Political Radar

Reprimand v. censure

July 26th, 2013

An investigative panel of the Democratic Party of Hawaii recommended different sanctions for state Sen. Mike Gabbard and Rep. Sharon Har over a constitutional amendment on traditional marriage because the panel considered the amendment Gabbard's "second offense."

Gabbard is facing a reprimand, while Har is facing censure, because Gabbard had previously been reprimanded by the party in 2009 for actively working against a civil-unions bill. (A story Friday in the Star-Advertiser incorrectly said he was censured in 2009.)

But an inconsistency in the party's bylaws may turn Oahu Democrats who will review the panel's recommendations in knots.

Democrats used to rank sanctions against members in this order: expulsion -- the most serious penalty -- followed by censure and reprimand.

Gabbard was reprimanded in 2009, which at the time was the least severe punishment available.

But the party amended its bylaws at the 2012 state convention to reverse "reprimand" and "censure," making censure the least severe punishment. A parliamentarian argued at the time that Robert's Rules of Order considers a reprimand more punitive.

The party's bylaws now state that a member who is censured is to receive an official letter from the party, but no further sanction.

In the party's eligibility criteria to run for elected office, however, potential candidates must maintain party membership "without censure" for a minimum of six months before the filing deadline.

The investigative panel's recommendation of reprimand for Gabbard could prevent him, if upheld, from holding party office for up the three years.

The recommendation of censure for Har, if upheld, could come with an official letter and a prohibition against filing for elected office for six months.

The 2014 filing deadline for candidates opens on Feb. 3 and closes on June 3, according to the state Office of Elections, so Har -- if she is censured -- would likely not be prevented from filing for re-election as a Democrat next year.

Some Democrats, however, say privately that the inconsistency in the party's bylaws potentially exposes Har to a more serious sanction than Gabbard.

7 Responses to “Reprimand v. censure”

  1. Especially Incognito:

    Stand one's ground.

    In this case a liberal and conservative way
    of thinking is needed to equality and balance.
    Equality is neither left nor right but dead center
    and down the line.

  2. Auto de Fe:

    Old Boss: Dan Inouye, War Hero
    New Boss: Mike Golojuch, 'Bitchbear'

    Bow before your new master.

  3. Kolea:

    So if the Oahu County Committee decides to go along with the recommendation of its Rules Cte., Gabbard (supposely) gets a more severe sanction, because this is his second offense. Mike can't run for the chair of the Democratic Party, for disctrict char or even for precinct president. Big deal.

    But Har, getting the lesser sanction, could be prevented from running for re-election as a Democrat? How is that a lighter sentence? (OK, we may "dodge the bullet" because there is more than six months before the next filing deadline for Har's seat. But what if the complaint had been filed as a result of something she were to do during an election year? How does the lightest possible sanction mean an elected official would be prevented from running for re-election?

    Before we Democrats start flexing our muscles, making big boy and announcing "There's a new sheriff in town," maybe we better make sure our Rules make sense in the first place?

    "New Sheriff"? Or the same old Keystone Kops?

  4. Kolea:

    Quick Edit:

    Before we Democrats start flexing our muscles, making big body and announcing, "There's a new sheriff in town," maybe we better make sure our Rules make sense in the first place?

    "New Sheriff"? Or the same old Keystone Kops?

  5. Goober:

    Call that a wrist slap.

    Big body is not a fat body. Such carefree
    comments that is not even gay.

    Seems that advocates of gay equal rights
    only want to enlarge their posterior motives.
    Size matters to them.

  6. Especially Incognito:

    Seems if you disagree with a gay,
    one is a racist. Slight punishment
    is a "bitch slap".

  7. Political Radar | Extension | Political Radar | staradvertiser.com | Honolulu, Hawaii:

    [...] inconsistency in party rules has potentially subjected Har to a politically harsher punishment than Gabbard -- who faces the [...]

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