Hawaii legislature missed an important deadline on Friday night. The $11.3 billion operating budget as well as the judiciary and capital improvement project budgets were supposed to be approved by 6 p.m. but lawmakers could not agree on key provisions until 3:15 a.m. Saturday morning.
The final sticking point was the dispute over the amount that would be allocated for the Senate’s primary piece of legislation, its Capital Improvement Project bill. The Senate wanted to authorize $500 million in bonds to repair and maintain schools and other state facilities. The House would only agree to $300 million. In the end, they compromised at $420 million.
Because of the delay, any bill that was agreed upon by Friday at 6 p.m., that also requires an appropriation, could not pass prior to the passing of the budget. Several of these bills will be in debated in conference committee on Monday beginning at 9 a.m.
Many other bills that could not be agreed on by the 6 p.m. deadline Friday are likely dead for the session.
Still some bills are in doubt including the solar tax credit, film tax credits, and the hospital sustainability fee, which would be applied to both public and private hospitals to attract federal funds.
The controversial environmental bills that would fast track government construction by eliminating transparency and the public hearing process are still alive and will be reviewed today. Environmentalists are closely tracking these bills and pressuring lawmakers to kill them.
There is much less urgency in pursuing either a ban of plastic bags or a charge for each single use bag since the City & County of Honolulu last Wednesday passed a ban on non biodegradable plastic bags.
One of the other bills that died sought to extend the exemption from the procurement code enjoyed by the University of Hawaii during the past several years.
Unlike last year, no major widespread tax increases will pass, but fees in many agencies will either be introduced or heavily increased by the end of this session this Thursday.