Many of you may have noticed a great deal of media coverage re this bill and the insinuation that it deals with an individual’s right to fly the American flag.

Some points of clarification:

• HB2311 proposes to allow the use of flag poles to fly the U.S. flag or the Hawaii state flag at residences within planned community associations.

• The bill is not about flying the flag in general. Most homeowners have their First Amendment right to do so. Even those in planned communities may be able to display the flag in their windows, doors or hang on their porch.

• This bill was about those who live in planned communities where they may have agreed to covenants and restrictions that prevent them from raising a flag pole to fly the flag.

• Although governed by those planned community rules and regulations, there are some people who feel that they should be able to build a flagpole and raise the flag (American or Hawaii’s state flag).

• I support our veterans and have respect for both our U.S. and Hawaii state flag, and I believe the Waianae veterans I have come to know during my years in elected office know this.

• However, the ORIGINAL language of HB2311 was so poorly worded that it would have allowed a resident to raise a flag with no assurance that the flag would be treated with respect and proper protocol.

• Under the ORIGINAL wording of the bill, a person could abuse or burn a flag under this bill, and there is little that could be done to prevent that, which is a disturbing possibility for me.

• In addition, planned community associations establish their own rules and regulations based on the needs and desires of their members. People choose to buy a home within these communities knowing that these rules are in place.

• If possible, the legislature should not interfere with the governance of a planned community association.

• The issue of allowing residents to use flag poles to fly flags should be taken up with the planned community association, with the input of all the members of the association, and not the legislature.

The House HSG decided to give the bill another hearing, and subsequently passed out an AMENDED version.

The ORGINAL version can be viewed HERE.

The AMENDED version can be viewed HERE.

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