Nonbinding resolutions
show isles have heart

Lawmakers weigh in on issues
over which they have no control

By Richard Borreca

Hawaii may be a small, geographically isolated state, but that doesn't mean we don't have a world view. The just-concluded state Legislature, for instance, approved resolutions detailing our relations with not only the United Nations and the Pentagon, but also foreign relations with Afghanistan, the Philippines and China.

Because resolutions aren't binding and have no effect of law, the Legislature is free to pass a resolution to simply state a view or tell a group how it feels.

For instance, at the urging of Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (D, Alewa Heights), the Senate urged "the appointment of Afghan women to the provisional government of Afghanistan to ensure equitable treatment of women in the new government."

Turning its attention closer to home, the Senate along with the House worried over the issue of "responsible wildlife viewing" and urged that the "Hawaii watchable wildlife program ... collaborate among all federal, state and council agencies and nonprofit organizations and the private sector."

The resolution doesn't actually want to clamp down on irresponsible wildlife viewing, but the statement is needed to get federal help to publish books on wildlife.

The House had some advice for the United Nations in a resolution calling for the U.N. to consider setting up in Hawaii "a center for the health, welfare and education of children, youth and families for Asia and the Pacific."

The House also urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do something about those pesky fruit flies and asked that the feds "initiate a program to eradicate fruit flies in Hawaii."

We also found more places to become sisters with. The Legislature urged that we launch a sister-state program with the Philippine province of Ilocos Sur, and the Senate wanted us to start a sister-state relationship with the city of Tianjin in China.

Finally, both the House and Senate were able agree on one resolution: 2003 will be the year of the Hawaiian forest.

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