On the first day of my internship, I was introduced as intern to Mrs Karen Awana staff (representative in the House of Representatives of Hawaii – the State Legislature). By the courtesy of Ms. Stacey Eli, the member of Representative Karen Awana, I enjoyed a guided tour of the State Capitol (a beautiful and modern building, which is hosting both Legislative bodies of the state (Senate and the House of Representatives) as well as the Office of the Governor of Hawaii. I have, also, attended a conference training, prepared for the staff of House Democratic Members. I was familiarized with basic rules of making-decision process in the State Legislature. The Hawaii State Constitution requires that every law enacted be introduced in the form of a bill. The bill must encompass the entire subject matter of the bill and each bill can encompass only one subject (i.e. Health care reform, Social problems, Public transportation, or Judiciary ). Bills are the most important of all vehicles available to the Legislature of the State of Hawaii, because if passed, bills have the force and effect of Law. Hawaiian system of billing knows 4 different special types of Bills:
- short form bills
- companion bills
- administration bills
- Carryover bills
Most bills are reformed to more than one committee. If the lead referral committee decides to move a measure must go to the next referral committee for further consideration. The process of drafting bill and its way to become a Law is quite complicated and differentiates from our procedure. Regularly, bills are drafted by members of Legislature and introduced to one or more related committees. Than, the committee meets in a session where the bills are red on the Floor. Thus, bills get referred to committee and the Committee Chairs determine which bills to hear. The chosen bills receive a public hearing. If reported out,this bill goes to the floor of the Legislature. The community is actively involved in the process of drafting bills, because without any public hearings, the bills cannot be submitted to the committee and furthermore to the Legislature floor.
My second day of internship, April 9th, 2013, started with Regular Floor Session of Hawaii House of Representatives,27th State Legislature, 46th Legislative Day, 3rd Reading,12 Crossover.
The Floor Session started with a local praying (among Christian ritual, local habits and words were used), followed by reading of the Journal, message from the Governor and Senate Communications. Then, Representative Karen Awana presented me to the members of the House of Representatives as Legislative intern. During my second day, I attended the Plenary session of the House of Representatives. In the Consent calendar of the Order of the Day included discussions in 3rd readings of drafted bills, submitted by the committees after 2nd reading. Order of the day for this session consist in 67 unfinished bills, presented for final discussions and amendments, related to local taxes, finances, judiciary, public health, consumer protection and commerce. After 3rd reading, the bills are forwarded to the Conference of both Chambers of the Capitol (House of Representatives and Senate ) and are prepared to final reading. Finally, the bills are submitted to the Governor who either has the right to approve or to manifest veto. If so, procedure is resumed both in the House of Representatives and Senate, by veto override.
Thursday, April 11th, I continued my internship at the Office of the Representative Karen Awana. I summarized a study produced by Leeward Community Center on homelessness in Waianae district with respect of identifying legal actions that should be taken by the Legislature of the state of Hawaii. The next day, Friday 12th, began with an appointment with retired Supreme Court Judge, Mr. Steve Levinson. We had an informal meeting about organization of judiciary and prosecution service in Hawaii and Moldova, the role and the duties of public attorneys and public defendants in Hawaii, competence and jurisdiction of Federal and State law enforcement agencies, the role of the Supreme Court in Hawaii and of Chief Justice in promoting and sanctioning judges and attorneys. After lunch, I had a great opportunity to visit the Honolulu Art Museum. I admired a 18th century Japanese collection of paintings among Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh and Picasso artworks. I am looking forward to spending this weekend with my host family and of course, to go to the beach :).
During the week, I have continued my internship at the office of Representative Karen Awana, by performing duties related to klerk’s activity within the State Legislature.
On Tuesday, April 23rd, I had an appointment with First Lady (Governor’s wife), PHD Nancie Caraway. We have discussed about the LFP outcomes and perspectives as well as the issues Eastern European countries are facing in matters related to trafficking in humans.
On Thursday, April 25th, I met Mr. Christopher Young, Deputy supervising Attorney at Criminal Division. We have had a discussion about Criminal justice, organization and functioning of Attorney’s Office in Hawaii as well as the particularities of criminal investigations and trials.
Friday, April 26th, I have attended the course for students at Hawaii University, Law School, held by professor Joshua L. Cooper in matters related to respect of Human Rights of native Hawaiian, Indigenous Population on the Mainland as well as with its comparing to Australian Aborigene’s Rights. The course started with presentations on sustainability and native Hawaiian issues and continued with discussions about right to a healthy environment, women’s fundamental rights and liberties, the competences of UN Special Representative for Human Rights. After noon, few presentations were shown about making decision process on climate change and global warming issues. On Saturday, April 27th, the International Hospitality Center made a surprise for all LFP fellows in Hawaii – a catamaran cruise in Waikiki. It was absolutely magic. We even saw the whales in the ocean!
Best regards and Aloha,
LFP Moldova, 2013