CA legislators traveling to Hawaii for conference, after CA officials urge Californians to not travel out of state

CA legislators traveling to Hawaii for conference, after CA
officials urge Californians to not travel out of state 1

MAUI, HI —It seems as though lawmakers from California, and a handful of other states, are skirting some of the very travel warnings administered by officials in Hawaii due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

The irony is that over 50 people will be gathering for a four-day conference in Hawaii that kicked off on November 16th to discuss various issues via panel discussions – including how to reopen states safely in light of COVID

This vaguely described policy conference, which will be conducted in a manner reminiscent of panel-style discussions reportedly, is being sponsored by the nonprofit group Independent Voter Project. 

According to IVP’s “About” section on their website, the nonprofit describes itself as: 

“[A] 501(c)4 organization that seeks to re-engage nonpartisan voters and promote nonpartisan election reform through initiatives, litigation, and voter education. IVP is best known for authoring California’s successful nonpartisan primary.”

The event itself is going to be hosted at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, which apparently this annual gathering has been criticized before due to various financers and attendees of special interests businesses and labor groups – which are notorious for courting legislators. 

Well, now legislators can add more controversy to the already existing criticisms of the conference due to the national pandemic.

Especially considering that over half a dozen California legislators are attending the conference just days after Governor Gavin Newsom urged Californians to not travel out of state

When the chairman of the Independent Voter Project, Dan Howle, was asked about which specific legislators from California were attending the four-day conference in Hawaii, Howle reportedly didn’t reveal anyone specifically by name. 

What Howle did offer instead was a reassurance that “adequate social distancing” will be observed during the event at the hotel: 

“IVP decided to move forward based on the Hawaii Safe Travel program and agreement from the hotel to provide adequate social distancing spacing for seating at all meetings. Based on that and conversations with the hotel regarding guest safety we decided we could have a safe and secure event.”

Hawaii Governor Dave Ige announced the Safe Travels program back on October 7th, which officially went into effect on October 15th. In order for those travelling to Hawaii to avoid the 14-day quarantine within the state, individuals must present proof of: 

“[A] Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory within 72 hours from the final leg of departure and produce a negative result in order.”

Howle also claimed that masks must be worn during all the meetings and events related to the IVP conference. 

Apparently, conference attendees – in the realm of legislators and the ilk – often goes unconfirmed until officials have to detail their travel expenses months after the fact. 

With the culmination of the preexisting controversies and clandestine nature of this conference in concurrence with the pandemic guidelines related to out-of-state traveling in California, President Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association perceives this as a glaring double standard by officials: 

“This is ‘do as I say, not as I do’. This is one of the reasons there is a complete disconnect between ordinary citizens in California and the political leadership.”

After the 2019 IVP conference, legislators that attended reportedly were compensated roughly $3,500 by organizers for the event to cover travel-related expenditures.

However, said compensation seemingly jives with ethics-related laws so long as invited legislators are traveling out of state as invited speakers. 

While this year’s panel will likely be honing in mostly on the pandemic and manners to reopen states safely, previous iterations of the conference covered such topics as prisons, biofuel, pollution and transportation issues. 

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Earlier in November, when it pertains to pandemic restrictions, a California Judge ruled that Governor Gavin Newsom took his executive powers a little too far during the pandemic. 

Here’s that previous report. 


SUTTER COUNTY, CA- Take that, Newsom! A judge in California ruled on November 2nd that Gov. Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority in his use of executive powers during the pandemic.

The Hill said that Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman issued a temporary injunction ordering Newsom to cease implementing executive orders that are in contradiction to state law, after determining one such order was “an unconstitutional exercise of legislative power.”

Under Heckman’s order, Newsom is prohibited “from exercising any power under the California Emergency Services Act, which amends, alters, or changes existing statutory law or makes new statutory law or legislative policy.”

While she determined the California Emergency Services Act itself was constitutional, she said that it “does not permit the Governor to amend statures or make new statutes.”

“The Governor does not have the power or authority to assume the Legislature’s role of crating legislative policy and enactments,” the order says.

It will become final in 10 days if Newsom or his administration do not appeal it, which would be expected.

Heckman is the second judge in the county who decided that Newsom was overstepping his authority, however the ruling is contrary to other state and federal decisions regarding Newsom’s emergency powers during the pandemic, according to The Associated Press.

A spokesman for Newsom’s administration told The Hill that the administration disagrees with the ruling’s limitations, whiles saying they are “evaluating next steps.”

“The tentative ruling makes clear that the Governor’s statutory emergency authority is broad, and constitutional, and that the Governor has the authority, necessary in emergencies. To suspend statutes and issue orders to protect Californians,” the spokesman said.

Some state lawmakers were pleased with the decision, including Republican state Assemblymen James Gallagher and Kevin Kiley, who challenged the governor while saying he was overstepping state law with his draconian orders.

“This is a victory for separation of powers,” they said in a joint statement which was obtained by AP. Newsom, they said, “has continued to create and change state law without public input and without the deliberative process provided by the Legislature.”

The order in question involved requiring election officials to make hundreds of locations available for voters to cast ballots statewide. California lawmakers ended up approving the same mandate, so the order will not impact Election Day.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Newsom’s order, N-64-20, issued in May required all 22 million registered voters in the state receive a vote-by=-mail ballot delivered no later than Oct. 5.

Newsom’s lawyers had argued that the case was moot because the legislature later passed legislation to send out the ballots, however the questions raised about the limits of his emergency powers are likely to extend beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom, who has been one of the most power hungry of all the governors (although he has a ton of competition) was the subject of criticism back in July, when he issued executive orders shutting the state’s beaches, among other rules, while leaving his winery untouched.

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