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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, October 13, 2000

Lawmakers’ votes
aren’t on Web site

Question: I was searching the Web for a place to find out how our state legislators have voted over the past two sessions on all the bills, with no luck. Even the Legislative Reference Bureau and Hawaii state government pages have no method to find out how Rep. X voted on this or that particular bill. I am beginning to wonder if this is no accident. Do you know of a site and are there plans to make it public before the upcoming elections?

Answer: Unfortunately, there is no site nor any plans to have such a ready tabulation.

According to a staffer in the House clerk's office, the public can check the votes on all bills each session, but the record is not sorted by lawmakers' names and it would take some time and effort. The House book for the last session, for example, is about 2,000 pages thick. The Senate keeps its own records.

Also, only the names of legislators who vote "no," who are excused from voting or absent are recorded, the staffer said.

One alternative is the search engine on If you type in a legislator's name and the word "vote," you will get a list of stories going back 4 1/2 years. However, not all votes were reported.

Q: This is about the outrageous pet quarantine fee. I am in the U.S. Army and will be moving to Hawaii in the near future. I have just learned that my two dogs will cost me over $2,000 to have shipped to Hawaii (including airfare and lots of vet visits). That's the craziest thing I have ever heard of. Is this legal? More so, is it ethically correct? Who can I complain to? I want my voice heard.

A: You can complain to your congressional representative, although Congress has already acted to lower quarantine costs for military personnel under a bill proposed by Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

Prodded by that, state officials are moving to lower costs for all pet owners who must go through the quarantine process. (You can get more information by calling the state Animal Quarantine Station at 808-483-7151, or by checking the Web at (or the Animal Quarantine Page.)

The state quarantine law is meant to keep Hawaii rabies-free. Whether you feel it is ridiculous or unethical, it is the state's law.

Last month, U.S. House and Senate conferees approved Abercrombie's proposal to give military personnel being transferred to Hawaii a $275 partial reimbursement for pets who must be quarantined.

In the meantime, the state Legislature appropriated $500,000 to help lower quarantine costs. Initially, the money was targeted for military families, but the state Board of Agriculture, which oversees the quarantine program, felt it should apply to all incoming pets. The 30-day quarantine fee would drop to $545 from $655. A public hearing is pending.


To the HPD and its Missing Persons Bureau for helping us in what was certainly the scariest night of our life. On Friday, Sept. 22, our 11-year-old son Daniel didn't arrive at McKinley High School to meet his mom after school. At 5:15 p.m., we called HPD to file a missing person report and then spent 3 1/2 harrowing hours wondering where our son was. During our entire ordeal, it was the professionalism and concern of missing persons officer Phil Camero and Sgt. Wallace Choy that kept us sane. Thankfully, Daniel turned up at 8:30 that night and all was well. We often take HPD for granted and it's not until they use their skills to help that they are appreciated. We will never forget the help of officer Camero and Sgt. Choy in our time of need. -- Raymond Oda

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