SB757 Relating the the University of Hawaii

This one is weird. This one is also an example of the strange maneuvers used by our state legislators to pass laws, particularly laws that face substantial opposition. Of these maneuvers, gut and replace is probably the most despicable, the wholesale replacing of a bill’s contents with different text of totally different intent.

The MKSS snowplow crews remove snow from the roads atop Mauna Kea
The MKSS snowplow crews remove snow from the roads atop Mauna Kea
The latest example? SB757 is today’s subject. This bill once addressed the university’s ability to issue bonds. As of the latest version the bill calls for an audit of the agencies charged with the management of Mauna Kea… Yes, the bill is a now a nearly identical copy of SB2325, the same audit bill I addressed last week here on Darker View.

Why another bill with the same language? The first bill, SB2325 is still active and making it’s way through the process.

Update: Looks like we also have a Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR29 with essentially the same language. Time to testify on both!

As SB757 is now scheduled for a hearing I have submitted testimony. For anyone who wishes to read my testimony, you can read it below. Feel free to steal talking points, but testimony is most effective if you put it in your own words…

This is more than odd… Gut and replace a bill with the nearly identical language from another active bill? What is wrong with SB2325 that the same language needs to be inserted here? To put it bluntly the new language inserted into SB757 provides an example of what the citizens of our state see the worst in political gamesmanship.

And where is the justification for either of these bills in the first place? Where is the customary preamble in the bill explaining the need? There is simply no evidence to support this action.

While the university and OMKM do take in a substantial amount of money, they also spend a substantial amount of money to manage the mauna. From basic maintenance of the facilities, road maintenance, snow removal, accommodating the daunting number of visitors to the mauna, providing for the plethora of demands required by the Comprehensive Management Plan. The monies are spent on the mauna, where they belong.

I live and work upon Mauna Kea, I see every day how Mauna Kea is managed. On many occasions I have taken the opportunity to discuss day-to-day management decisions with those who make those decisions. What I see are professionals who are doing a difficult job, and doing it very well. People who are often derided and insulted for the job they do by those who think they know better. The employees of OMKM and MKSS do their best to protect our mauna and accomodate all who would access this incomparable place.

The management of Mauna Kea has been reviewed by the auditor’s office on many occasions, the most recent report released only last year. The resulting reports show a clear picture of system of management that has been steadily improving in response to ever increasing and often unreasonable demands. The auditor’s reports show no need for the sort of audit requested in SB757.

Where is the evidence for fiscal irresponsibility to justify yet another audit, or more questionably a “forensic” audit?

Without any credible evidence for fiscal mismanagement this bill makes no sense. This bill is a fishing expedition proposed by those who oppose the university’s responsible management of Mauna Kea. It does nothing that would benefit our mauna except waste the time and effort of those who have a job to do.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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