November 26, 1996

Hawaii AFL-CIO Challenges ConCon Vote

On Nov. 5, Hawaii voters chose to have a Constitutional Convention (ConCon) by a margin of about 3000 votes, with about 45,000 ballots blank on this issue.  The Attorney General of Hawaii recently issued an opinion that the "yes" votes won; she sided with a ten-year old state law and not with the notes and minutes of the 1950's convention that created the option of having a ConCon (every 10 years).

On Nov. 25, the Hawaii AFL-CIO filed suit in the Hawaii courts to challenge the AG's opinion.  Hawaii's Constitution has strong provisions that protect collective bargaining.  The Hawaii AFL-CIO fears that emotional issues such as same-gender marriage might produce a conservative ConCon that will rewrite many provisions of Hawaii's Constitution.

If a Con-Con were to be held, the delegates would be elected (number, time, and place to be decided by the legislature). Whatever a Con-Con might propose would have to have final approval of the voters by a true majority of "yes" votes (with blank and spoiled ballots counted as "no").  Everyone is agreed that a true majority is needed for constitutional amendments; the AFL-CIO and the AG disagree on whether a true majority is needed to call a ConCon in the first place.

                        Best Regards,

                        Tom Ramsey

P.S.  To support the legal case Baehr v. Miike (decision due from Circuit Court in about two weeks), please send donations to
                        PO Box 11690
                        Honolulu, HI 96828

Donations are fully tax-deductible.

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