After a busy week passing hundreds of bills before a major deadline, Hawaii lawmakers are facing another cutoff to send the final form of constitutional amendments to the governor’s office.
Hawaii lawmakers have until Friday to send all bills that would amend the state Constitution to the governor. That means lawmakers have less than a week to settle disagreements about bills and schedule dozens of proposals for conference committee, a two-week period at the end of the session when the Senate and House must agree to changes in legislation.
Hawaii lawmakers must settle differences on a proposal to establish constitutional rights for crime victims by Friday if it has a chance at becoming part of the Constitution. Also known as Marsy’s Law, the bill would require the state to inform victims and their immediate family of court proceedings and key developments in cases.
The law was named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a University of California, Santa Barbara, student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after Nicholas’ murder, her brother and mother ran into the suspect in a grocery store because authorities failed to notify them that the suspect had been released on bail.
Voters in California were the first to pass the law in 2008. Several states, including Georgia, Kentucky, North Dakota and South Dakota, are considering similar bills this year.
The Hawaii bill was met by opposition from the Hawaii Community Alliance on Prisons and the Hawaii American Civil Liberties Union, which say it could be hard to enforce the bill and it won’t actually address crime victims’ needs.
Yet the bill was met largely with support from agencies and individuals including the Hawaii attorney general’s office, Crime Victim Compensation Commission and Kimberlyn Scott, whose 27-year-old daughter, Carly “Charli” Scott, was reported missing in February 2014.
Charli’s ex-boyfriend, Steven Capobianco, is charged with killing Scott and burning her vehicle to cover up the crime.
Kimberlyn Scott said it is a challenge to stay informed of major developments in the case, and Marsy’s Law would ensure she was told about major developments such as Capobianco’s release or court dates.
“It could make a huge difference to others,” Scott said. “Maybe someone you love.”