On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the Judiciary and Labor Committee of the Hawaii State Senate will be conducting a public hearing and taking testimony on S.B. 286, a measure which amends a state statute to define "permanent resident" as used in state reapportionment and redistricting as "any person counted as a usual resident of the state of Hawaii in the last preceding United States census."
Currently, under the Hawaii Supreme Court's decision in Solomon v. Abercrombie, 126 Haw. 283, 270 P.3d 1013 (2012), "permanent resident" is defined as "domiciliary," which means that to be considered a permanent resident of Hawaii, a person must have a physical presence plus have exhibited an "intent to remain."
As you may well know, we represent the plaintiffs in Kostick v. Nago, No. 12-00184 JMS-LEK-MMM, the case challenging Hawaii's 2012 Reapportionment Plan for violating the Equal Protection Clause (among other things). That case is premised in part on the Plan's application of the "permanent resident" standard to exclude 108,767 military personnel, their families, and university students who do not qualify to pay resident tuition from Hawaii's count of its population. A three-judge federal district court is currently considering cross-motions for summary judgment in that case. More here.
We submitted testimony to the JDL Committee urging passage of S.B. 286, for these reasons:
(1) Equal Protection requires that all persons are counted; (2) "Domicile" (physical presence plus an intent to remain) is impossible to determine for a class of people; (3) Hawaii is the sole state that does not use Census population (with the exception of Kansas, which conducts its own survey of servicemembers’ residence); and (4) federal and county districting use Census population, and doing so for statewide reapportionment would be more cost-effective and efficient.
Read our entire testimony here.