KONA COFFEE FARMERS ASSOCIATION
RESOLUTION OF MARCH 18, 2009
A RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE HAWAII STATE LEGISLATURE TO PROVIDE VIDEO CONFERENCING IN ORDER TO END THE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF OUTER ISLAND RESIDENTS FROM EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS PROCESS
WHEREAS, the current State Legislative system of short-notice hearings and testimony on proposed legislation essentially disenfranchises ordinary citizens from the Outer Islands;
WHEREAS, bills are in practice often scheduled for hearing with little or no notice and written testimony is required to be sent in one day in advance;
WHEREAS, even when written testimony can be timely submitted, it is well recognized that live testimony has a much greater impact on representatives and senators;
WHEREAS, short-notice travel to Honolulu for personal testimony by Outer Island residents is often not possible because there are not flights arriving early enough, or flights are full, or costs are prohibitively high;
WHEREAS, the current system too often leaves the floor at Legislative hearings to the lobbyists for special interests and effectively silences the voices of ordinary citizens from the Outer Islands;
WHEREAS, attached as Exhibit A to this Resolution, the March 2009 edition of “The Independent Voice”, the newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association, provides examples and describes the barriers faced by ordinary Outer Island residents—including Kona coffee farmers—wishing to provide testimony under the current system.
WHEREAS, the current state of video conferencing can provide a simple and cost effective way for Outer Island citizens to be fairly heard and for their voices to be considered in the Legislative process;
WHEREAS, the video conferencing system the Hawaii County Council currently has in place amply demonstrates the feasibility and cost effectiveness of broadening citizen participation in the legislative process by allowing Kona residents to give personal testimony when Council meetings are held in Hilo, and vice versa when meetings are held in Kona,
IT IS RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE KONA COFFEE FARMERS ASSOCIATION that the Hawaii State Legislature is requested to implement without delay a video conferencing system for the taking of live testimony of citizens from the Outer Islands at all Legislative hearings at which testimony from the public is taken;
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association is requested to transmit copies of this resolution, and its attachment, to all members of the State Legislature and to the Mayors and County Councils of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui Counties.
Adopted at Captain Cook, Hawaii, March 18, 2009.
Attested to by:
Mary Lake, Secretary
Kona Coffee Farmers Association