Governor Lingle reacts to end of legislative session - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Governor Lingle reacts to end of legislative session

Governor Linda Lingle Governor Linda Lingle

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - We're hearing directly from Governor Linda Lingle for the first time since she returned from a four-day trip to the Mainland.

A lot has happened since she's been gone.

The legislature wrapped up the session Thursday, with lawmakers overriding eleven bills the governor vetoed.

That includes blocking the Department of Human Services from laying off 228 employees and putting up two call centers in their place.

The governor still has to sign off on using the Hurricane Relief Fund to restore Furlough Fridays at schools next year.

Plus, the civil unions bill is now sitting on her desk, awaiting her to sign, veto or let become law without her signature.

On Sunday, she's speaking out about all these topics. The governor did not say what she'll do when it comes to the controversial civil unions bill.

But she says they'll go through the same process that's been done in all of her years in office.

It's the 62nd celebration of Israel's independence. Governor Lingle, who is jewish was a guest speaker once again.

"Israel provided lots of rights for gay people," Civil unions supporter Alan Spector said.

And an important decision is now in her hands. It's to decide whether to follow Israel's lead and give gay and heterosexual couples in Hawaii, the same rights as married couples.

Lingle says it's a hard decision and one that she won't take lightly.

"When the bills come up, which they really haven't come up yet, haven't been signed off yet by the senate president, once that official signature is there and it comes up, we then distribute it to various groups," she said.

She says the issue may require assistance from county governments, as well as from people who testified for or against the measure.

But the civil unions bill isn't the only issue on her mind. She's set to meet with Department of Human Services officials Monday to discuss how they'll respond to the legislature overriding a bill that would've laid off 228 workers.

They would be replaced by what the state says is a more efficient system.

"It's a real shame that when the legislature had a chance to create new jobs, they did the opposite," Lingle said.

Another issue that deals with jobs but in the education field is also creating quite a stir at the Capitol.

Governor Lingle says she'll stick by her plan regarding the furlough issue. But instead of going ahead with the legislature's plan of $67-million to rid all 17 furloughs from the next school year, she's says only $57-million is needed.

"We will bring back those people who are essential for the safety and education of the children on campus, but we won't just throw the money out there because it's available," Lingle said.

She has until July to make a final decision on these bills. She can either sign, veto or just let them be. In that case, it would become law without her signature.

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