Nomination of UH regents awaits bill creating panel
Gov. Linda Lingle withdrew five appointments to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents after Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said the Senate would not hold hearings on the nominations.
The problem was not an objection to any of the nominations, but a technical question about whether Lingle acted properly by submitting the nominations without first going through a candidate advisory panel.
The Legislature approved a constitutional amendment last year calling for the UH regents to be selected by the governor from a pool of qualified candidates screened and proposed by a candidate advisory council.
The five nominations were all incumbent regents reappointed by Lingle: Kitty Lagareta, the chairwoman, and members Jane Tatibouet, Marlene Hapai, Michael Dahilig and Byron Bender.
Legislation to set up the advisory council, Senate Bill 14, is expected to pass the Legislature today, so House and Senate leaders plan a news conference today to exhort Lingle to sign it.
The legislation proposes that current regents, including the five, would have their terms extended "until such time as the candidate advisory council can convene and appointment and confirmation can be accomplished."
Hanabusa originally questioned the propriety of Lingle nominating regents after the new amendment passed.
She wrote the attorney general in January asking whether it would be better to treat all regents whose terms had expired as holdovers.
The attorney general punted the question, saying the Senate could choose to confirm nominations made by the governor or to confirm only nominations that had passed through a yet-to-be-formed special committee.
A Senate news release issued yesterday said that if Lingle vetoed the enabling legislation, "Both the Senate and the House are poised to override a veto."
A Lingle spokesman said the governor would give the nominees the option of whether to go through the new process. He declined to say whether the governor would sign the legislation.