Committee says Say meets qualifications to represent district

Local News

A special House committee has determined Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say is qualified to represent District 20 (St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki).

A group of voters filed a petition, claiming the representative does not actually live in his district. Say’s official residence is in Palolo Valley, but the group says the representative lives at his in-laws’ house in Nuuanu.

After reviewing written documentation and hearing presentations from attorneys, the six-member committee sided with Say, saying it found no “compelling evidence” that Say did not meet the requisite qualifications to represent District 20.

The committee operated under several constitutional provisions, including one relating to requirements for holding office as a member of the House of Representatives (Article III, Section 6).

Under the provision, the Hawaii State Constitution sets three qualifications to be a member of the House of Representatives: 1) be a resident of the state for not less than three years; 2) have attained the age of majority; and 3) be a qualified voter of the representative district from which the person seeks to be elected prior to filing nominations papers and continuing thereafter.

“Because Speaker Emeritus Say has long been and continues to be a registered voter in District 20 and meets the other two requirements, the committee found that the representative met the necessary qualifications. The committee recommended no further action be taken,” according to a statement.

It will issue a written report to the House outlining the process of its investigation and basis for its final decision, which will be posted on the Capitol website after it is signed and filed.

After Friday’s hearing, Lance Collins, the voters’ attorney, told KHON2 he plans to file a police report against the committee accusing members of committing illegal acts during the investigation.

He says the committee, chaired by Rep. Karl Rhoads, D-Kalihi, Palama, Iwilei, Chinatown, illegally disclosed some of the voters’ private information to Say’s attorneys during the investigation.

Rhoads says this is not a criminal case, and the committee did not commit any crimes during the investigation.

“There’s a big question whether there was any kind of investigation and certainly there was no thorough investigation,” says Collins.

“Easy for them to say,” Rhoads responded. “We spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on it and not surprisingly, we reached same conclusion four other bodies who looked into the matter reached, which is Speaker Say was qualified to serve the district.”

The report notes that the committee followed procedures that were consistent with the way other state legislatures handled similar internal investigations.

The report also notes that the bulk of the documents submitted to the committee by both parties were previously reviewed by the Honolulu City Clerk’s office and the State Office of Elections in earlier unsuccessful challenges.

The committee’s report and recommendation will be voted upon by the full House of Representatives.

After the decision, Say released the following statement:

“The House special committee has done its due diligence and found, like other investigative bodies before it, that there is no basis for this challenge.  For me, I hope we can finally put this behind us and get on with the people’s business.  Throughout the nine years of these challenges, I have seen these matters put squarely in the hands of my constituents and they have seen fit to return me to office each time.  I look to focusing on matters of concern to my constituents and to all of the voters of Hawaii.”

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