By: Jim Hochberg, President & CEO
Greetings from Hawaii Family Advocates for the third installment in a series entitled, “Aikea” that I promised to share with you over the course of this calendar year.
The first two asked us to consider (1) our individual values, and then (2) which one we value the most. That second email also explored what it means to value something (as in to consider or rate highly: prize, esteem; to rate or scale in usefulness, importance, or general worth). We asked what, as members of the same population living in Hawaii, as part of the United States of America, we likely share as basic similar, highly valued aspects of our existence. Because many of us have no idea of the breadth and scope of Hawaii state laws, we have little idea about how our values are impacted by the government. When an issue we care about is attacked by a proposed change in the law, we may get active, or even show up at the Capitol to attend a committee hearing. That is a good start. What we’re addressing today, is the breadth and scope of Hawaii law.
The entire Hawaii state law collection (not county or federal) is available online. The Table of Contents is also available online.
The Table of Contents itself consists of sixty-nine pages, each of which looks like this:
Listed are both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Hawaii and each generally describe the government’s powers. However, the statutes, which we are looking at today are much more specific and are all enacted by your legislature. Each one is debated in public hearings and then on the chamber floor before final passage. Most of the time we are not paying attention and they pass without our awareness. We expect state laws to explain how the state government is going to work between the three branches of government. Sometimes we don’t realize that some of the areas covered greatly affect us, even when we are not interacting with the government. Some of these subject areas include:
As you can see, the things we value most are greatly affected by those we elect to make these laws. I hope you agree. So, as a reminder, the overall purpose of these messages is to help explore what it is in our life in Hawaii that impacts, negatively or positively, the things we value. Then, it asks us to consider what, if anything, we might be able to do to support the positive ones and turn the negative ones into something more beneficial, and valuable, to the people who live in Hawaii.