HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From veto to law, legislators went against the governor and overturned 11 issues today many centered on jobs and tax increases. One involves the Department of Human Services in SB2650. The state can no longer cut 228 welfare worker jobs in exchange for a more inexpensive and efficient phone based application system. Lawmakers also pushed through SB2840, a law requiring contractors to hire local workers at least 80 percent of the time even if mainland companies could do the work for less or with better technology.
"It can be construed to me that local workers are either not qualified, not motivated or class B workers," said Sen. Norman Sakamoto, (D) Kalihi, Salt Lake, Pearl Ridge, in opposition to the language in the law.
"We're extremely happy. This is landmark legislation to protect local workers," said Nat Kinney, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
"Hopefully now we can get some of the people who are unemployed today get working on some of the contracts in the state and city and county," said Sen. Robert Bunda, (D) Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, North Shore, who introduced the bill.
Both the House and Senate also passed the barrel tax HB2866, which will increase the tax on each barrel of oil by one dollar. More than 60 percent of the money collected will go to the state's general fund and a portion will go to developing alternative energy.
"We're doing it to pump more money into the state coffers so we can continue the political status quo," said Sen. Fred Hemmings, (R) Kailua, Lanikai, Waimanalo, in opposition to the tax increase.
"If we don't want to pass this fine, but when oil hits $150 a barrel again don't come running to the legislature and point at us and say you guys didn't learn anything you didn't think twice. the tough decision has to be made, wake up," said Rep. Pono Chong, (D) Olomana, Enchanted Lake, Kaneohe, in support of the tax increase.
The session is now over and leaders give the lawmakers a passing grade.
"I think that for effort the legislature definitely deserves a 'B'," said Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.
Governor Linda Lingle is on the mainland but her chief of staff Barry Fukunaga says issued a statement saying, "The Legislature's overrides have imposed laws that will also discourage job creation and hinder the state's ability to streamline and improve government services that would be more beneficial to our neediest residents. By bowing to special interests, rather than what is in the best interest of all the people of Hawai'i, the Legislature's actions will only impede the economic recovery of our state."
Lawmakers can call a special session later this summer if Governor Lingle decides to veto any more laws.