Scaled down ceremony marks start of Legislature - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scaled down ceremony marks start of Legislature

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa Senate President Colleen Hanabusa
House Speaker Calvin Say House Speaker Calvin Say
Jeanne Schultz Afuvai Jeanne Schultz Afuvai
David Perry David Perry

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The opening of the 2010 legislature was marked by the absence of ceremony and uncharacteristically short speeches.

After the gavel fell and the National Anthem was sung by senators not entertainers, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa got down to business.

"If there was a moment that we must rise to meet the challenge, now is the time," she said.

Hanabusa said this may be the most challenging session current lawmakers may ever face with an anemic economy and a billion-dollar budget gap.

"We must trim expenses and balance our budget again," she said.

Voters agree.

"What I really want to see them do is concentrate on balancing our budget," Kailua resident Jeanne Schultz Afuvai said.

"I really don't want to see any tax hikes," said Ko Olina resident David Perry. "If there is a tax hike I definitely want to get some rewards from it."

In the House, Speaker Calvin Say said government can't be everything to everybody, meaning some issues will lose out to bigger ones.

Rep. Lynn Finnegann said political barriers need to come down.

"It's working with each other to know that we've got to make these tough decisions and that we don't play politics along the way," she said.

Outside the Capitol sign wavers hoped to get lawmakers' attention. The message inside was that overall public good would be the criteria for making decisions.

"Can we afford the bus transportation for our neighbor island colleagues? Will that be a priority over reducing the furlough days for instructional services?" Say asked.

Hanabusa summed up the challenge ahead.

"Now is the time to stand up and show that we deserve the confidence of Hawaii's people," she said.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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