Civil union bill added to potential veto list - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Civil union bill added to potential veto list

Governor Lingle Governor Lingle
Rep. Blake Oshiro Rep. Blake Oshiro
Sen. Colleen Hanabusa Sen. Colleen Hanabusa

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Governor has been thinking about the civil unions issue every day since May 3.  That's when it was sent to her desk to sign, veto or let pass without her signature.  Today Governor Linda Lingle said the civil union issue is perhaps the most difficult decision she's had to make in her career.

With people on both sides of the issue sitting in on her news conference the governor announced the civil union bill is on her potential veto list.  However that does not mean the bill is doomed, she can still approve the bill.  It just bought her two more weeks to make up her mind.

"I think it argues to take the most time possible, not just to make the best decision I can but to present it in an appropriate way because when the decision gets made we all have to live together here in Hawaii. Whichever way this goes we're still one ohana.  You may disagree with me but we're still living on an island together," said Governor Lingle, during the news conference at her office.

Her staff says they've received 20,000 comments from people, including phone calls, emails, letters and faxes.  Among them 85 percent want her to veto the bill.  However the governor's office admits the count is very unscientific and many could be duplicate opinions or opinions from out of state. 

While she has heard compelling arguments on both sides she says it will be her decision alone to make and she's even gone back and forth on her decision.

"House Bill 444 is the most difficult no question. What makes it most difficult is the intensity and the feeling on behalf of the public. I don't know of another bill that comes close to that," said Gov. Lingle.

If she does veto the bill it will likely stand.  Democratic leaders doubt the state house will get three more lawmakers to change their mind to override the governor.  The House approved the bill by a vote of 31 to 20.  It needs 34 votes override a veto.

"I think the votes that were 31 in favor are pretty firm and the votes opposed are pretty firm.  At this point I don't anticipate us taking further action on that," said Rep. Blake Oshiro, (D) House Majority Leader.

The Senate does have the necessary votes to override, but that won't matter if the House doesn't have the votes too.

"It takes two houses to do it so it's going to be whether or not there is a bill that would jell the houses together and we may vote it just because we have the votes to override, but I don't see us coming back if it's just for one bill. If there is only one bill that is vetoed for example and the house didn't have the votes and the senate did I don't see us coming back because that doesn't make any sense," said Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, (D) State Senate President.

The governor said she will give a detailed explanation about her decision on July 6 which is her last day to decide before it would pass without her signature.

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Governor Lingle's potential veto list

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