Hawaii’s state constitution was drafted by a convention held in Honolulu in 1950. It was approved by the voters in the same year and went into effect when Hawaii became a state in 1959. Amendments to the constitution may be proposed by a constitutional convention or by the state legislature. To become law, all proposed amendments must be approved by a popular majority constituting at least 35 percent of the total number of registered voters in Hawaii.
The governor, the chief executive of the state, is elected for a four-year term.
Although the governor may veto legislation, the legislature can override a veto by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of each house. The only other popularly elected official in the executive branch is the lieutenant governor, who also holds office for four years. By law the lieutenant governor must be a member of the same political party as the governor. A state auditor is chosen by a majority vote at a joint session of the state legislature, and the governor appoints an administrative director, whose duties are assigned by the governor. The state constitution limits the number of principal executive departments to 20. The heads of the executive departments are appointed by the governor with the consent of the state senate. Their terms of office expire with that of the governor, unless they are replaced before then by the governor.
The state legislature is made up of a 25-member Senate and a 51-member House of Representatives. State senators are elected for four years and state representatives for two years. The state legislature convenes annually at Honolulu for a 60-day session. The governor may extend sessions for 30 days and may also convene 30-day special sessions. The legislature may extend sessions for up to 15 days.
In 1969 Hawaii installed the first ombudsman in the United States elected by any state legislature. The ombudsman (a Swedish word meaning “agent,””representative,” or “deputy”) is authorized to receive and publicize citizen complaints against state and county government agencies. The ombudsman has no power to change decisions made by a governor or mayor, but may criticize publicly any decision considered discriminatory or otherwise unfair. The ombudsman, who may serve a maximum of three six-year terms, can be removed from office only by a two-thirds vote of the legislature in joint session, and only for neglect of duty, misconduct, or disability. "Hawaii" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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