As a purely executive branch function, it should be expected that Hawaii’s lieutenant governor would have some, if not a great deal of, administrative influence. And, Hawaiian lawmakers indeed have ensured through Title 4, Section 26 of the Hawaii Statutes that the second-ranking elected office in the state does carry out two specific administrative functions.
First, the lieutenant governor is officially designated as the secretary of state for intergovernmental relations. In this capacity, the lieutenant governor records all executive and legislative branch actions, certifies state documents, and maintains a record of rules that are exercised by all executive branch agencies as they carry out their duties. However, the lieutenant governor is not involved in overseeing elections in the state of Hawaii, a function nominally reserved for secretaries of state in most of the United States. In Hawaii, there is a separate office called the Chief Elections Officer that administers the elections process at the state level.
Further, the lieutenant governor does have the statutory ability designate another officer of state government (Section 26-1 leaves that designation undetermined and thus up to the LG to decide) to authenticate documents on his or her behalf during temporary absence from the state or during illness suffered by them. Section 26-1 is adamant that any documents authenticated in such a manner by their designee must state the words “for the lieutenant governor.” In addition, such appointees are most assuredly not serving in a capacity as acting lieutenant governor–they have signing powers only, as sub-section C of Article 26-1 definitively points out.
The second formal administrative power granted to Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in Section 26-1 is their supervision of the Office of Information Practices (OIP). OIP implements and administers the Uniform Information Practices Act, and exercises jurisdiction over the Hawaiian “sunshine law, which governs open meeting rules for local and state governments in the Aloha State.
Thus, it is apparent that the lieutenant governor in Hawaii, through their work overseeing the document recording process and administering privacy and open meeting rules, is most certainly not at a loss for things to do, though they are relatively low key & bureaucratic in nature, and thus lacking a certain dynamic quality. In the next edition of this blog, succession to the office of lieutenant governor in Hawaii will be reviewed.