Sunday, July 7, 2002

Hanabusa wants
repeat legal opinion

She wants deadlines for the
governor and the Legislature
to be treated the same

By Bruce Dunford
Associated Press

Senate Vice President Colleen Hanabusa says she will decide by tomorrow whether to ask the courts to invalidate Gov. Ben Cayetano's veto of 13 bills, including one giving a $75 million tax credit for an aquarium at the Ko Olina resort in West Oahu.

Legislature 2002 A favorable ruling in court would mean the aquarium tax credit, a 4 percent commercial construction tax credit, rent relief for airport concessionaires, campaign financing reform and nine other bills would become law.

As of Friday, Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Waianae-Makaha) had received no response from Attorney General Earl Anzai on her claim that Cayetano failed by one day to meet the state constitutional requirement that he give lawmakers 10 days' notice of his vetoes of the 13 bills.

Cayetano said he believes he gave the notice with hours before midnight to spare on June 24, giving lawmakers the 10 days required by the state Constitution to decide if they want to meet to vote on an override.

"I think he's wrong," Hanabusa said.

Her reading of the requirement, based on two previous attorney general opinions, suggests Cayetano faced a June 21 deadline to notify lawmakers of his vetoes, she said.

While her initial contention in a letter to Anzai said Cayetano had missed the deadline by more than five hours, she sent a new letter contending he missed by an entire day.

Meanwhile, chances that lawmakers might go into a special override session on Tuesday diminished Friday as House majority Democratic leaders said they did not support it.

Much of the focus has been on the Ko Olina aquarium tax credit bill, which Leeward Oahu lawmakers, including Hanabusa, said is vital to generating jobs from expanded resort development in West Oahu.

Hanabusa is using Anzai's own prior opinion to support her claim that Cayetano missed the veto deadline.

An Aug. 8, 2000, opinion approved by Anzai said the 10-day notice the Legislature is required to give the governor before giving final approval of a proposed constitutional amendment is computed by excluding the day on which notice is given.

That opinion involved a special legislative session to approve a proposed amendment to fix a term inequity between incumbents and challengers in the this year's Senate elections.

Anzai told lawmakers their planned 11-day special session that included six recess days did not meet the notice requirement. Lawmakers added two more days to meet the requirement.

Hanabusa told Anzai she trusted his interpretation in the 2000 situation and that today's situation will be consistent because "the governor cannot have one standard for himself and another for the Legislature.

"To find otherwise would be to say that where the Constitution requires 10 days' notice, the counting of days differs if the notice is to be given to the governor or by the Legislature," she said. "Simply put, if the Legislature must notice the governor, you require 10 full days; if the governor notices the Legislature, it can be nine full days and one second."

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