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Kauai charter could become more difficult to alter

April 30, 2014 - 12:05am

LIHUE, Kauai — A Kauai Charter Review Commission member wants to make it tougher to alter the county’s charter.

Commission Vice Chair Jan TenBruggencate has introduced a proposal that would quadruple the number of signatures required to petition an amendment to the charter. He wants to change the amount of signatures from 5 percent to 20 percent of registered voters.

The commission discussed and deferred the proposal for one month, the Garden Island reported Tuesday.

“My fundamental point is that changing the county charter — the basic organizational document of county government — ought to be harder than passing a law,” TenBruggencate said. “And currently in the County of Kauai, at least with respect to getting things on the ballot, it’s the opposite way.”

He said there have been instances where the charter amendment process has been used to pass something that should have been an initiative.

Petitioning an amendment with the proper amount of signatures puts an item on the ballot for voters to consider.

Commissioner Ed Justus said he can’t imagine voters backing something that makes it harder to change their government.

“I don’t think it has a chance of passing at all,” he said. “It’s counterintuitive to the American thinking.”

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