A User's Guide to Hawaii Conference Committees

Nanea Kalani/Civil Beat

The Hawaii Legislature is in conference committee mode, the final hurdle for legislation before heading to state House and Senate floor votes on May 3.

Conference committees work out the disagreements between the House and Senate. But once a bill gets to this stage, it can be very hard to follow what's happening with it.

While there are public hearings for conference committee, they are often short and meaningless — a sort of kabuki dance involving stylized gestures and language. The public is not allowed to testify, and the real decision making is done before senators and representatives sit down at the same table.

As one grizzled veteran of the Capitol told Civil Beat when asked how conference committee works, "Good luck with that one!"

Still, there are ways for citizens to keep track of events and even weigh in on bills of interest.

Welcome to Civil Beat's User's Guide to Conference Committee.

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