Republican State Sen. Sam Slom today delivered his analysis of the Legislature’s accomplishments this year, expressing doubts about the effectiveness, legality and price tags of bills backed by the Democratic majority.
Slom, R-8th Dist. (Hawai’i Kai, ‘Aina Haina, Kahala, Diamond Head) is the sole minority member of the upper chamber and frequently provides solitary Greek chorus commentary on the actions of the Democratic majority.
Slom is a supporter of, and contributor to, Hawaii Reporter.
He spoke after the Senate earlier this week passed 379 bills over to the House of Representatives and the House sent 286 to senators.
On a major legislative package meant to expedite $500 million in public works spending, Slom said the projects on the lists are not as “shovel-ready” as state officials claim them to be.
“We’ve heard that term before and what a department or an agency may think is shovel ready turns out to be fraught with a number of problems,” he said.
Slom voted for the spending bill “with reservations” because of his doubts about the timetable for completion.
He also said he doubts the House will wholeheartedly endorse the Senate bill.
Slom also wondered whether another centerpiece bill, aimed at settling a decades-long dispute with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs over “ceded land” revenues, will be enacted into law this year.
The measure, which is supported by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and OHA trustees, calls for transfer of $200 million worth of land to OHA ownership in compensation for lands and revenues ceded to U.S. control from the Kingdom of Hawaii.
“The bill’s got a long way to go. I’m not certain its going to pass this year,” he said.
Slom also said criticized measures passed by the Senate that impose “very substantial” new fees for an array of government services and programs.
The senator also questioned the wisdom of Senate measures forwarding plans for an undersea electric cable and for creation of a state-owned bank.
Slom also predicted that measures supporting legalized gambling in Hawaii may be resurrected this legislative session.