Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Lingle sounds off
on vetoes

Her objections come after
the deadline for a special session

When Republican Gov. Linda Lingle notified lawmakers on June 25 of her intention to veto 28 bills passed by this year's Legislature, she gave only her basic reasons on just a few of them.

She waited until yesterday, after the deadline passed for the Democratic-controlled Legislature to begin a special session to override any vetoes, to detail what prompted her rejections.

Lingle previously had described a group of them as "anti-job creation, antibusiness" bills and measures that had attempted to erode her powers as governor.

In one of the formal messages sent to lawmakers yesterday, she went on for seven pages in shredding a touted campaign-spending reform bill that legislative leaders said was "needed to restore the public's confidence in the integrity of the election process by reducing the influence of reliance on campaign contributions."

Lingle said the measure missed the mark and had several serious technical errors and confusing provisions. The key provision prohibited officials of companies with government contracts from making campaign contributions.

"It is crucial that a bill regulating campaign contributions be clear in its application, well thought out and fair," Lingle said. "The serious flaws in this bill make it abundantly clear that the bill is not clear in its application, not well thought out and not fair."

Lingle said a bill related to how an employee uses accumulated sick leave "could lead to extensive abuse of sick leave, disrupting the operations and services of private firms, lead to increased costs and discriminate against employees who abide by company rules." She said such matters would be left to labor contracts and company policies.

The governor said her administration's bill to address fraud in workers' compensation insurance cases was chopped up into nine pieces, which were then killed off one by one until the remaining piece amounted to "fake reform, which, in fact, only makes the problems worse."

"It targets only insurance companies and employers for punishment," she said. "Employees and others who commit workers' compensation fraud would not be subject to penalty under this measure."

Lingle vetoed a bill that the Democrats said would encourage people on unemployment insurance "to seek gainful employment by permitting claimants to receive their weekly benefit amount without regard to earnings received from employment."

The unemployment system is intended to get workers through a temporary period of unemployment "and not to make individuals whole by replacing 100 percent or more of their prior income with unemployment benefits plus part-time wages," the governor said.

She said making the measure retroactive to Jan. 1 would drain the unemployment trust fund by $670,000 a month in jobless benefits, putting the reserves below the level that triggers an increase in the unemployment tax rate for 2005 and beyond.

Office of the Governor


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