Opening Day at the Legislature

Legislative Session is upon us! What does this mean, exactly? Several things; some symbolic, some practical, some supportive. Whatever your reasons, this is a great day to get down to the State Capitol and show your support in democracy, an open and transparent government, various social and environmental justice movements, or just to meet some legislators vis-à-vis.

First off, larger-than-normal turnouts are expected due to the ʻOnipaʻa Kākou events taking place concurrently between ʻIolani Palace and the Capitol Rotunda. This event marks 125 years since the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the removal of Queen Liliʻuokalani from the throne.

Generally speaking, Opening Day at the Legislature starts at 10:00 am, with speeches in both House and Senate chambers. Both will be broadcast on ʻōlelo community media, channels 49 and 55 (more info here).

At 9:00 am, both Kuʻi at the Capitol and an Opening Day Social and Environmental Justice Rally will take place in the Capitol Rotunda (info below).

Several Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi staff and volunteers plan to partake in various events throughout the day. One group will be at the gathering at Kamehameha Statue at 10:15 am, the flag raising at ʻIolani Palace at 10:45 am, and the Hoʻokupu at the Queen Liliʻuokalani Statue at 11:15 am. Another group plans to be at the House floor speeches and another at the Senate floor speeches taking place at 10:00 am. We then plan to convene together and walk the halls in efforts to meet-and-greet legislators in person. Please contact for more information.

Whichever events you decide to turn out for, we look forward to seeing folks down there supporting the community, engaging in civics, and meeting public officials!


Events and Activities

ʻOnipaʻa Kākou events begin at sunrise and continue through the afternoon. More info here.

Kuʻi at the Capitol 9:00 am-3:00 pm. Where 2,000 pounds of kalo will be provided by event organizers and pre-registered participants can pound using their own Papa Kuʻi (pounding boards) and Pohaku Kuʻiʻai (pounding stones). More info here.

Rally at the Capitol 9:00 am. Where you can learn about and show support for various social and environmental justice issues. More info here.

Opening Day at the Legislature 10:00 am. Floor speeches by various legislators, including Senate President and Speaker of the House, are occurring in both chambers. Many legislators are offering open houses throughout the rest of the day, inviting the public to meet them and discuss legislative priorities for this session and other community issues.


Legislative How-Tos: A Refresher

Brush up on engagement how-tos at the links below. Let’s have all hands on deck for tracking important bills and hearings this session!

1. How to receive hearing notices by email

2. Bare basics of writing testimony

3. Tips on communicating with legislators

4. Step-by-step guide on submitting testimony online

5. How to make your voice heard at the Capitol

6. Hawaiʻi State Capitol Website

7. Quick overview of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature

All of this info and more can be found in the Legislative How-Tos tab of the Capitol Watch website.