This guide will help you understand many of the terms used by Legislators and their staff when conducting the business of the Legislature. The terms are in alphabetical order.
A bill that became a law. It amends existing law by adding to and/or subtracting from what the law currently is.
To alter or change legislation.
A change in a bill or a law, including the Constitution.
A proposed law introduced in the Legislature.
1. A group of legislators made up of either the majority or minority party in the Legislature (e.g., House minority caucus).
2. Meeting with members of the majority or minority caucus. (e.g., "Minority caucus members are caucusing now.")
3. A group of legislators that can be made up of members of any party that discusses and may introduce legislation related to particular issues (e.g., Hawaii Future Caucus, Kupuna Caucus).
The person in charge of a committee.
1. One of two co-equal divisions of the Legislature, which are the House and the Senate.
2. The area where the House and Senate hold their floor sessions.
A group of legislators that meet to vote on bills that fit into certain, specified subjects.
A proposal to express the position of the Legislature. Concurrent resolutions need to pass through both the House and the Senate, but they are not sent to the governor for approval. Concurrent resolutions differ from resolutions in that they require the approval of both chambers of the Legislature, whereas resolutions only require the approval of the chamber they were introduced in. A resolution to express a particular position is often drafted and introduced alongside a resolution in the event that the concurrent resolution is not approved by the chamber it crosses over to.
When a committee makes a decision on what to do with bills it is hearing.
A decision to postpone decision making on a measure, either until a specified time or indefinitely.
The area that a chamber of the Legislature convenes for its session. (e.g., "The bill didn't pass out of committee, but they have enough votes to recall it on the floor during session.")
The area above the floor of a chamber that members of the public can watch legislative proceedings from.
1. A committee meeting to consider bills. (e.g., "Members of the finance committee are in a hearing.")
2. The act of considering measures introduced in the Legislature. (e.g., "The finance committee is hearing a bill on taxes.")
Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS)
A compilation of all of the state laws considered permanent, in that they persist after being executed, though they are subject to being amended and repealed. An example of a law that would not be listed in the Hawaii Revised Statues is a one-time appropriation of money. Such laws would instead be compiled in the Session Laws of Hawaii.
Public notice for a scheduled committee hearing. Information on the notices include the time, date and location of the hearing; the bills that will be heard; the members of the committee(s); and instructions for submitting testimony.
A member of a legislative body, such as a representative.
The caucus with the most amount of members of a political party within a chamber of the Legislature. A party may have a majority in one chamber but a minority in the other.
A bill, resolution or concurrent resolution in the Legislature.
The caucus with the least amount of members of a political party within a chamber of the Legislature. A party may have a minority in one chamber but a majority in the other.
The number of members of a chamber, committee, or other group that must be present before the group may conduct official business, such as vote on a bill.
A break in a floor session or hearing.
A day during the legislative session that does not have a floor session.
A proposal to express the position of the House or Senate chamber. A resolution only needs to pass through the chamber that introduced it and does not get sent to the governor for approval. Resolutions differ from concurrent resolutions in that they only require the approval of the chamber it was introduced in, whereas concurrent resolutions require the approval of both chambers of the Legislature.
The senator elected to lead the Senate by his or her colleagues.
1. An annual convening of the Legislature to introduce, consider and pass measures. Legislative sessions are constitutionally mandated to start on the third Wednesday of January. They typically last until late April or early May, based on a schedule determined by the House and Senate leadership. This is oftentimes referred to as the "regular session" or "legislative session" of a particular year. (e.g., "The Legislature is in session.")
2. A convening of the House or Senate in their respective chambers, typically to vote on measures moving through the Legislature. This is oftentimes referred to as a "floor session." (e.g., "The representative is in session.")
The representative elected to lead the House by his or her colleagues.
A legislative session convened after the adjournment of the year's regular session. A special session can be called by a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House, or by the governor.
To voice your opinion on a measure in writing or in person during a committee hearing.
A stated position or comments on a measure presented to a committee considering a measure. Testimony can be in writing and delivered in person.