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Proposal for elected attorney general dies at Legislature

Hawaii will remain one of five states where the attorney general is appointed, after the House Judiciary Committee yesterday rejected a proposal to make it an elected position.

The legislation would have asked voters to decide on a constitutional amendment making the state’s chief law enforcement officer a nonpartisan official elected to a four-year term.

“I don’t believe that having this as an elected position improves the quality of legal advice. In fact, I’m concerned about politicization,” Attorney General David Louie told the committee. “Rather than concentrating on what is the right answer, there would be an element of political calculation.”

In other states, attorneys general worry about how their actions will be perceived by the voting public, he said. In Hawaii, the attorney general can focus on the law.

Committee Chairman Gil Keith-Agaran said he tabled the bill because it didn’t draw much public interest.

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