HB 684, Relating to Employment.

House Committee on Labor & Public Employment
Friday, February 13, 2015
9:30 a.m.

HB 684, Relating to Employment.

Dear Chairman Nakashima and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly opposes this proposed measure. The consequences of implementation will diminish currently held rights to seek redress for victims of workplace harassment whether it is based on sex, race or religion. The measure would allow employers to avoid their responsibility for the behavior of their supervisory employees. This rolls back the protections afforded under current state law and increases the barriers to employees seeking help in remedying discriminatory workplace behavior.

UHPA encourages the Committee to defer this measure.

Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

HB 602, Relating to Unfunded Liabilities.

House Committee on Labor & Public Employment
Friday, February 13, 2015
9:30 a.m.

HB 602, Relating to Unfunded Liabilities.

Dear Chairman Nakashima and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly opposes this measure. It is unnecessary and undermines activities already implemented by the Employee Retirement System to address unfunded liabilities.

UHPA encourage the Committee to defer this measure.

Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

HB 553, HD 1, Relating to Collective Bargaining.

The House Committee on Higher Education
Thursday, February 12, 2015
2:03 p.m.

HB 553, HD 1, Relating to Collective Bargaining.

Dear Chairman Choy and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly urges the committee to support passage of this proposed measure by amendments to the Hawaii Revised Statues Chapter 90 that will advance the interests of graduate assistants. These employees are essential to instruction and research that contribute to the overall success of the University of Hawaii. Graduate Assistances are employees in the full sense of the term with continuing access to positions based on job and academic performance.

UHPA supports the rights of graduate assistants to organize and collectively bargain. Such a right is consistent with the labor tradition in our state and is compatible with an academic environment whereby the majority of employees have access to representation.

Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

HB 1511, Relating to the Employees’ Retirement System.

House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
8:30 a.m.

HB 1511, Relating to the Employees’ Retirement System.

Dear Chairman Lee and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly opposes proposed measure HB 1511. The measure which seeks divestiture of investments in fossil fuel companies does not advance the interests of public employees. To the contrary, the Employee Retirement System already bases its investment decision on policy that recognizes socially-responsible considerations. The impact of divestiture is unknown and could undermine the actions necessary to fully fund the retirement system.

UHPA encourages the Committee to defer this proposed measure.

Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

HB 1509, HD1 (Proposed), Relating to Energy.

House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
8:30 a.m.

HB 1509, HD1 (Proposed), Relating to Energy.

Dear Chairman Lee and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly enthusiastically supports passage of this bill as a creative way to address energy needs of the University of Hawaii and the renovation of its deteriorating buildings and infrastructures. This has never been a greater win-win situation for the University for its cause and independence.

Respectively submitted,

J.N. Musto, Ph.D.
Executive Director

HB 1048, Relating to Elections.

House Committee on Labor & Public Employment
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
9:00 a.m.

HB 1048, Relating to Elections.

Dear Chairman Nakashima and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly supports proposed measure HB 1048.
Currently the ability of public employees to seek and obtain public office is restricted by requirements that upon election to office the employee must resign or be terminated in their employment. These requirements are onerous and actively discourages citizens from participating in elected office simply because they are a public employee. HB 1048 seeks to redress the issue where public employees running for office do not get elected. This bill will allow for reemployment for these individuals so there is not an economic penalty for simply seeking office.
Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

SB 1240, Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Article X, Section 6, of the Hawaii State Constitution to Modify the Appointment Process for the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii.

Senate Committee on Higher Education and the Arts
Thursday, February 5, 2015
2:00 p.m.

SB 1240, Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Article X, Section 6, of the Hawaii State Constitution to Modify the Appointment Process for the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii.

Dear Chairperson Taniguchi and Committee Members:

On behalf of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, our union supports the repeal of the candidate advisory council for the Board of Regents through a constitutional amendment. We believe the current system used to select members of the Board of Regents has become so onerous that many outstanding citizens, who would have made excellent Board of Regents, are not willing to submit to the advisory council process. In the past, UHPA opposed the current approach and has continued to do so believing it did not represent the interests of the faculty nor the institution itself.

