Many Changes in Status Due With Statehood


POSTED: Friday, August 14, 2009

Statehood will bring many changes to Hawaii, some of them intangible, others matters of law.

Here is a rundown on a few of the highlights:

1—Hawaii's citizens, who have had full U.S. citizenship since annexation in 1898, now will be truly first class citizens.

They will vote for President of the United States for the first time in 1960.

Taxation without representation will end and they will have two Senators and one Representative voting for them in Congress.

Unless Congress remains in session late this year, it is probable that these new members will not take their seats until Congress reconvenes in January, 1960, though it is possible that they could be seated by late July or August this year.

2—Hawaii will now share automatically in all Federal programs and grants instead of having to fight for inclusion in each one on an individual basis.

3—Hawaii will elect its own Governor and own Lieutenant Governor. The Governor, in turn, will appoint Territorial judges. Until now, these offices have been appointments of the President of the United States.

4—Local laws will no longer be subject to review and veto by Congress.

5—Whereas the Territory has had to appeal to the Congress whenever it wanted to change the Organic Act, its basic law, it can change its state constitution entirely by local procedures.

6—The State Constitution adopted in 1950 will take effect, bringing with it such changes as annual legislative session, a reduction in departments of government, an increase in the Territorial Supreme Court to five members, a reduction in the voting age to 20.

Twenty-year-olds will vote for the first time in the special Statehood elections which the Governor will proclaim after President Eisenhower signs the Statehood Act.

7—The locally-elected governor will be an extremely strong executive, having the power to name judges, cabinet members and members of boards and commissions.

In some states, many of these offices are elective but the writers of the Hawaii constitution decided on a “;short ballot”; with only the Governor and Lieutenant Governor standing for election.


8—The legislature will remain its present size, 25 Senators, 51 Representatives, but all incumbents will have to stand for re-election. County offices will not change until the regular 1960 election.

9—All Federal discriminations against Hawaii will be removed. For instance, as a Territory, Hawaii has not been allowed to refine more sugar here than it could consume locally.

As a result, it refines its product at Crockett, California. In the future, it could shift its refining operations back to the Islands, although as a practical matter this is not likely.


10—Businessmen feel sure Statehood will bring more interest in Hawaii and bring more business here, though this is an intangible and indirect result of Statehood.

11—The impact of Federal law within the Islands will be decreased. The State will assume more responsibility.

Until now, acts based on the power of the government to regulate interstate commerce, such as the White Slave Act, have been deemed to apply to all activity within the Territory even though no state lines were crossed.

Jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board will be retracted to areas held to be truly in interstate commerce.

As a practical matter, this change will not have widespread effect.

12—Hawaii now will pay the costs of its own Legislature and government, but these are estimated to amount to less than $1 a person a year, and should be offset by the increased bargaining power of three voting members of Congress.


13—There will be two material changes in travel from Hawaii to the Mainland, Joseph Sureck, district director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, said.

Departure inspection for people, whether they go by ship or by air, will be eliminated.

This includes aliens because once they enter Hawaii, they will have made a full entry into the United States.

Before Statehood, a traveler made full entry only when he entered a state.

So with Statehood, traveling from Hawaii to California is like driving from Michigan into Indiana—no restrictions.

The other change involves certain Filipinos admitted only to the Territory of Hawaii for employment purposes.

With Statehood, they will be able to travel freely to the Mainland whereas under Territorial status, they required special permission.