other issues that are likely to be raised in a ConCon are public funding of elections, giving voters the power of initiative and referendum and Lingle's proposal to create separate school districts.
Legislators may have acted in their own interest in blocking public funding for legislative candidates and disallowing voters to decide directly on legislation. Incumbents naturally oppose public money going to their challengers and are reluctant to hand power directly to voters. By the same token, public funding could be expensive, and initiatives could undermine representative democracy and create havoc as they have done in California.
Proposals in the current Legislature to allow incumbent legislators to run as delegates would subvert the ConCon's independence. Public funding of candidates for the convention would be an added cost that has been rejected in legislative elections. A proposal to have the election of ConCon delegates be decided by mail ballots would save money because it would occur after the November elections.
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