Friday, June 28, 2002

State of Hawaii

Special session to override
vetoes looks unlikely

Republicans who are in favor of the
move would need help from
a Democratic majority

By Crystal Kua

The prospect of the state Legislature convening a special session on July 9 to override vetoes by Gov. Ben Cayetano is dimming.

House Speaker Calvin Say (D, Palolo) said there is no movement by the Democratic majority to call for a special session. Addressing the vetoed measures can wait until the next regular legislative session begins in January, he said.

"Absolutely. Is there a rush? What is the rush?" Say said.

A two-thirds majority is needed to call for an override session.

Meanwhile, a legal battle may be brewing over one state senator's position that the governor must give the Legislature a full 10 days' notice of his vetoes before lawmakers convene a special session.

The governor is required by law to give the Legislature notice of the vetoes no later than 35 days after the end of the regular legislative session.

But Sen. Colleen Hanabusa contends that because lawmakers are required to convene by noon on the 45th day following the end of session, the governor's veto cut-off is noon on the 35th day.

Hanabusa contends that Cayetano vetoed 13 bills -- including the $75 million tax credit bill for the Ko Olina Resort, which she supports -- more than five hours after noon on Monday, this year's veto deadline day.

Hanabusa is asking the state attorney general for a legal opinion.

"We don't think she's correct," the governor said yesterday. "I have a great deal of respect for the senator. I would hope that, perhaps, she would convince the members of the Legislature to find ways to fix, address some of the concerns that we have in the bills that I vetoed instead of getting into a legal hassle."

Cayetano said that if Hanabusa's position is taken, then it would affect similar vetoes over the past 30 years. Cayetano said the Legislature has always allowed the administration to go until midnight on deadline day.

Hanabusa (D, Waianae) said that she -- and possibly others -- may seek a court ruling.

"For myself, I feel that as a member of the Legislature, I was not given my constitutionally guaranteed notice. I might consider filing my own action on behalf of myself to the (state) Supreme Court to ask for that determination."

House and Senate Republicans agreed with Hanabusa, but they also want to continue the call for the special override session just in case.

House Minority Leader Rep. Galen Fox (R, Waikiki) said, "Those vetoes are not valid, but we have to go ahead with a special session ... just to make sure that we get these overridden properly."

But even if all 20 House Republicans are in favor of calling for a special session, they cannot do it without the Democrats in the House.

Say said there was no movement in the Democratic majority because everyone is busy. "They're all gearing up for their own campaigns, and some of them will be gone on their different summer trips that they're taking with their families, etc.," Say said.

Say said that another reason is that there is no consensus on which bills they would take up.

Say also said that he has not heard a cry from the public about a special session except for a few "scripted" calls his office received.

Legislature Directory

Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes

Testimony by email:
Include in the email the committee name; bill number;
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State of Hawaii

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