Council committees responsible for vetting legislation

As County Council chairwoman, I have the privilege of presiding over meetings when final action is taken on bills and resolutions to establish policy for the County of Maui.

Bills and resolutions are typically vetted in the council’s eight standing committees. Indeed, the committee level is where most serious legislative deliberations should (and usually do) occur.

As the Rules of the Council state, “The purpose of the standing committees is to provide well-considered recommendations to the council on all bills, resolutions and other legislative matters referred to the standing committees by the council.” The council established its current committees by adopting Resolution 13-4 on Jan. 2, the first day of the council term.

Exhibiting mutual respect and the desire for collaboration, the council voted unanimously to provide all nine council members with presiding officer duties. While I chair the full council, each of my eight colleagues chairs a committee.

Council Member Mike White (Makawao/Haiku/Paia) chairs the Budget and Finance Committee, presiding over the annual budget session each spring. The BF committee also reviews budget amendments submitted by the administration during the fiscal year and has jurisdiction over the finance and personnel services departments.

The Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee is chaired by Council Member Don S. Guzman (Kahului). As Council Member Guzman has previously outlined here (“Chair’s 3 Minutes,” June 10, 2013), the EAR committee has a wide-ranging portfolio, including renewable energy, food security, recreational facilities, business support and cultural issues.

Social services are the realm of the Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee, chaired by Council Member Stacy Crivello (Molokai). The HHT committee has been reviewing the Residential Workforce Housing Policy, Hale Makana O Waiale Rental Rehabilitation Facility management and Maui Bus operations.

Council Member Elle Cochran (West Maui) chairs the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee. Road maintenance, traffic safety, recycling, ecological protection and construction codes are within the IEM committee’s wide domain.

The Land Use Committee, chaired by Council Vice Chairman Robert Carroll (East Maui), handles applications for development approvals that have been submitted to the Department of Planning. The LU committee’s workload includes proposed project-specific zoning changes and community plan amendments and expedited affordable-housing projects.

The Planning Committee helps establish zoning and general plan standards, guiding future development on Lanai, Maui and Molokai. Council Member Donald G. Couch Jr. (South Maui), a former deputy planning director, oversees the PC committee.

Council Member G. Riki Hokama (Lanai) chairs the Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, which is tasked with considering proposed legal settlements and nominations to boards and commissions and interaction among the state, county and federal governments. The PIA committee also has jurisdiction over investigations, operations of many executive branch departments and legislative management.

The Water Resources Committee is chaired by Council Member Michael P. Victorino (Wailuku/Waihee/Waikapu), a former chairman of the Board of Water Supply. This term, the WR committee has focused on legislation relating to conservation and drought conditions.

After the council refers legislation to the appropriate subject matter committee, the committee will conduct one or more meetings on the matter. The committee makes recommendations to the council – pass, pass with amendments or file (kill the proposal) – in the form of committee reports that are listed on council meeting agendas.

This week’s council meeting agenda includes several committee reports. Check out the agenda and the reports at and let us know what you think in the council chamber or the Hana, Lanai or Molokai district office on Friday at 9 a.m.

A hui hou.

* Gladys C. Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council and holds the Council’s Pukalani/Kula/Ulupalukua area residency seat. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.