Political Radar

`People's filibuster'

November 3rd, 2013

Opponents of gay marriage have taken full advantage of the state House's decision to hear from everyone who had signed up to testify on a marriage equality bill.

Greater openness and transparency are themes of the House leadership coalition, but the unprecedented hearing -- 41 hours and counting when it reconvenes on Monday morning -- may cause some reflection once the special session is over.

It was clear from the start that opponents, who received advice from House lawmakers who oppose or are undecided on the bill and instructions from religious leaders, were intent on delaying a vote by the House Judiciary Committee and House Finance Committee for as long as possible.

Garret Hashimoto of the Hawaii Christian Coalition on Friday captured the essence of the strategy by calling it a "people's filibuster."

Please advise your congregations that they should not get too comfortable with the big number that they have been given for their testimony.  Once the House Committees run out of testifiers, the hearing WILL end.  Our goal is a "People's Filibuster", but the filibuster ends when we run out of speakers.

Hashimoto amplified the strategy over the weekend by explaining to opponents how to prolong the hearing:

MONDAY IS CRITICAL.  We need to drag the hearing out as long as possible but at least until 9:00 pm. The reason is because Chair Rhoads announced that decision-making would be right after the hearing (decision-making or DM means we will vote on the measure in committee).  He is assuming we will be finished early on Monday and if this is the case, they will DM right after the hearing, and hold floor session on Monday night which will be 2nd reading. If Monday night is 2nd reading, then WED will be 3rd reading. Thus, all of our plans for the rally and flooding the house chambers for 3rd reading on Thursday will be moot.

The hearing on Monday begins at 11:00 am so if we go until 9:00 pm, we're talking about 10 hours.  With 30 people testifying per hour (2 full minutes per testifier), all we need is 300 people to show up and testify!

We are currently on testifiers in the 4600 range.  To be clear, 5100 testimonies were submitted.  Last night, hardly anyone showed up that was numbered 4000-4600.  And on Friday, ONLY ONE PERSON who was in the 1000-2000 group testified!


PLEASE make the final pitch!  Anyone who submitted testimony and who received a number MUST SHOW UP ON MONDAY TO TESTIFY!  If they cannot make it, please find someone to show up on that person's "behalf." So for example, if John Doe has a number but cannot testify because he's at work, he has Jane Smith show up on his behalf and read his testimony.  Jane is NOT REPLACING John's testimony with her own but is reading his testimony to the group in order to waste time!  If you organize people from your churches who can stay at the capitol all day and "read testimony" on behalf of others, that may be a start.

House leaders have said that they felt it was important to give everyone a chance to speak on the marriage equality bill.

But the House has set a precedent that could be used by other interest groups that might find reasons to want to slow the legislative process to a crawl, particularly around important procedural deadlines during the regular session.

21 Responses to “`People's filibuster'”

  1. KKawa:

    No way around it in a democracy. But it is pretty crass when the leader states: "Jane is NOT REPLACING John's testimony with her own but is reading his testimony to the group in order to waste time !"

  2. Bigislandkurt:


  3. thefarm:

    Losing makes bullies freak out.

  4. Auto de Fe:

    Ban heterosexuals from speaking or appearing in public. It is the only way to reach the gay new world order.

  5. Kolea:

    I am unaware of ANY other state which has allowed thousands of people to testify in an extended hearing like this. The legislative leadership is bending over backwards to make a good faith effort to allow everyone who signed up to speak out. Even if their testimony adds nothing new. This is EXTRAordinary.

    But the good faith of the legislature is being met with bad faith from the opponents of equality and, unfortunately, some legislators like Marcus Oshiro who is advising them to do whatever they can to slow down and disrupt the process.

    The legislative leadership is under no obligation to allow people to read the testimony of people who are absent. The chairs of the committee have provided two opportunities for the witnesses to show up in person, their written testimony has been accepted and is part of the record. I hope the chair, given this evidence of BAD FAITH on the part of the leaders of the opposition, will keep a grip on the reins and, using a light hand, guide the horse back into the stable in time to vote on amendments and pass out the bill this evening.

    Complaints about a "lack of democracy" or any attempt to "rush this bill through in special session" are empty and, frankly, have been disproven by the actual workings of the session, devoted almost entirely to deliberation over this one bill, affording it more attention and "due diligence" than it would receive in a regular session, where it would compete with THOUSANDS of other bills.

    The opponents' talking points on both "process" and "substance" have been shown to be false. And, frankly, deliberately so to the point I think it is fair to say many in the opposition are consciously lying in the hope of getting their way. But the vote WILL pass, with slightly expanded religious exceptions.

  6. Mr. T:

    This reminds me of the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Except in this case, it is "The People of Hawaii Goes to the Capital".

  7. ohiaforest3400:

    The are boundless opportunities to observe irony in these proceedings.

    Some, or many, frequently refer to the their constitutional right to speak at the hearing. A little knowledge goes a long way for them (and not very far for the nearly incoherent Jo Jordan as she attempts to parrot "legal" questions being fed to her by Marcus and others). Trouble is, there is no constitutional to testify at this or any other legislative hearing. Many, if not most states, and Congress as well, do not allow any and everyone to testify if they wish. Most are tightly scripted affairs with carefully selected lists of invited witnesses. Of course, we all have a constitutional right to write, call, and visit our elected representatives. Testify? Not so much.

