BY SEN. SAM SLOM, R-HAWAII KAI-DIAMOND HEAD – On June 25, Governor Neil Abercrombie, as required by law, sent a list of his potential vetoes to the Hawaii State Legislature. There are 19 bills from the 2012 Session on his list.
The Governor may decide not to veto every bill on his list. He is constrained to let the Legislature know what he might do; however, any bill not on this list cannot be vetoed.
To date, Governor Abercrombie has signed more than 150 measures into law. A total of 345 bills were passed by the 2012 Legislature; many of them, “Administration Bills.”
The Governor has until July 10 to decide to veto, sign, or allow the remaining bills to become law without his signature.
The Legislature then has the option to convene in special session on July 10 in order to attempt to override—it would take a 2/3 majority of each house to do so—any or all of the actual vetoes.
However, it is unlikely that the Democrat Party heavy majority (43 of 51 in the House and 24 of 25 in the Senate) will decide to override any of the bills, especially in an election year. Since 1962 when all Governors were Democrat, except for Republican Linda Lingle between 2002-2010, only one veto was overridden. That was the “age of consent bill” veto by Governor Ben Cayetano.
In contrast, more than 100 of Governor Lingle’s vetoes were easily overridden during her 8 year term.
The Senate Minority voted “NO” on 7 of these measures—often casting the lone vote in opposition— and on one bill “with reservations.”
The following measures are on notice of “intent to veto.”
- House Bill 46 prohibits smoking in and around housing projects under the jurisdiction of the Hawai’i Public Housing Authority (HPHA), with an exception for designated smoking areas; and allows for eviction upon a third violation of the smoking prohibition. (The Senate Minority voted NO on this bill).
- House Bill 246 appropriates funds to the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu. (The Senate Minority voted With Reservations on this bill).
- House Bill 280 removes the requirement that all Hawai’i-grown green coffee beans shall be inspected and certified by the Department of Agriculture.
- House Bill 283 would appropriate $196,000 from the agricultural loan revolving fund to a program to control and eradicate the coffee berry borer.
- House Bill 1617 authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend commercial, hotel, resort and industrial leases for up to another 55 years when the lessee makes qualifying substantial improvements to the leased land. This would enable lessees to have exclusive control of a public property for up to 120 years
- House Bill 1671 amends the procurement process by imposing time limits on rendering administrative and judicial review decisions, limiting protests to those that are a minimum percentage of the contract value, and requires posting of a protest bond.
- House Bill 1879 extends an exemption for pest control operators’ activities from notification and marking requirements of the One Call Center Program for another three years.
- House Bill 1984 requires that all letterheads, documents, symbols and emblems of the State and other political subdivisions include accurate and appropriate Hawaiian names and language.
- House Bill 2275 establishes a hospital sustainability fee and the hospital sustainability program special fund to receive moneys from the hospital sustainability fee. (The Senate Minority voted NO on this bill).
- House Bill 2436 establishes the chief information officer or that officer’s designee as the chair of the Information Privacy and Security Council.
- Senate Bill 2158 requires law enforcement agencies to accept cash bail, certified copies of pre-filed bail bonds, and original bail bonds when the court is closed, including nights, weekends and holidays.
- Senate Bill 2214 allows an arbitration panel, rather than the State Legislature, to have the final decision on contributions to the Hawai’i employer-union health benefits trust fund by the State and counties for a health benefits plan and group life insurance benefits for active public employees. (The Senate Minority voted NO on this bill).
- Senate Bill 2341 authorizes, within an agricultural district, agricultural tourism activities, including overnight accommodations of 21 days or less. (The Senate Minority voted NO on this bill).
- Senate Bill 2424 adds various requirements for the registration and regulation of professional employer organizations (PEOs) and authorizes penalties for noncompliance. This bill is overly broad and will impose restrictions too difficult for all PEOs to comply with. (The Senate Minority voted NO on this bill).
- Senate Bill 2536 establishes a temporary clean and sober home and halfway house task force that shall, among other things, establish a pilot clean and sober home and halfway house.
- Senate Bill 2640 allows counties to permit the use of an otherwise authorized individual wastewater treatment system, except cesspools in a special management area, under certain circumstances.
- Senate Bill 2742 amends the composition of the Hawai’i Community Development Authority (HCDA) board to include nine voting members for each established district.
- Senate Bill 2946 extends until June 30, 2016, the increase in the rental motor vehicle surcharge tax to $7.50 per day. (The Senate Minority voted NO on this bill).
- Senate Bill 3017 clarifies that the daily $10 tax on transient accommodations furnished on a complimentary or gratuitous basis includes transient accommodations furnished as part of a travel package, but does not include transient accommodations furnished as part of a tourism industry promotional or marketing activity. (The Senate Minority voted NO on this bill).
You still have an opportunity to weigh in on any of these bills. Contact the Governor and let him know whether you support or oppose his planned vetoes. Let your Legislator also know how you feel about the specific measures.
State Senator Sam Slom, is Minority Senate Leader, and serves on all 15 Senate Committees. He represents O’ahu’s newly reapportioned 9th district—Hawaii Kai, Niu, Kuliouou, Aina Haina, Waialae Kahala and Diamondhead. He is also a consulting economist, small business owner and president of the Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation.