Constitutional, charter amendment questions Hawaii voters will answer in November

Local News

Voters won’t just be deciding political races in November.

Also on the general election ballot, voters will find two proposed constitutional amendments adopted during the Twenty-Eighth Legislature’s Regular Sessions of 2015 and 2016, as well as proposed charter amendment questions for individual counties.

CON AMEND: Relating to Jury Trials in Civil Cases (click here for more information)

Shall the threshold value in controversy requirement for jury trials in civil cases at common law be increased from $5,000 to $10,000?

CON AMEND: Relating to the Disposition of Excess Revenues (click here for more information)

Shall the legislature be provided, when the state general fund balance at the close of each of two successive fiscal years exceeds five per cent of the general fund revenues for each of the two fiscal years, the additional alternatives of appropriating general funds for the pre-payment of either or both of the following:

  1. Debt service for general obligation bonds issued by the State; or
  2. Pension or other post-employment benefit liabilities accrued for state employees?

The two proposed constitutional amendments will appear in the same order on all ballots statewide; followed by respective county proposed amendments.

Click here to view the full list for all counties.

Honolulu voters will find 20 charter amendment questions on November’s general election ballot, which are also listed below in their entirety.

  1. Should the Police Commission have greater authority to suspend or dismiss the chief of police and have additional powers to investigate complaints concerning officer misconduct, and should the chief of police be required to submit a written explanation for his or her disagreement with the Commission?
  2. Should the Ethics Commission set the salaries of the Ethics Commission’s executive director and staff attorneys within specified limits? [Read More]
  3. Should the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney control its budget after it is approved by the City Council? [Read More]
  4. Should a unified multi-modal transportation system be created by:
    1. Forming a Rate Commission to annually review and recommend adjustments to bus and paratransit fares, rail fares and parking fees;
    2. Placing operations and maintenance responsibilities for bus, paratransit and rail solely in the Department of Transportation Services and providing for the transfer of positions and legal rights and obligations relating to rail operations and maintenance from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) to the Department of Transportation Services effective July 1,2017; and
    3. Clarifying the responsibility of the HART Board to establish policies, rules, and regulations regarding the development of the rail system, the internal management and organization of HART, and the allocation of decision-making authority between the Board and the agency’s executive director and staff, and amending the responsibilities of the HART Board to include determining the policies for approval of certain agreements with the federal, public or private entities?
  5. Should the Affordable Housing Fund be used to develop rental housing for persons earning 60 percent or less of the median household income, provided that the housing remains affordable for at least 60 years? [Read More]
  6. Should departments responsible for the city’s infrastructure needs be required to prepare long-term plans? [Read More]
  7. Should the city use its powers to serve the people in a sustainable and transparent manner and to promote stewardship of natural resources for present and future generations, and should the city create an Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency? [Read More]
  8. Should a new Department of Land Management responsible for the protection, development, and management of city lands be established? [Read More]
  9. Should a Honolulu Zoo Fund be established and funded by a minimum of one-half of one percent of estimated annual real property taxes to pay for Honolulu Zoo expenses to assist the Honolulu Zoo in regaining its accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums?
  10. Should the mayor’s executive powers and the City Council’s legislative powers only be subject to exceptions specifically provided in the Charter and should the mayor and the City Council be given concurrent authority to establish funds when no appropriate funds of the same type exist and to propose amendments to the annual executive budget? [Read More]
  11. Should an approval process and an advisory commission for Clean Water Natural Lands Fund projects be established in the Charter? [Read More]
  12. Should all boards and commissions, except for the Board of Water Supply, the board for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) and any board or commission mandated by state or federal law, be reviewed periodically to determine whether they should be retained, amended or repealed? [Read More]
  13. Should the Grants in Aid Fund be the sole source (with certain designated exceptions) for city-funded grants to federal income taxexempt nonprofit organizations that provide services to economically and/or socially disadvantaged populations or that provide services for the public benefit in the areas of the arts, culture, economic development or the environment? [Read More]
  14. Should the deadline to hold a special election to replace the mayor, prosecutor or councilmembers be extended from 60 to 120 days, and should the City Council be able to appoint a temporary member until a special election is held? [Read More]
  15. Should the term limit for the prosecuting attorney, the mayor and the councilmembers be three consecutive four-year terms?
  16. Should certain city departments be responsible for their own program planning and small infrastructure design and construction projects, and should the powers, functions, and duties of the Department of Environmental Services be updated and expanded to emphasize resource recovery and include the planning, engineering, design, and construction of all of its projects? [Read More]
  17. Should the mayor have the authority to delegate the signing of documents to certain other city officers? [Read More]
  18. Should the Fire Commission be expanded from five to seven members, and should the fire chiefs powers, duties and functions be updated to reflect current services? [Read More]
  19. Should the requirement be repealed that no more than five of the City Council Reapportionment Commission’s nine members be from the same political party? [Read More]
  20. Should the Charter be amended for housekeeping amendments (i) to conform to current functions and operation, (ii) to conform to legal requirements, (iii) to correct an inadvertent omission, and (iv) for clarity?

    1. Require the books and records of all city departments be open to public inspection;
    2. Require the Department of the Corporation Counsel to update the Charter by July 1 of the year after the election at which Charter amendments proposed by the Charter Commission are approved by the electorate;
    3. Require the Charter Commission to submit amendments to the Office of the City Clerk five working days before the deadline for ballot questions to be submitted to the state Chief Election Officer;
    4. Require that all written contracts of the Board of Water Supply and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation be approved by the Department of Corporation Counsel for form and legality; and
    5. Require that the city centralized purchasing practices conform to the state procurement code. [Read More]

Download a brochure from the Honolulu Charter Commission here.

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