“Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to establish procedures governing legislative investigating committees to provide for the creation and operation of legislative investigating committees in a manner which will enable them to perform properly the powers and duties vested in them, including the conduct of hearings, in a fair and impartial manner, consistent with protection of the constitutional rights of persons called to testify at such hearings and preservation of the public good” (Hawaii Revised Statutes §21-1).
“Definitions. As used in this chapter:
“‘Hearing’ means any meeting in the course of an investigatory proceeding, other than a preliminary conference or interview at which no testimony is taken under oath, conducted by an investigating committee for the purpose of taking testimony or receiving other evidence. A hearing may be open to the public or closed to the public.
“‘Investigating committee’ means any of the following which are authorized to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of books, records, papers, and documents for the purpose of securing information on a specific subject for the use of the legislature:
- “A standing or special or select committee or committee of the whole of either house of the legislature;
- “A joint committee of both houses;
- “An authorized subcommittee of a legislative committee; and
- “Any body created by law, the members of which may include nonlegislators.
“‘Public hearing’ means any hearing open to the public, or the proceedings of which are made available to the public” (Hawaii Revised Statutes §21-2).
- “(a) An investigating committee may hold hearings appropriate for the performance of its duties, at such times and places as the committee determines.
- “(b) The committee shall provide by its rules that each member of the committee be given at least three days written notice of any hearing to be held when the legislature is in session and at least seven days written notice of any hearing to be held when the legislature is not in session. The notices shall include a statement of the subject matter of the hearing. A hearing, and any action taken at a hearing, shall not be deemed invalid solely because notice of the hearing was not given in accordance with this requirement.
- “(c) Any investigating committee shall not conduct a hearing unless a quorum is present” (Hawaii Revised Statutes §21-7).
“Issuance of subpoenas.
- “(a) The president or speaker or other presiding officer of either house of the legislature may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of books, documents, or other evidence, in any matter pending before either house, or committee, as the case may be.
- “(b) Every investigating committee, when authorized by either house or both houses, as the case may be, may issue, by majority vote of all its members, subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of books, documents, or other evidence, in any matter pending before the committee.
- “(c) A person subpoenaed to attend a hearing of an investigating committee shall receive the same fees and allowances as a person legally required to attend upon a circuit court or a grand jury in any criminal case pursuant to section 621-7.
- “(d) Any subpoena, warrant of arrest or other process issued under the authority of any house or of both houses of the legislature shall run in the name of the State of Hawaii and shall be addressed to any or all of the following officers: the sergeant-at-arms of either house of the legislature; the sergeant-at-arms of both houses of the legislature, in the case of a subpoena issued in behalf of a joint committee of both houses; the sheriff or the sheriff’s deputies; the chief of police of any county or the chief’s deputies; any police officer of the State or any county. The subpoena, warrant or other process shall be signed by the officer authorized to issue it, shall set forth the officer’s official title, shall contain a reference to the rule, or concurrent, or other resolution, or other means, by which the taking of testimony or other evidence, or the issuance of such warrant or other process, was authorized, and shall, in the case of a summons or subpoena, set forth in general terms the matter or question with reference to which the testimony or other evidence is to be taken.
- “(e) Any officer to whom such process is directed, if within the officer’s territorial jurisdiction, shall forthwith serve or execute the same upon delivery thereof to the officer, without charge or compensation, except as provided in section 21-8(f).
- “(f) The house, or both houses of the legislature in the case of a subpoena or process issued by a joint committee, shall compensate or reimburse any officer serving or executing the subpoena or process for the officer’s actual expenses, if any, in connection therewith” (Hawaii Revised Statutes §21-8).
Full chapter of statutes on legislative hearings and procedures is available here.
House Rules #
“The Speaker, and every investigating committee under chapter 21, Hawaii Revised Statutes, may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses or production of evidence in any matter before the House or its committees pursuant to chapter 21, Hawaii Revised Statutes” (House Rule 55.1).
“Any member of the House may administer oaths to witnesses in any matter pending in the House or in any committee of the House” (House Rule 55.2).
Senate Rules #
“Committees: Fact-finding and Content of Reports.
- “Whenever any matter shall be referred to a committee it shall be the duty of the committee to make diligent inquiry into all of the facts and circumstances connected with the matter. If necessary, witnesses shall be summoned or subpoenaed, and everything shall be done to bring all facts pertaining to the matter before the Senate in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 21 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes. The President may exercise such powers authorized under Chapter 21, relating to the issuance of subpoenas, and the President, committee chair and other duly delegated members of the Senate may exercise such powers authorized under Chapter 21 aforesaid, relating to the administering of oaths, and the compelling of witnesses who have been subpoenaed to testify. All committee meetings held on matters referred to it by the Senate shall be open to the public unless otherwise ordered by the Senate or otherwise provided by these Rules.
- “The report of the committee shall state findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, together with a distinct recommendation as to the disposal of that matter. A report recommending a measure for passage shall clearly state the legislative intent and purpose of the measure.
- “The report shall also include the identity of organizations or titles of individuals representing organizations who submitted testimony on legislation for, against or comments only on the measure. A summary of any individual or individuals who submit testimony as private citizens shall also be provided” (Senate Rule 25).