On the morning of Monday September 9, the Kauai County Council’s Committee on Economic Development (agriculture and sustainability) and Intergovernmental Affairs will conduct its next review and discussion of Bill 2491. The meeting will likely start at approximately 8:30am or shortly thereafter.
At this meeting it is expected that committee members will continue in a similar format as was conducted at the August 5 committee meeting by participating in a Q&A with various resource persons, stakeholders and community members. As is always the case, public testimony will also be accepted.
It is also likely that amendments to the Bill will be proposed by various members. Some amendments will be in the nature of “housekeeping” such as the clarification of definitions, and other amendments may propose substantive changes to the Bill. Some amendments may be intended to strengthen the Bill and others intended to weaken and/or simply to clarify.
There are 5 members on the committee (Yukimura, Kagawa, Rapozo, Nakamura and Hooser) and any three members voting in agreement can successfully amend the Bill.
Amendments are a normal part of lawmaking. While much thought was put into the original drafting of the measure, after extensive public testimony and additional research it is normal that amendments be proposed to reflect concerns and suggestions expressed during the process.
I expect that some amendments will be voted on during the September 9 meeting and it is possible that the “full Bill as amended” may also be voted on. It is also possible that a majority of committee members may decide to vote on “minor or housekeeping amendments” and defer for an additional time period (two weeks would be customary) the vote on substantive amendments that might deserve additional thought and review.
It is important to note that because of Sunshine Law provisions, committee members will not have been given proposed amendments in advance and will be seeing these proposals for the very first time at this committee meeting.
So it is reasonable that some members of the committee might want additional time to think about substantive changes that might be proposed and thus request a two week deferral providing additional time to review prior to a vote.
However it is also reasonable to expect that other members might want to fully complete the amendment process on September 9, vote the amended Bill out of Committee and on to the full Council on this same day, and avoid further extensions of the process. If this happens, the Bill would then be scheduled to be heard by the full Council where it could be further amended (made stronger or weaker or further clarified) and ultimately voted on to pass into law in its amended form, or not.
In summary: The three possible paths the Committee may choose on September 9 are as follows:
1) Vote to amend Bill 2491 and then vote to approve the amended Bill and send it to the full Council for possible further amendments and a final vote.
2) Vote on minor or housekeeping amendments to Bill 2491 and then defer voting on substantive amendments until the next committee meeting (likely two weeks later).
3) No vote at all and a continued deferral. While an additional two week deferral to allow members additional time to continue their fact finding would not be an unreasonable request – an extended or indefinite deferral without allowing a full vote on the merits would be politically untenable and an option I do not believe committee members would entertain.
But in reality: Anything can happen on September 9.