Speaker Souki Issues Reprimand Letter to Rep Hanohano

March 6, 2014, 2:24 PM HST · Updated March 6, 2:56 PM
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Rep. Hanohano. Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi State Legislature.

Rep. Hanohano. Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi State Legislature.

By Wendy Osher

A letter of reprimand was delivered to state Representative Faye Hanohano of Hawaiʻi Island today, calling her conduct at public hearings “intimidating,” “unacceptable,” and “in violation of the House Code of Legislative Conduct.”

The letter was signed by House Speaker Joseph Souki of Maui and states that after investigation, he found complaints to be valid concerning Rep. Hanohano’s conduct at certain public committee meetings.

The complaints were filed by William Aila Jr., chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and Lewis Edward Aarin Jacobs.

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In his letter, Speaker Souki said the content of the complaints is “substantially accurate,” and that the behavior displayed was, “disruptive to our workplace.”

The letter further states, “Your conduct during the public hearings was intimidating and displayed, at a minimum, a lack of respect and courtesy, and would lead an impartial observer to agree that your references to age and ethnicity lessened public confidence in the integrity of the House of Representatives.”

As Speaker of the House, Souki said he has a “duty to take action to deter a recurrence of similar behavior.”

Speaker Souki said that despite being assured by Rep. Hanohano that future conduct would be “fair, without rancor, and with respect,” he said he believes that the formal public reprimand the letter represents, “is insufficient to prevent the recurrence of the disruptive behavior, unless it is accompanied by the threat of a loss of all committee assignments.”

On that note, he informed Rep. Hanohano that her conduct during the remainder of the legislative session would be monitored by leadership.

If a future incident of similar nature is confirmed “at the Capitol or elsewhere,” Speaker Souki said he will immediately remove her from all committee assignments, and will refer the matter to the House for further disciplinary action.

We contacted Rep. Hanohano’s office for comment on the letter of reprimand shortly after it was released, but staff told us that “she has no comment at this time.”

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