Legislators concerned about governor’s pending veto list

Gov. Neil Abercrombie
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie
Gov. Neil Abercrombie

HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s has signed 121 bills passed by the 2014 legislature into law, but said he plans to veto as many as 10 bills by the July 8 deadline.

The State of Hawaii Constitution requires the governor to provide 10 working days’ notice for any measures that he may veto by July 8, 2014.


“I commend legislators for passing many important and relevant measures this session that will benefit Hawaii’s residents, like higher minimum wage and land preservation,” Abercrombie said. “However, there are a few bills I am considering vetoing because of input I have received from concerned individuals. Other bills, despite their good intentions, will not work as they are written.”

Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai-Kahala, said if the governor does in fact veto Senate Bill 2682 RELATING TO FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS, he wants the legislature to override the veto.

The bill would make public the financial disclosure statements of members of the state boards, commissions, and agencies.

That includes the public utilities commission, the board of land and natural resources, the Hawaii homes commission, the state ethics commission, and many others.

Slom said the public and the media should know if state board or commission members or their immediate family members have a financial interest or an association that may affect the member’s decision making.

The bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.

Slom said this veto doesn’t help the people of Hawaii establish any confidence in their government.

Sen. Will Espero, D-Ewa, expressed concern about another bill on the governor’s veto list – Senate Bill 2589.

The bill would incorporate the state’s 18 Harbor police under the state sheriffs instead of keeping them as an independent agency.

There was no opposition to the bill, and it was supported by the state Department of Transportation.

In a letter to the governor obtained by Hawaii Reporter, Espero said there are problems within the harbor police department, which includes poor leadership, a dysfunctional department and low staff morale.

Espero told the governor vetoing the bill would be a “terrible mistake.”

The Hawaii affiliate of the National Parents Organization is concerned about the Governor’s plans to veto House Bill 2163.

The bill reforms the state’s child custody law in a way that encourages family court judges to support gender equality by ordering shared parenting.

A child of divorce or separation equally would divide his time equally between two parents.

Parents advocating for the change said research shows children significantly benefit from equal access to both parents and the Governor’s veto would be harmful to children.

They also believe the legislation will bring Hawaii’s laws in line with modern families where both parents work.

The complete list of pending vetoes includes:

·         House Bill 1288 (Relating to Order of Succession)
·         House Bill 2163 (Relating to Parental Parity)
·         House Bill 2427 (Relating to the Repeal of Non-General Funds)
·         Senate Bill 60 (Relating to Victims of Crimes)
·         Senate Bill 2431 (Relating to the Hawaii Tourism Authority)
·         Senate Bill 2483 (Relating to Condominium Associations)
·         Senate Bill 2589 (Relating to Law Enforcement)
·         Senate Bill 2682 (Relating to Financial Disclosure Statements)
·         Senate Bill 2821 (Relating to Insurance)
·         Senate Bill 2874 (Relating to the Board of Land and Natural Resources)

The governor also will line-item veto House Bill 1700 relating to the state budget to address an “inconsistency of approximately $444 million between it and the bond authorization bill (House Bill 1712) passed by legislators that is preventing him from signing both into law.”