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Six bills on governor’s intent to veto list touch on various topics

Hawaii State Capitol
Hawaii State Capitol(HNN)
Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Governor Ige announced Monday his intent to veto six measures before him.

On the intent to veto list includes bills that would provide funding for the Department of Education and Public Safety.

Among other bills he plans to stop would be one that requires state offices to take on energy-saving initiatives. He said although he supports the measure’s intent, the bill was not needed because the state is already working on energy efficiency measures.

Another bill that allows permits for emergency homeless shelters is also on the veto list along with a bill that would prevent organizations from paying government officials after they leave office.

But the governor is allowing a bill on police transparency to go into law. The measure requires law enforcement to disclose names of officers who are suspended or fired. 

Any measure that hasn’t been signed or vetoed by the governor will become law without his signature on Sept. 15.

Here’s a breakdown of his intended veto list with a rationale provided by the Governor’s Office:

INTENT TO VETO LIST:

HB1523 RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION BUDGET.

The bill provides DOE funding to utilize CARES Act funding to buy devices for select schools.

Rationale: This measure is not necessary as the Department of Education has received funds via the Governor’s discretionary funding for this purpose which does not limit the schools that are eligible.

HB1846 RELATING TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY.

Mandates all State facilities larger than 10,000 square feet with the exception of Aloha Stadium, to implement cost-effective energy efficiency measures by January 1, 2024.

Rationale: The State is already in the process of implementing the energy efficiency changes that the bill addresses. The bill does not clearly define energy efficiency and the word “all” creates a possibly unrealistic expectation that could open the State to lawsuits. Additionally, there are concerns that contractors employed under this legislation will be able to benefit from both the contract paid for by tax-payer dollars as well as tax credits associated with the kind of work done with no assurance that the overall cost of the project will be adjusted appropriately.

HB2124 RELATING TO THE CODE OF ETHICS.

This measure Amends the State Ethics Code to prohibit the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other high-level government officials from representing any person or business for a fee or other compensation regarding any legislative or administrative action for 12 months after termination from respective position.

Rationale: The additional restrictions put on volunteer boards and commissions members who fulfill an important role in protecting our community through their service will make it significantly more challenging to recruit for already difficult to fill positions.

SB2206 RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS.

This bill authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to issue revocable month-to-month temporary permits for the emergency sheltering of homeless persons on state lands up until ninety days after the emergency relief period specified in a supplemental COVID-19 emergency proclamation.

Rationale: Under emergency proclamation, the Governor already has the ability to take the necessary actions to implement the purpose of this bill. As written this bill exposes the state to liability.

SB2523 RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY.

Requiring the Department of Public Safety to expand certain appropriated funds for the community-based work furlough program for female inmates.

Rationale: The measure is not required because the Department of Public Safety is already in the process of awarding a contract to a community-based furlough program. Furthermore, enacting this measure would jeopardize public safety as it restricted the department from expending payroll and operating costs.

(Read a related HNN report: Proven program for women inmates is casualty of pandemic’s impact on state coffers)

SB2638 RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

Establishes a 5-year pilot program intended to strengthen government response to domestic violence and increase offender accountability with certain legal changes.

Rationale: Currently any person convicted of an abuse offense is prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm. Of grave concern with this bill is that abusers who are granted and complete a term of deferral would not be subject to the firearm prohibition because a deferral is not a conviction. This would allow abusers to own and possess a firearm.

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