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Hawaii lawmaker ousted from panel chair

Posted March 15

— The state House of Representatives has voted to remove a lawmaker from his position as chairman of a committee that has taken up controversial issues such as pesticide regulation, illegal vacation rentals and payday lending.

The House leadership offered few details about their decision to remove Rep. Angus McKelvey as chairman of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee. The decision was made Monday with a 38-9 vote, with four abstentions, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2nswBiP).

McKelvey was not present for the vote and he did not return a call seeking comment.

The Democratic representative had served as chairman of the committee since 2013. He will now lead the Higher Education Committee, while Rep. Roy Takumi takes over as chairman of the Consumer Protection panel. Rep. Justin Woodson will be chairman of the Education Committee, which had been led by Takumi.

House Speaker Joe Souki said removing McKelvey from his post was a matter of reassigning committee chairs.

"All three of them are looking forward to working in their respective committees," Souki said. "It was mutually acceptable by all members."

Before the vote, Rep. Cynthia Thielen said she thought McKelvey had done a "very measured, intelligent, good job" as chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee and said she was disappointed to see him go.

The resolution ordering the committee change was not placed on the online agenda of the day's floor session.

The House needed at least 26 votes to change the committee assignments, but Souki said information on who supported the resolution before it made it to the floor for a vote would not be released publicly.

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