We believe that the Governor should have the authority to nominate and appoint Board of Regent members on their own volition. The Governor, in order to be accountable to the people, should not be limited in his or her choices through a restricted list garnered by an advisory committee. Senate consent is the correct mechanism to ensure the appropriateness of the appointment.

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly strongly recommends passage of this bill.

Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

SB 1239, Relating to the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii.

Senate Committee on Higher Education and the Arts
Thursday, February 5, 2015
2:00 p.m.

SB 1239, Relating to the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii.

Dear Chairperson Taniguchi and Committee Members:

On behalf of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, our union supports the repeal of the candidate advisory council for the Board of Regents through ratification of a constitutional amendment. We believe the current system used to select members of the Board of Regents has become so onerous that many outstanding citizens, who would have made excellent Board of Regents, are not willing to submit to the advisory council process. In the past, UHPA opposed the current approach and has continued to do so believing it did not represent the interests of the faculty nor the institution itself.

We believe that the Governor should have the authority to nominate and appoint Board of Regent members. The Governor, in order to be accountable to the people, should not be limited in his or her choices through a restricted list garnered by an advisory committee. Senate consent is the correct mechanism to ensure the appropriateness of the appointment.

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly strongly recommends passage of this bill.

Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

SB 638, Relating to Collective Bargaining.

The Senate Joint Committee on Higher Education and the Arts
and Committee on Judiciary and Labor
Thursday, February 5, 2015
1:30 p.m.

SB 638, Relating to Collective Bargaining.

Dear Chairmans Taniguchi and Keith-Agaran and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly urges the committee to support passage of this proposed measure by amendments to the Hawaii Revised Statues Chapter 90 that will advance the interests of graduate assistants. These employees are essential to instruction and research that contribute to the overall success of the University of Hawaii. Graduate Assistances are employees in the full sense of the term with continuing access to positions based on job and academic performance.

UHPA supports the rights of graduate assistants to organize and collectively bargain. Such a right is consistent with the labor tradition in our state and is compatible with an academic environment whereby the majority of employees have access to representation.

Respectively submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Associate Executive Director

SB 637, Proposing an Amendment to the Hawaii Constitution to Divest Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii Over the Internal Structure, Management, and Operations of the University of Hawaii.

The Senate Joint Committee on Higher Education and the Arts
and Committee on Judiciary and Labor
Thursday, February 5, 2015
1:30 p.m.

SB 637, Proposing an Amendment to the Hawaii Constitution to Divest Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii Over the Internal Structure, Management, and Operations of the University of Hawaii.

Dear Chairmans Taniguchi and Keith-Agaran and Committee Members:

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly originally opposed the Constitutional Amendment that granted what was commonly called “autonomy” to the University of Hawaii on the grounds that the amendment was not about autonomy nor could the UH ever reasonably be autonomous and remain a public institution. Further, the language itself was always internally inconsistent since the Regents were given “exclusive jurisdiction” over internal operations, which they already possessed, but the Regents’ exclusivity was qualified by adding that it didn’t limit the Legislature to enact laws of statewide concern and the Legislature had the “exclusive jurisdiction to identify laws of statewide concern.”

SB 637 would restore the proper constitutional language with respect to the powers of the Regents. Again, it is not a bill autonomy.

What is needed is for the Regents to take responsibility for engaging in a broader public conversation over the expectations being placed on the institution by the citizens of the State and the programmatic demands initiated by the Legislature. Once those expectations are clear, the conversation then must turn to the sources of revenue necessary to provide the programs and services statewide. Where will those revenues originate from, and in what proportion?–tuition dollars, philanthropy, external contracts for research and services, or public funds authorized by the Legislature.

The University cannot be autonomous from the State of Hawaii and the State Legislature cannot control or micromanage the University for political outcomes. These principles are at the heart of what it means to be both a public endeavor and a university at the same time. The Constitution as currently constructed does not protect those principles.

Respectively submitted,

J.N. Musto, Ph.D.
Executive Director