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Saturday, March 18, 2000



Legislature 2000


IT'S A WRAP

Cayetano, Ige
face off over
appointments

By Crystal Kua
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

It was a week that saw Gov. Ben Cayetano and Democratic state Sen. Marshall Ige disagreeing on two fronts.

When Cayetano decided to appoint longtime supporter Sen. Randy Iwase as chairman of the state Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board instead of reappointing Frank Yap Jr. to that position, Ige was among those who questioned Cayetano's selection, saying it smacked of cronyism.

Critics also said Iwase, an attorney, lacks the qualifications because he doesn't practice labor or workers' compensation law.

Iwase responded that he is an advocate of workers' compensation law reform and helped write the current law.

Cayetano said he didn't reappoint Yap to another 10-year term of office because Yap did not support the governor's reform proposals. Yap said he and the governor disagreed over restructuring the office but he wasn't against reforming government.

Meanwhile, it was Cayetano who was critical of Ige for not declaring a conflict in the pending vote on the confirmation of Attorney General Earl Anzai.

Cayetano and the citizen reform group Common Cause, had argued that Ige, indicted by the state for accepting an improper campaign loan and other campaign violations, should not vote.

By Wednesday, Ige said he won't vote when Anzai comes up for confirmation before the full Senate.

In other happenings around the state Capitol:

MINIMUM WAGE: Two House committees are leaning toward keeping the House's -- instead of the Senate's -- version of the bill, which would hike the state minimum wage to $5.75. The labor and economic development committees will hold decision-making next week. The Senate labor committee takes up the House bill Tuesday.

OPEN MEETINGS: Legislators must open closed-door conference committee meetings to the public, the Hawaii Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Lingle and state Rep. David Pendleton said in a lawsuit they filed in Circuit Court.

WILSON APPOINTMENT: The Senate Judiciary Committee has recommended confirmation of Michael Wilson as a Circuit Court judge.

Wilson, an environmentalist, served four years as director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources but since then has been consumer advocate with the Public Utilities Commission. No date has been set for a vote by the full Senate.

CIVIL SERVICE: Rep. Ed Case, the House majority leader, urged House Democrats to overhaul their civil service reform measure. In a letter sent to House Democrats Tuesday, Case renewed his criticism of the House civil service bill and said he believes the Senate version is better.

ACCOUNTABILITY: The House Education Committee decided to move its version of a bill establishing a school accountability system instead of the Senate's.

Both bills exclude such a system from collective bargaining, but the Senate's bill has that exemption lasting for only three years. Opposition to that sunset provision came from the governor and Schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu.

The House bills on education accountability and funding for playground equipment will be among the bills up for a hearing by Senate committees on Monday beginning at 1 p.m. in Room 212.

RALLY FOR MAILI: Supporters of Maili Elementary School rallied at the state Capitol Thursday. The school is plagued by dust, farm aroma and dung flies and the school's supporters want lawmakers to appropriate $3 million or any portion of that amount to air-condition school buildings.



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