Legislative omissions force rewrite of operational budget
Lawmakers needed a do-over for the first measure passed in this year's session.
Approval of the legislative budget has been delayed after a flaw was found in the bill that was given final approval Jan. 31.
The measure sets aside $30 million for the operation of the Legislature and affiliated agencies.
The original bill, Senate Bill 638, Senate Draft 1, did not include a statement that general fund spending for the current fiscal year had exceeded a limit.
The declaration, required by the state Constitution, was "inadvertently omitted," according to a Senate Ways and Means Committee report.
Another measure, Senate Bill 25, had to be amended to include all of the required language. It states that the budget for the fiscal year exceeds the limit by 0.40 percent.
"The reasons for exceeding the general fund expenditure ceiling are that the appropriations made in this act are necessary to serve the public interest and to meet the needs provided for by this act," according to the bill.
A ceiling is intended to limit the growth of general fund spending.
Exceeding the limit does not trigger any penalty, but a declaration is required in the new budget bill to make lawmakers aware of the excess, said Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings (R, Lanikai-Waimanalo).
The legislative budget, up from $27.3 million last year, has been criticized by some.
House lawmakers tried to amend the measure and reduce the appropriation by $2 million, arguing that government should set an example by limiting spending. Supporters say the extra money is needed to cover needs that have been neglected in years when there was no increase in the legislative budget.
The delay is not expected to affect government operations.