The Hawaiʻi State Senate is scheduled to convene its second special session of 2020 to review Governor David Ige’s appointment for a vacancy on the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald’s appointment to the District Family Court of the Fifth Circuit.
Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court Associate Justice Richard Pollack retired in June after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70; the special session will consider the Governor’s appointment of First Circuit Court Judge Todd Eddins to fill the vacancy.
The Senate will also consider the Chief Justice's appointment of Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Char to fill a new District Family Court judge position in the Fifth Circuit, which encompasses the islands of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.
In preparation for this special session, the Chief Justice administered the oath of office on November 5 to the fourteen members of the Senate who were recently elected in the general election. Four of the fourteen members participated via Zoom; marking the first time that the oath of office was administered to members of the Senate virtually.
The process will begin with a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, chaired by Senator Karl Rhoads and vice chaired by Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, on Monday, November 16 2020, beginning at 1:00 p.m.
The Senate will be welcoming live remote public testimony via videoconference, as the Capitol building remains closed to the public due to COVID-19. This remote testimony option will also allow neighbor island residents to testify without traveling to Honolulu.
Members of the public who wish to testify via videoconference should use the Legislature's website (www.capitol.hawaii.gov) to submit their written testimony and select "yes" when asked if they will be testifying remotely for the hearing. Written testimony is required to participate via videoconference and must be submitted at least 24 hours before the hearing. Additional information and details are on the hearing notice and capitol website.
The Senate will convene in a floor session on Wednesday, November 18 at 10:00 a.m. This will be followed by a separate decision-making meeting of the Judiciary Committee at 10:30 a.m. Final Senate votes on the appointments are expected on Thursday, November 19 at 11:30 a.m.
To allow access to the proceedings while the State Capitol building is closed to the public, the Senate will live stream all Senate hearings and floor sessions over the internet. Selected proceedings will also be broadcasted on ‘Ōlelo and neighbor island cable networks. The public is encouraged to participate by submitting written testimony or testifying remotely. No in-person testimony will be allowed at this time due to COVID-19.
This special session will only address the two pending judicial appointments.