POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 16, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 01:37 a.m. HST, Jan 16, 2011
Hawaii's 76 legislators reluctantly gathered at the State Capitol this morning for the opening ceremonies of Hawaii's Seventh State Legislature.
The increasingly troublesome energy crisis, the fear of voter reaction to the Watergate scandal and the possibility of having to raise taxes during an election year combined to make many State lawmakers feel more comfortable in a lion's den than in the political arena.
Both chambers were decorated with hundreds of Island flower arrangements — traditional on opening day. Proud families, friends and supporters sat behind their legislators for the colorful opening ceremonies.
In the House, the Kamehameha Boys' Concert Glee Club presented its traditional pageant of the Islands depicted in song and dance. Across the way, in the Senate, Waikiki entertainer Nephi Hannemann brought Jimmy Borges, Danny Kaleikini, Cal Robertson, Zulu and Myra English to perform for the 25 senators.
Legislators watched the ceremonies, but their minds were on the hard 60-day session just starting. Besides the outside problems imposed on the legislators, members of both houses expect to be caught up in struggles for control of the legislature.
House Speaker Tadao Beppu faces an almost certain vote of confidence this week as he tries to put together a slim 26-vote Democratic majority in his 51-member House.
And in the Senate, David C. McClung, an all-but-announced candidate for governor, is not expected to return next year as a senator and his position as senate president is up for grabs. ...
McClung said the Senate isn't going "to play it safe" this year and expects to take stands on several issues, including foreign investments, welfare costs and the energy crisis.