    It's also quite amazing to see so many opponents spend most or all of their time testifying how the special session is denying them their right to participate in the process, even as they are participating in the process. Incredibly, they say this with a straight face and sometimes never get around to testifying about their substantive objections to the bill. Perhaps that's because they realize that their arguments are unconvincing and would rather play the victim, instead.

    And finally, in the irony coupled with raw political cynicism department, you have Marcus acting like a circus clown, jumping up and down to complain about a process that has been far more transparent, inclusive, and participatory that anything he ever conducted as a committee chair, particularly at Finance. While his wife may be opposed to the bill, it's not likely Marcus really cares one way or the other. Instead, he sees an opportunity to exploit the controversy to make the case that HE should be Speaker. Buffoonish behavior, really. As was once said of Arnold Morgado in reference to his football playing days, Marcus appears to have sustained one to many blows to the head, in his case resulting from surfing wipeouts or the indiscretions of a youth spent doing the party hearty.

    And we've barely reached half time . . . . .

  8. Keith Rollman:

    I find it a little hypocritical that some act like they're doing the citizens a favor by allowing them testify after snookering them on the original constitutional amendment. The people not only should be testifying on this issue, but voting on it as well with a clearly worded constitutional amendment. I think what they are trying to tell us by their "redundant" testimony is that the Governor and his cohorts have stolen the democratic process from them and they want it back.

  9. scott foster:

    I wonder who Keith Rollman aka "Atomic Monkey" is working for now? Who's paying you this time Keith?

  10. Especially Incognito:

    Let the people speak. Let them speak twice.
    Watch them contradict their original speech.

    Again (I pity the fool)s.

  11. Keith Rollman:

    Scott, Please enjoy the attached cartoon. Unlike our state government, no one paid for it: http://atomicmonkey.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/crappy-in-house-cartoon-34/

  12. Especially Incognito:

    "This is a decision that should not be made by one person sitting in her office or by members of the Majority Party behind closed doors in a legislative caucus, but by all the people of Hawaii behind the curtain of the voting booth." linda lingle.

    Transparency is why we have NSA. The government was questioned
    about it's transparency and it became a transparency of the people.
    Anything wrong is the people's fault. Contrary backfires.

  13. Skeptic:

    Marcus Oshiro seems to think he's been born again as a Republican member of the U.S. Senate. Delay for the sake of delay, obstruction for the sake of obstruction. As with the Republicans in D.C., Oshiro and his friends need to win some more elections if they want their views to prevail. Otherwise, they should (concisely) state their case, then get out of the way.

  14. ohiaforest3400:

    Mr. Rollman, either you are insulting the intelligence of those who voted "Yes" in 1998 or they really are as stupid as some of them appear in their testimony.

    The question posed in 1998 read as follows: "Shall the Constitution of the State of Hawaii be amended to specify that the legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples?"

    That language is as plain as it gets. If they didn't understand it or didn't want to let the legislature decide, they should have voted "No." But I guess that's what happens when people decide on belief rather than fact: they see what they want to see.

  15. Especially Incognito:

    Those should voice their opinions
    and be heard in public.

  16. ohiaforest3400:

    Now having read the delusional lawsuit filed by your employer, which displays a pathetically inept, or deceptive, reading of the language of the constitutional amendment legislation, I guess you are saying that it is Rep. McDermott who is stupid. Or that he is a liar. Or both. Or maybe he is just Eric Ryan in Big Boy clothing.

  17. Keith Rollman:

    The wording of the 1998 ballot question is only "clear" to those still trying to sell the deception.

  18. ohiaforest3400:

    Funny, you don't dispute what the ballot question says. I guess you can't because it's plain -- no. "clear" -- on its face, at least to anyone who isn't in complete denial. In any event, the court will have the last word when it dismisses your boss' frivolous lawsuit. Don't be surprised if that includes an order for him to pay costs, as well.

  19. Especially Incognito:

    I am a boss too. I pay taxes to those in legislature and involved.
    "Special" sessions are more taxing mentally and money wise.

  20. ohiaforest3400:

    More history:

    The constitutional amendment that was approved in November 1998 was proposed by a bill (HB 117) that passed the legislature in 1997, a full 18 months earlier. Its purpose section states, in relevant part, that:

    "The legislature finds that the unique social institution of marriage involving the legal relationship of matrimony between a man and a woman is a protected relationship of fundamental and unequaled importance to the State, the nation, and society. The legislature further finds that the question of whether or not the State should issue marriage licenses to couplers of the same sex is a fundamental policy issue to be decided by the elected representatives of the people. This constitutional measure is thus designed to confirm that he legislature has the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples and to ensure that THE LEGISLATURE WILL REMAIN OPEN TO THE PETITIONS OF THOSE WHO SEEK TO CHANGE THE MARRIAGE LAWS, AND THAT SUCH PETITUIONERS CAN BE CONSIDERED ON AN EQUAL BASIS WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE A CHANGE IN THE CURRENT MARRIAGE STATUTES." (emphasis added)

    There has never been any secret that the legislature was constitutionally reserving to itself the power to define marriage and that it likewise reserved the power to revisit the issue, which is exactly what it is now doing.

    If anyone was snookered, the snookering was done by the opponents of marriage equality (or SSM or whatever you want to call it), the churches in particular. In their campaign to gain passage of the amendment, they pitched the battle as moral armageddon, perpetuating and exploiting the ignorance of the electorate, and the fear it breeds.

    Well, here we are, again. Karma's a b!tch, huh?

  21. Especially Incognito:

    People, I want you to meet ENDA.
    Republicans want to end, ENDA.

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