Lingle right to reject power play at UH
The governor rightly vetoed a bill that would reduce her authority to select UH regents.
DEMOCRATS predictably have used a constitutional amendment
approved by voters last year to strip Gov. Linda Lingle of much of her authority to appoint regents at the University of Hawaii. Under a bill approved by the Legislature, her appointments would be limited to recommendations by a screening committee controlled by special interest groups within the UH community. Lingle has properly vetoed the bill and it should be allowed to die.
Regents now are nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. The constitutional amendment allowed the Legislature to establish a seven-member advisory council to recommend candidates from whom the governor can select regents.
The bill would allow the governor to choose only one of the seven council members, while the House speaker and Senate president could pick one each. The faculty senate, the student caucus, former regents and the alumni association each would select one. Legislators rejected Lingle's proposal to retain her authority by allowing her to choose the seven council members.
The constitutional amendment and bill were simply a brash power play by Democrats to reduce the Republican governor's authority and deny public access to the advisory council, which would be exempt from the state's Sunshine Law.
The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges favors governors appointing regents from candidates approved by "independent screening committees." However, it advised against such committees "composed of special interest representatives."
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, has urged "changes to depoliticize the university so that it will meet accreditation standards for independence." The Legislature has done the opposite.
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