Governor's 13 vetoes become law

Gov. Linda Lingle
Gov. Linda Lingle
Sen. Colleen Hanabusa
Sen. Colleen Hanabusa
Rep. Kirk Caldwell
Rep. Kirk Caldwell
Rep. Josh Green
Rep. Josh Green

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HAWAII STATE CAPITOL (KHNL) -  It was a day that started early, and ended just after 6 pm. Lawmakers convened for a special session to go over Gov. Lingle's 41 item veto list.

"The Senate took the position before we went into special session that they wanted to override as many as they felt that we had the votes to do," said Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Senate President. "This is a function of our legislative process, and therefore, we -- the legislature including both sides -- pass most of these bills almost nearly unanimously, that what we're going to do is override them."

But the House took a different approach.

"Veto override is an extraordinary measure and therefore bills that rise to the level of meeting a pressing need in the public is how we approached supporting overrides of vetoes," said Rep. Kirk Caldwell, D-Manoa, Moili'ili, Punahou.

That was reflected in their votes.

The Senate agreed to override 33 bills and four line-item vetoes, but the House only overrode 13 bills and one line-item veto.

That means the bills both the Senate and the House agreed on -- those 13 vetoes -- are overridden.

Still, the relationship across the legislative aisle remains intact.

"I think the partnership is solid between the House and Senate," said Rep. Caldwell. "Our meeting with leadership was very cordial and we just disagreed on our philosophy."

One of the bills that has new life is the one that reestablishes regulation of the airline industry.

"As you know, it's become increasingly difficult to travel between the islands, and airfare is going through the roof," said Rep. Caldwell. "People are talking about $500 to go from Kona to Lana'i."

Another hot button issue is health care. The governor passed the "Medical Corps Bill," which pays back doctors' medical school loans if they agree to work in rural areas.

"So I really am happy the governor responded to people's pleas to pass that bill," said Rep. Josh Green, D-Big Island, who is also a physician in the Kona community. "It's a good bill. We worked hard with the administration. It's a big help."

Another big help: people's input throughout the session.

"We need the people to come and participate and help us define what the future is going to look like," said Sen. Hanabusa.

A future that's a bit clearer tonight.

Other bills that were saved tonight: one that funds an early education program, and another that helps the Department of Agriculture pay for invasive species inspection. These 13 overridden vetoes have now become law.