HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – The Senate this evening voted to not advise and consent to the nomination for the appointment of Thomas Gorak to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
A majority of the Senate agreed with the Senate committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, which had advised to not confirm the nomination. A lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit raising constitutional questions regarding the appointment process is pending in the Intermediate Court of Appeals.
In a 15-10 vote, a majority of the Senators concurred with the Committee’s recommendation that the Senate must vigorously defend the long-standing practice and process and refuse to allow the Senate’s advise and consent responsibilities, public participation in the screening of gubernatorial nominees, and the checks and balances of gubernatorial appointment powers to be negated, diminished, or altered in any way by the acts of a governor making interim appointments which could potentially circumvent the Senate advise and consent process.
Mr. Gorak’s interim appointment expires on May 4. Governor Ige will then have the opportunity to appoint a new commissioner.