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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Constitution included in 'change' sentiment

Hawai'i voters convincingly embraced three proposed amendments in yesterday's voting.

Question 1: Legislative candidate residency requirement.

We thought this idea made sense, and the voters overwhelmingly found it a no-brainer.

Question 2: Assisting not-for-profit private schools, colleges and universities.

At a practical level, we can understand why this amendment appealed to so many voters. It will allow private schools to improve or expand at no cost to the taxpayers.

In opposing this amendment, this newspaper did not wish the state to do anything to keep private schools from existing and prospering. Our fears center instead on the effects of this amendment on the public schools. Private schools have already drained motivated, role-model students and committed parents from the public schools.

To the degree this amendment boosts the overall educational capacity of the state, it will be to the good. But it must not be allowed to dilute the state's devotion to its core constitutional function — public education.

Question 3: Initiation of felony prosecutions by written information.

There is nothing wrong, in principle, with this amendment, which offers a third, more efficient, way to bring charges against felony defendants. It now remains to the Legislature to thoroughly research how other states do it and adapt the best examples to our conditions, so that Hawai'i can get the benefits without sacrificing any constitutional protections.