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Outcomes of the 2022 election ballot amendment questions

Charter amendments
Hawaiʻi Public Radio
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Each county had between three and 15 charter amendment questions on their general election ballot.

Ballot questions gave voters the opportunity to weigh in on a variety of proposals, ranging from creating new departments and commissions, to changing how county government operates.

Approved proposals will result in changes to a county's charter, or lawbook. Only two proposals across all four counties did not pass — one on Oʻahu and one on Kauaʻi.

County of Maui

Commission Proposal 1: Create a separate Housing Department dedicated to affordable housing; including an advisory board and Hawaiian Home Lands Liaison

Commission Proposal 2: Department of 'Ōiwi Resources: Establishes a new county Department of 'Ōiwi Resources to better manage cultural resources and help the county operate as a bilingual government.

Commission Proposal 3: Ethics and financial disclosures: Requires financial disclosures to be submitted prior to taking office. This also puts specific language in the charter that prohibits officers and employees from using or attempting to use their position for unwarranted and financial advantages.

Commission Proposal 4: Planning Commissions and Community Plan Updates: Require the Maui Planning Commission have members from all residency areas.

Commission Proposal 5: Council organizational meeting, remote access, government records: Requires the council to have interactive remote communications (via phone or internet) with the public during its meetings; establishes language to increase access to county records; and removes certain time and place requirements for organizational council meetings.

Commission Proposal 6: Fines and penalties: Remove a cap on specific violations and allow the council to set the penalties through an ordinance.

Commission Proposal 7: Administrative department heads: Adds a provision to the charter that would prohibit the mayor from requiring a letter of resignation from a nominated department head as a condition of appointment.

Commission Proposal 8: County Clerk: Prohibits the county clerk and the deputy county clerk from actively working in political campaigns, including contributing to federal, state or county campaigns.

Commission Proposal 9: Police Chief: Requires the Maui chief of police to submit a written report to the Police Commission when they disagree with the commission’s investigations related to the department. This was chosen instead of the county council's alternative, which would have required the chief of police to inform the commission when they disagree, but only need to submit a written report upon the commission’s request.

Commission Proposal 10: Independent Nomination Board: Creates a nine-member Independent Nomination Board that would recruit and nominate appointees for boards, commissions, the county clerk, auditor, corporation counsel and prosecuting attorney. The amendment would allow boards and commission members to be paid for their work. This would also set a county clerk's term at six years. This was chosen over the Independent Nomination Board as an 11-member group, with two members appointed by the mayor without council approval, and the rest appointed by the council without mayor approval. This also wouldn't have jurisdiction over the auditor. This alternative does not include setting a term limit on the county clerk.

Commission Proposal 11: Impacts of Charter amendments on County taxation and spending: Requires the county auditor to assess, evaluate and publicize the fiscal impact of proposed charter amendments within 60 days ahead of the general election.

Council Proposal 12: Maui County Community Water Authorities: Will establish Maui County Community Water Authorities with regional community boards to manage water systems. This would cover state license areas in East Maui. This would also look into long-term water lease agreements with the state for domestic and agricultural needs.

Council Proposal 13: Promoting Climate Change Adaptation: Require the county to adopt a policy to promote climate change adaptation. It would also allow some county employees to telework or have alternative work schedules.

County of Hawaiʻi

Expanding the Duties of the County Auditor: Gives the auditor the ability to investigate allegations of fraud, waste and other abuse when they deem it warrants investigation, not just when it’s pre-determined on an annual agenda.

Shall the Hawai'i County Charter be amended to establish a Youth Commission: Stands up a Youth Commission of nine to 15 members to advise the county on legislative and budgetary matters as well as programs that affect younger generations.

Shall the Hawai'i County Charter be amended to increase the membership of the Board of Ethics from five members to seven members? This adds two commissions to the county's Board of Ethics. Members serve staggered five-year terms.

City and County of Honolulu

Charter Question No. 1 Affordable Housing Fund: Proposal would have doubled how much money would go into the city's Affordable Housing Fund each year. The fund is derived from real property tax revenues, and currently pulls in 0.5% from there. This measure did not pass. About 44% of Oʻahu voters supported this proposal, 47% voted "no" and 9% left the question blank.

Charter Question No. 2 Planning Commission: Require members with specific areas of expertise to sit on the city's Planning Commission. The commission would be required to have at least one member in the areas of traditional Native Hawaiian practices; land-use policy; construction and environmental preservation.

Charter Question No. 3 Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund: Adds a list of acceptable uses of money from the Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund.

County of Kauaʻi

Relating to Prosecutor Vacancy: Creates a line of succession for the county’s prosecutor, so that if the Prosecuting Attorney were to leave office, it would not spark a special election.

Relating to Electric Power Authority: Removes Article 30 from the County Charter, which allows the County Council to create an electric power corporation.

Relating to Salary Commission: Gives the Salary Commission the authority to establish the maximum salary for elected and appointed officials.

Relating to Surety Bonds: Removes a section that requires surety bonds for officers and employees who handle county money. This measure did not pass. About 24% of Kauaʻi voters left this question blank, 39% voted "no" and 37% voted "yes."

Click here for the latest results from the Hawaiʻi Office of Elections.

Sabrina Bodon is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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