Battle at the State Capitol - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Battle at the State Capitol

By Roger Mari

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- A battle at the state capitol could close homeless shelters across Hawaii. It would strip the governor of emergency powers, which have included giving attention to homelessness.

Yesterday, the Hawaii senate voted to advance a bill which questions whether the governor has used her disaster authority appropriately. In 2007 governor Lingle used an emergency declaration to address the homeless issue.

"I admit that it was a unique unprecedented and innovative use of my emergency powers but I believe that the public would say it was justified."

Democratic leader representative Kirk Caldwell asks:

"What made homelessness an emergency? This bill is designed in part to contour the abuse that we have seen in the past year of the governor's misuse of emergency powers on the issue of homelessness."

Some representatives believe it all stems from political bickering between the senate, house and the governor but this time the line has been crossed.

"The leadership of the house and the senate actually put raw politics ahead of the health and well-being of the people of Hawaii."

According to Ward, this is just one of 119 bills to try and strip away the power of the governor.

"Which to me is the heartless one because it involves the homeless, those are the weakest most vulnerable and those that don't have the chance to really make it on their own," said Hawaii Representative Gene Ward

The bill now goes to the floor of the senate for a final vote on Monday.

If the bill passes, all emergency proclamations made by the governor currently in effect will automatically expire on the day the bill takes effect.

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