By Ronna Bolante
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
The number of bills introduced at the state Legislature has tapered off in recent years, a trend that state lawmakers hope will save time and money.
A total of 3,331 bills were introduced in the House and Senate this month at the outset of Hawaiis two-year legislative cycle. That compares with 3,397 in 1999 and 4,287 in 1997.
State lawmakers introduced a record 4,379 bills in 1991.
Lawmakers have tried in the past to curb the number of bills introduced to avoid the costs of printing duplicate bills and to avoid wasting time discussing similar proposals.
Senators can introduce an unlimited number of bills within the first three days of the session but are restricted to introducing five bills each until the bill cutoff date the next week.
"It cuts down on a lot of extraneous bills that we usually have, duplications and stuff like that," said Sen. President Robert Bunda, D-22nd (Wahiawa, Waialua, Sunset Beach). "Everybody is cognizant about introducing good bills."
The House has no policy limiting the number of bills members can introduce, but Speaker Calvin Say said representatives have avoided duplicate bills by co-sponsoring measures instead of offering their own.
"I cant deny you the right to introduce bills on behalf of your constituents or your voters, and thats the approach," said Say, D-18th (Palolo, St. Louis, Kaimuki).
This session, House members introduced 1,691 bills. The Senate introduced 1,640.
[back to top]