Lingle and Hanabusa argue over UH regents bill
At issue is the makeup of the proposed selection committee
Gov. Linda Lingle and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa are squaring off over a bill that determines how the University of Hawaii regents are selected.
Lingle vetoed Senate Bill 14, which would require the governor to select nominees from a list provided by a newly created advisory council. The governor said the bill "narrowly focused" the regent selection committee into special-interest groups, such as the UH faculty, the student caucus, former regents and the alumni association.
Lingle objected to Hanabusa characterizing her position as "resisting the people's call for change."
The Republican governor noted that she had submitted her own bills, which were ignored by the Legislature. Her bill, she said, "did not cater to special interests."
Lingle also noted that the Legislature's bill exempts the selection process from the state Sunshine Law.
"This blanket exemption would allow this council to conduct its proceedings behind closed doors. This increases the possibility of political or partisan overtones in the selection process being hidden from public view," Lingle said in her veto message.
In response, Hanabusa said Lingle's bill "ignores the spirit of what the voters called for, real change."
"I'm not surprised that she prefers her own proposal, which would have strengthened her grip on Board of Regents appointments," Hanabusa said in a news release.
Lingle and Hanabusa are arguing over the composition of the committee.
Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua) complained that Lingle "persists in calling this a council made up of special interests."
"It is not; it is a council that will reflect the concerns of the UH community, students, professors, alumni and past regents," Hanabusa said.
Lingle had said UH president David McClain opposed the bill passed by the Legislature.
The law was needed to satisfy a constitutional amendment approved last year changing the selection process. Previously, the governor would select a nominee to be confirmed by the Senate. Under the amendment, the governor would pick a nominee from a list prepared by a committee.