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System of Government

System of Government
Key Institutions of the Hawaiian Government
Legislative Government
The Rule of Law and the Courts
Hawaiian Kingdom Supreme Court

Legislative Government

The Legislative Department of the Kingdom is composed of the Monarch, the Nobles, and the Representatives, each of whom has a negative on the other, and in whom is vested full power to make all manner of wholesome laws. They judge for the welfare of the nation, and for the necessary support and defense of good government, provided it is not repugnant or contrary to the Constitution.

The Nobles sit together with the elected Representatives of the people in what is referred to as the House of the Legislative Assembly. Nobles cannot exceed thirty (30) in number, and the Representatives cannot be less than twenty-four (24), nor exceed forty (40) in number. In the House, each Noble and Representative is entitled to one vote.

The people elect Representatives from twenty-five (25) districts in the Kingdom. Elections occur biennially and each elected Representative has a two (2) year term. Unlike the Nobles, Representatives are compensated for their term in office.

Representation of the People is based upon the principle of equality, and is regulated and apportioned by the Legislature according to the population, which is ascertained from time to time by the official census.

At the opening of the Legislative Assembly, the members elect a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Sergeant-at-Arms. The President then appoints members to the following standing committees:

  1. Committee on Foreign Relations
  2. Committee on Finance
  3. Committee on Military
  4. Committee on Public Lands and Internal Improvements
  5. Sanitary Committee
  6. Committee on Education
  7. Committee on Commerce, Agriculture and Manufactures
  8. Committee on Accounts
  9. Committee on Judiciary
  10. Committee on Enrollment

In the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Monarch does not sit in the Legislative Assembly, but the Cabinet Ministers do as ex officio Nobles. All the Ministers of the Cabinet are responsible for a specific portfolio related to an area of public concern.

In the Legislative Assembly, the Ministers of the Cabinet are held accountable by the members of the House for misconduct or maladministration in their offices. The Representatives have the sole power of impeachment, and the Nobles have the sole power to try all impeachments.

Making Laws

Any member of the Legislative Assembly can introduce a petition, memorial, resolution or bill. The Minister of Finance is responsible for submitting the Financial Budget to the House on the first day of the meeting of the Legislative Assembly.

Petitions, Memorials, etc.

All petitions, memorials and other papers, addressed to the House, is presented by the President, or by a member in his place, and is endorsed with the name of the person presenting it, and the subject matter of the same.

A brief statement of the contents of such petitions, memorials, or other papers are made verbally by the introducer, before it is received and read at the table.

Every petition, memorial, or other paper, is referred, of course, by the President, without putting a question for that purpose, unless the reference is objected to by a member at the time such petition, memorial, or other paper is presented.

No such petition, memorial, or other paper shall be debated on the day it is presented, unless by the unanimous consent of the House.

The House entertains no Resolution until it has been reduced to writing with the date of presentation and name of the mover affixed.

Of Bills

Every Bill is introduced on the report of a Committee, or by motion for leave to introduce a bill; but no bill is entertained by the House until the same has been presented in both the English and Hawaiian languages.

One day’s notice, at least, is given of an intended motion for leave to bring in a bill by its title; and the motion is made, and the bill introduced, if leave is given, when the resolutions are called for.

Every bill receives three several reading previous to its being passed; and the President gives notice at each, whether it be the first, second or third, which reading shall be on three different days, unless the House unanimously direct otherwise.

The first reading of the bill is for information; and, if opposition be made to it, the question would be “Shall this bill be rejected?” If no opposition is made, or if the question to reject is negated, the bill goes to its second reading without a question.

Upon the second reading of a bill, the President states it as ready for commitment or engrossment; and, if committed, then the question will be, whether to a Select or Standing Committee, or to a committee of the whole House, the House will determine on what day; if no motion be made to commit, the question will be stated on its engrossment, and if it is not ordered to be engrossed on the day of its being reported, it will be placed in the general file, on the President’s table, to be take up in its order. But if the bill is ordered to be engrossed, the House will appoint a day when it will be read a third time.

When a bill passes, the Clerk, noting the day of its passage at the foot thereof, certifies it.

Of Committees of the Whole House

When a bill or other matter has been referred to a Committee of the whole House, the President, on motion made and seconded, will put the question that the House do now resolve into a Committee of the Whole to take into consideration such a matter, naming it. If this question is decided in the affirmative, the President will leave his chair, first naming some member to act as Chairman of the Committee.

When a bill is referred to a Committee of the Whole, the bill will first be read throughout by the Clerk, and then again read and debated by clauses, leaving the preamble to be last considered. The body of the bill will not be defaced or interlined, but all amendments, noting the page and line, will be duly entered by the Clerk on a separate paper, as the same will be agreed to by the Committee, and so reported.

Signing into Law

When a resolution or bill has passed the Legislative Assembly it is ready for signature by the Monarch. When a resolution or bill is signed it will have the force of law unless it contains a provision that it, or some of its provisions, should come into force on a specific day or on a day to be fixed by order of the Monarch.

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