Furloughs Not Layoffs
Posted in Economy, HI Politics June 8th, 2009 by admin

Its been a while since I posted anything on this blog, so my commentary and critical thinking skills (not to mention research) might be a little shabby. I’m going to try to start write to this blog at least as often as my other, so hopefully I’ll improve….

There seems to have been two major topics of discussion at the Capitol this past session: Civil Unions and the state budget. By the close of session, neither, it seems, was sufficiently addressed. So, at least for the later, a special session will have to be called. One major topic to be addressed? Lingle’s attempt to cut the salaries of state workers.

Oh, wait. Sorry. I meant to say furlough.

Lingle is claiming, with the legal back up from her AG, that she can furlough state workers without having to negotiate under collective bargaining. I need to read the AG’s letters to the House Speaker’s office (after which I should be able to write a follow up!), but my initial understanding of the Governor’s argument is that since collective bargaining is a function for salaries and benefits, and since furloughs don’t fall under those categories, there’s not requirement for her to sit down across a table from the state employee’s union.

What I find odd about this particular argument is that she’s selling it to the public as an alternative to lay-offs, which wouldn’t fall under collective bargaining either. It seems to me her suggested furloughs are much, much closer to pay cuts than they are to lay-offs, it should fall under the requirements pertaining to collective bargaining. 

It makes sense. At least to me. No one will be losing their job, but they’ll be working less, thus making less. I don’t know about you, but that sounds suspiciously similar to a pay cut to me.

It sounds like both the Governor’s Office and the majority at the legislature are gearing up for a battle, not to mention those preparing to file a lawsuit against the State should Lingle move forward with her plan.

The ledge may not be in session, but its shaping up to be an interesting summer, nonetheless.

Stay tuned.

Civil Unions May be Coming to Hawaii…. Soon
Posted in Civil Rights, HI Politics February 6th, 2009 by admin

Yesterday was a good day.  i left work early and made my way to the capitol to take part in and be witness to the house judiciary committee’s hearing on civil unions, hb444.

Since the end of 2007, I’ve been working with the Family Equality Coalition. The FEC is the brainchild of a number of activists who were disappointed and disillusioned after the 2007 hearing on civil unions. The FEC, while now part of a broader coalition that includes some unions, faith groups, college and community organization, was instrumental in the early stages of this process.

In December PDH officially became a member organization of the FEC…. (more…)

Civil Unions May Be Coming to Hawaii
Posted in Civil Rights, HI Politics January 27th, 2009 by admin

In the next few days, House Bill 444 will be introduced in the Hawaii State House. It is a bill which would create for same-sex couples a legal partnership equivalent to marriage in almost every way conceivable.  For those couples living in Hawaii, the passage of this law would be an enormous step forward in leveling the field regarding marriage rights. It is, of course, not marriage, but it is a strong first step toward marriage and full equality in the law AND in society.

House Bill 444 will be introduced with an unprecedented 32 co-signers. Since the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples began here in the early 90′s, never has such a bill had such seeming broad support in the State House. While I remain ever-so-slightly skeptical of the bill’s eventual passage out of the House (a first here), I am extremely optimistic that is exactly what will happen. Call it what you will, fate, destiny, luck, hard work… whatever, House Bill 444 is poised to be the first bill of its kind to come out of either the House or Senate of the Hawaii State Legislature. (more…)

in response to a GOP mailer
Posted in Economy, Education, HI Politics, War August 19th, 2008 by admin

I recently was forwarded an email being circulated by the Hawai. I have mixed feelings about posting the email, however here’s my response: (more…)

lingle, the BOE, and disney world
Posted in Education, HI Politics August 12th, 2008 by admin

after reading poinography!’s post on the apparent clash between the lingle administration and the DOE over the $1.5 million spent to send 652 employees to a conference in florida for the second year in a row, i was immediately skeptical of the governor’s position.

several points are raised by the BOE, in defense. first, the decision to send people to the conference was made at the individual school level, not by the BOE. while the BOE, at least to me, seems to be deflecting decision making blame to the schools, they are ultimately justified.

lingle has been pushing for the individual schools to have more authority on decision making and spending, so this attempt by the governor to oversee and reign in spending at the school level may seem, well, a bit hypocritical. the schools should have greater control, so long as they make decisions of which she approves?

again, the BOE may be deflecting some of the blame here and make reference to federal grants helping to cover some of the costs of the big conference bill. to silence the governor and maybe gain some support from a community hurting economically, it might be prudent for the BOE to share just how much of that $1.5 tab was covered by the federal grants.

lastly, the trips, and more relevant, the plans for the trips were made when the state budget and economy didn’t look so grim. should the governor really chastise, in hindsight,  the schools and BOE over budgetary decisions made months ago?

should someone be looking into trips, possibly frivilous trips, the governor as made at the state’s expense?

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