State of Hawaiʻi Organization

The Constitution vests executive power of the State in the Governor. In the absence or disability of the Governor, the power and duties of the Governor devolve upon the Lieutenant Governor. The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor are elected at large by the voters for concurrent four-year terms and must be of the same political party.

The State is currently organized with two executive offices, Offices of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor, and eighteen principal departments. Each principal department is under the supervision of the Governor and headed by a single executive, board or commission. Generally, the Governor nominates and appoints department heads with the advice and consent of the Senate. Such department heads serve for terms which expire at the end of the term of the Governor who appointed them. Terms of service for boards or commissions which head principal departments are as provided by Section 26-34, HRS.

Further information can be found on this link to Chapter 26, HRS, Executive and Administrative Departments –

Summary information on structure and functions of each principal department can be found on the following links and additional information on each department can be found on links to the respective department’s webpage:

A fairly detailed description of each principal department and its attached agencies can be found on this link to the Legislative Reference Bureau’s publication, Guide to Government in Hawai‘i Please note that the information in this publication is slightly outdated due to subsequent statutory amendments and departmental reorganizations.