The Senate Committee on Judiciary
Thursday, March 29, 2018
9:30 AM, Conference Room 016

RE: HB 1932, HD1, SD1, Relating to Emergency Rules by Agencies

Attention: Chair Brian Taniguchi, Vice Chair Karl Rhoads and members of the Committee

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) urges the committees support for HB 1932, HD1, SD1 with recommended amendments. HB 1932, HD1, SD1 is designed to ensure that when unexpected events arise that the appropropriate state agencies are authorized to adopt emergency rules that temporarily address the circumstances. UHPA notes that Hawai‘i public sector unions are anticipating a 2018 US Supreme Court decision in Janus v American Federation of State, County and Municipal Council 31, US Supreme Court Docket No. 16-1466 that could undermine the financial ability of unions to effectively fulfil their statutory obligations of negotiations and representation. This type of circumstance speaks to the need to have emergency rulemaking authority recognized more broadly in statute through amendments to Sections 91-3 and 91-4 of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.

UHPA notes the amendments on page 3, starting at line 17 through line 20 regarding effective date of adopted rule as it would be difficult for the legislature to take action the first day of session.  This would be harmful to the unions involved and it undermines the reason for the rule as originally promulgated. UHPA respectfully request any rules adopted be operational either until the legislature has taken an action during session and signed by the governor or legislation is accepted / rejected by the end of session signed by the governor’s signature and is put into statute.

We support public hearings on these issues however we believe that the need for emergency rules does not end on the convening of a legislative session.  We encourage the committee to amend the timeline for emergency rules to be in place. This change can be found on page 4, starting on line 20 through page 5, line 2.

UHPA recognizes that on occasion a federal decision such as a Supreme Court decision needs to be addressed by an administrative agency.   Administrative agencies by their nature are policy making agencies and need to render decision determining how best to apply an existing law to a changing circumstance.  

UHPA believes that it is in the interest of good state policy to recognize a broader authority to emergency rulemaking be entertained by the legislature.  While UHPA can identify some of the problems created in a Janus circumstance there are situations that require a response to a variety of factors. It makes sense for the legislature to recognize emergency rulemaking that addresses a variety of potential events and uncertain conditions now and in the future.

UHPA urges the committees support for HB 1932, HD1 including recommended amendments.

Respectfully submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman

Executive Director