The Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and the Conservative Forum for Hawaii are co-sponsoring a forum on the Jones Act at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at the Naniloa Hotel Crown Room. This event is free and open to the public.
Two speakers will be presenting:
l Dr. Keli‘i Akina, president of the non-partisan free-market think tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, will talk on the economic aspects.
l Michael Hansen, president of the Hawaii Shippers Council, will talk on the national defense issues involved.
The Jones Act is a 1920 federal shipping law that affects nearly every product brought in to or out of Hawaii, by requiring all shipping between American ports be on American built, flagged and crewed vessels only. It has been hailed as preserving a key American marine resource and sea-lift capability as a national defense supplement, and criticized as a 93-year-old outdated law that increases the cost of living for every citizen.
Hawaiian politicians of both major parties have lined up on both sides of the issue, which is now a non-partisan debate.
A new additional speaker has recently been announced. Attorney and former Hawaii state Sen. John Carroll will also speak on his ongoing federal lawsuit, now on appeal before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court having failed mediation. The complaint argues that the Jones Act violates the constitutional rights of the citizens of this state.
The Commerce Clause, along with case law, states that regardless of the location of a state or its ports, every state should have equal access to interstate commerce with the nations, states and the Indian Tribes.
Critics say Jones Act prohibitions violate the Commerce Clause as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.