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Maui lawmaker replaced as chairman of House committee

McKelvey’s handling of bills at issue

McKelvey

State Rep. Angus McKelvey was removed from his position as chairman of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee on Monday amid controversy over how the Maui lawmaker handled certain bills.

Members of the state House of Representatives voted to make Rep. Roy Takumi chairman of the committee in McKelvey’s place. McKelvey will head the Higher Education Committee in place of Central Maui Rep. Justin Woodson, who will serve as chairman of the Education Committee. Takumi had been chairman of the Education Committee.

“This is a mutually agreeable change in committee chairmanships and all the representatives are looking forward to their new responsibilities,” House Speaker and Central Maui Rep. Joe Souki said. “In their new roles, the chairs will continue to do the business of the people.”

McKelvey, whose district covers West Maui and north Kihei, did not respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon. He has been elected to the state House since 2006.

Woodson explained Monday that “some of the members were concerned about how (McKelvey) was handling” the chairmanship position.

Woodson

“As chairs, we are supposed to follow certain protocol,” Woodson said. “I think some of the other legislators felt like that protocol wasn’t followed.”

Woodson acknowledged that he was referring to the “understood, unwritten” type of protocol.

“But I will also say that the Consumer Protection Committee hears a lot of bills,” Woodson said. “Ninety-eight percent of the bills, I would say, the members had no issues with. It was maybe a small handful of bills that was of some concern in terms of how he handled them.”

Woodson did not go into details on which bills caused the political dispute. Civil Beat reported Sunday after talks with anonymous lawmakers that McKelvey had ruffled feathers by changing the dates in which certain bills would become law, without consulting other chairpeople. These bills were related to medical savings, landlord-tenant code and pesticide disclosure requirements.

Last year, Woodson had asked to lead the Education Committee, but the position wasn’t available at the time, he said. With the recent developments, he now heads an important committee that focuses on kindergarten to 12th-grade education.

“It’s unexpected, but I’m very excited about it,” Woodson said. “I would like to see about ways in which we can better support our teachers so that our school system as a whole can be amongst some of the top performing in the nation.”

The Central Maui lawmaker added that McKelvey “is a very capable individual, so he will do well” as chairman of the Higher Education Committee.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.

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