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AG Herkes Opinion Reapportionment

AG Herkes Opinion Reapportionment

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Opinion from Attorney General David Louie on inclusion of nonresident populations groups for purposes of redistricting.
Opinion from Attorney General David Louie on inclusion of nonresident populations groups for purposes of redistricting.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Star-Advertiser Politics on Jul 21, 2011
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05/12/2014

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NEILABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR
DAVIDM.LOUIE
ATTORNEYGENERAL
STATEOFHAWAII
RUSSELL
A.
SUZUKI
FIRSTDEPUTYATTORNEYGENERAL
DEPARTMENTOFTHEATTORNEYGENERAL
425QUEENSTREETHONOLULU.HAWAII96813
(808)586-0618
July19,2011TheHonorableRobertN.HerkesRepresentative,FifthDistrictTwenty-SixthLegislatureStateCapitol,Room320415SouthBeretaniaStreetHonolulu,Hawaii96813VIAEMAILANDA.G.MESSENGERDearRepresentativeHerkes:Re:2011ReapportionmentCommission'sDecisionrePopulationBaseThisrespondstoyourJuly1,2011memorandumrequestingtheAttorneyGeneraltoprovideawrittenopiniononthefollowinglegalquestions:(1)Isthe2011HawaiiReapportionmentCommission'sJune28,2011decisiontoincludenon-residentmilitarypersonnelandtheirfamilies,sentencedfelons,andnon-residentcollegestudentstore-drawstatelegislativedistrictlinesconstitutionalandwithinthespiritofthe1992amendmentstotheHawaiiStateConstitutionArticleIV,sections4and6,andtoitslegislativehistory(includingthecommitteereportsandtestimony
in
supportofH.B.2327SessionLawsofHawaii1992);and(2)IstheCommission'sJune28,2011decisiontoincludenon-residentmilitarypersonnelandtheirfamilies,sentencedfelons,andnon-residentcollegestudentsunlawfuland/oranabuseofdiscretionunderCitizensforEquitableandResponsibleGovernmentv.CountyofHawaii,108Hawai'i318,120P.3d217(2005)andDupreev.Hiraga,121Hawai'i297,219P.3d1084(2009).11Whileyouhaveaskedtwoseparatequestions,yourquestionsraiseessentiallythesameissuewhichis:whethertheReapportionmentCommissionactedlawfullywhenitdecidedtoincludemilitarypersonnelandtheirfamilies,sentencedfelonsandcollegestudentsinthepopulationbase.Wethereforeanswerbothofyourquestionstogether.WithregardtoyourreferencetoDupreev.Hiraga,121Haw.297,219P.3d1084(2009),wedonotbelievethatcaseisrelevanttothereapportionmentissueyouhaveraised.InDupree,thecourtconstruedHaw.Rev.Stat.§11-13whichsetsforththerulesfordeterminingresidencyforvotingpurposesonly.
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TheHonorableRobertN.HerkesJuly19,2011Page2BecausetheReapportionmentCommission'sTimelinemakesprovisionsfortheCommission'sproposedplantobecorrectedormodifiedafterpublichearingsarecompletedinSeptember,wedonotnowknowforcertain,norcanweassumethattheCommissionwillincludeidentifiablenonresidents·inthepopulationbaseitusestopreparethe2011reapportionmentplanitfiles.WethereforesuggestthatitisprematuretopassuponthelawfulnessoftheCommission'svotetousetheU.S.CensuspopulationcountastheresidentpopulationbaseforStateredistrictingatthistime?However,basedupontheHawaiiSupremeCourt'sdecisioninCitizensandthelegislativehistorytothe1992amendmenttoarticleIVoftheStateConstitution,itappearsthattheHawaiiSupremeCourtwouldlikelyholdthattotheextenttheyareidentifiable,nonresidentcollegestudentsandnon-residentmilitarymembersandtheirfamiliescannotproperlybeincludedinthereapportionmentpopulationbasetheCommissionusestodrawthelegislativedistrictlinesthisyear.DISCUSSIONTheminutesfromtheReapportionmentCommission'sopenmeetingonJune28,2011indicatethattheCommissionpassedthefollowingmotionbyavoteof8-1:"thattheCommissionusetheU.S.CensuspopulationcountasresidentpopulationbaseforStateredistricting."Seepp.11and22.Baseduponthisvoteandthewidely-heldunderstandingthattheU.S.Censuspopulationcountincludeseverypersonpresentinastatewhenthecensusistaken,irrespectiveofwhethertheyareresidentsofthatstate,itappearsthatthepopulationbasetheCommissionvotedtousetodrawlegislativedistrictlineswill,asamatteroffact,includemorethanonly"permanentresidents"oftheState.ArticleIV,section4oftheHawaiiStateConstitutionprovides:Thecommissionshallallocatethetotalnumberofmembersofeachhouseofthestatelegislaturebeingreapportionedamongthefourbasicislandunitsnamely:(1)theislandofHawaii,(2)theislandsofMaui,Lanai,Molokai,andKahoolawe,(3)theislandofOahuandallotherislandsnotspecificallyenumerated,and(4)theislandsofKauaiandNiihau,usingthetotalnumberofpermanentresidentsineachofthebasicislandunitsandcomputedbythemethod
2
Wenotealsothatarticle,IV,section10oftheStateConstitutionprovides:MandamusandJudicialReviewSection10.OriginaljurisdictionisvestedinthesupremecourtoftheStatetobeexercisedonthepetitionofanyregisteredvoterwherebyitmaycompel,bymandamusorotherwise,theappropriatepersonorpersonstoperformtheirdutyortocorrectanyerrormadeinareapportionmentplan,or
it
maytakesuchotheractiontoeffectuatethepurposesofthissectionasitmaydeemappropriate.Anysuchpetitionshallbefiledwithinforty-fivedaysofthedatespecifiedforanydutyorwithinforty-fivedaysafterthefilingofareapportionmentplan.
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TheHonorableRobertN.HerkesJuly19,2011Page3knownasthemethodofequalproportions;exceptthatnobasicislandunitshallreceivelessthanonememberineachhouse.(Emphasisadded.)Theterm"permanentresident"isnotdefinedintheStateConstitution.However,arecentrulingbytheHawaiiSupremeCourtisinstructiveinthisregard.
In
CitizensforEquitableandResponsibleGovernmentv.CountyofHawaiLetal.,108Haw.318,120P.3d217(2005),theHawaiiSupremeCourtinterpretedtheterm"residentpopulation"asthattermisusedintheHawaiiCountyChartertodecidewhethermilitarypersonnelandcollegestudentswereproperlyincludedinthepopulationbaseforreapportioningitscountycouncil.RelyingonBlack'sLawDictionary,thecourtstatedthatthecommondefinitionoftheword"resident"is:[a]nypersonwhooccupiesadwellingwithintheState,has
apresentintenttoremainwithintheStateforaperiodoftime,andmanifeststhegenuinenessofthatintent
byestablishinganongoingphysicalpresencewithintheStatetogetherwithindiciathathispresencewithinStateis
somethingotherthanmerelytransitoryinnature.
108Haw.at323,120P.3dat222(italicsprovided;citationsomitted).Accordingtothecourt,"[t]hisdefinitionof'resident'wouldexcludeanypersonwhodidnotexhibitapresentintenttoremainwithin[theState]formorethanatransitoryperiod."Id.Thecourtthenobservedthatgenerallyspeaking,"thetransitorynatureofmilitarypersonnelfromoutside[theState]isapparent"becausemilitarypersonnelaretemporarilystationedinHawaii,havelittlesayinthelocationoftheirassignments,arepresentinHawaiiinvoluntarily,and"seeminglylackapresentintenttoremaininthecounty."Id.Finally,thecourtwrote:TheCharteremploysthephrase"residentpopulations"whichindicatesthatthedraftersoftheCharterintendedtolimitthepopulationbasetoresidentsofHawai'iCounty.Thosewholiveinthecountytemporarilyforeducationalpurposesorthosewholiveinthecountyinvoluntarilybecauseorderedtodosowouldseeminglylackapresentintenttoremaininthecounty,renderingtheirstay"transitoryinnature.t'''Logically,thedraftersoftheCharterwouldnothavemodifiedtheword"population"bytheadjective"resident"or,ontheotherhand,
3
In
afootnotethecourtallowed:Obviously,apersonwhootherwiseostensiblyfallswithinsuchcategoriesbutestablishesapresentintenttoremaininthecountyandexhibitsindiciathathisorherpresenceissomethingotherthanmerelytransitorymayestablishresidentstatus.
SeeBlack'sLawDictionary
at1309.
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