By Keli‘i Akina
Legendary soccer coach Bear Bryant is credited with saying: “Offense wins video games … protection wins championships.”
If that’s the case, then the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is the Metal Curtain, the ’85 Bears and the 2000 Ravens of legislative advocacy. What you see won’t all the time be flashy, however it’s formidable.
Yearly, there are literally thousands of payments launched on the Hawaii State Legislature. Of these, a whole bunch get heard and transfer by the committee course of, requiring monitoring and testimony.
Within the 2023 session, the Grassroot Institute submitted 142 written testimonies on roughly 82 payments. We tracked a whole bunch extra. Since dangerous payments are inclined to outnumber good ones, which means we performed a variety of protection.
A few of these payments have been riddled with sensible and constitutional points. Others proposed extra rules on companies or tax hikes and different measures certain to extend the price of dwelling in Hawaii.
However like an amazing defensive staff, my Grassroot Institute colleagues have been there to dam many of those proposals earlier than they reached the tip zone.
Contemplate the truth that not a single main tax hike handed this yr — not the wealth asset tax, the capital positive aspects hike nor the carbon tax. That’s what good protection seems like.
Because the session progressed, the Grassroot staff grew to become the main critic of utilizing state funds to advertise tourism — a view that’s beginning to resonate on the Capitol. In the end, the Legislature refused to allocate any cash in any respect to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which now’s in search of a discretionary handout from the governor.
We additionally have been the one group to level out the various issues with the governor’s proposed “customer impression payment,” and it, too, failed to achieve the tip zone.
One other invoice we helped block would have allowed a “deliberative course of” exception to the state’s open information regulation. If enacted, it might have created a significant loophole within the state’s transparency necessities. That invoice went down.
One invoice that we failed to dam has the potential to just about kill the cryptocurrency enterprise in Hawaii. However the recreation isn’t over but, so now we’re encouraging folks to ask Gov. Josh Inexperienced to veto that measure.
When it comes to offense, I wish to have seen extra good payments handed, however our staff is getting higher on that depend too. We supported a variety of fine payments, a few of which made it fairly far, if to not the governor’s desk.
We even crafted 15 mannequin payments of our personal that have been launched by completely different legislators. One in every of them is ready for the governor’s signature: SB674, which might authorize Hawaii to affix 37 different states within the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and make it simpler for medical doctors from these states to follow right here and assist alleviate our acute physician scarcity.
However it’s the nature of legislative advocacy that we’ll all the time need to play extra protection than offense, particularly contemplating what number of payments are launched and the way usually these payments would improve taxes or add extra rules.
Victories just like the passage of SB674 are thrilling, and I can’t wait to see extra of them. However I’m joyful that we’ve a powerful defensive staff too. Simply think about how a lot greater the worth of paradise can be with out it.
Keli‘i Akina is president and CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.