FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
State Sens. Clayton Hee, clockwise from left, Russell Kokubun, J. Kalani English, Brian Taniguchi, Gary Hooser and Les Ihara conferred yesterday during a recess.
Campaign sign bill falters
A plan to limit sign numbers and sizes dies but a bill allowing clotheslines advances
Clotheslines, campaign signs and confidential sources were on the agenda yesterday as state lawmakers took final votes on dozens of bills crafted over the past four months.
Some of the weightier issues, including a proposal to support Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to buy the Turtle Bay resort and a measure to require ignition interlock systems on the vehicles of repeat drunken driving offenders, still remain and are expected to be voted on tomorrow, when the Legislature adjourns the 2008 regular session.
The proposal to limit the size and number of campaign signs was among the bills defeated on the floor yesterday.
Sen. Gary Hooser, the chamber's majority leader, argued that House Bill 1832 needs more work.
"It is far too restrictive," said Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau). "It brings in not just political signs but community signs and can have impact on Huli Huli Chicken (fundraising) campaigns (and) 'Go, Warriors' signs."
The bill had been championed by the Outdoor Circle. It had first passed final reading in the Senate with a vote of 18-7.
After a lunch recess, the senators reconsidered its passage and then voted to kill the bill. House lawmakers followed suit at the end of their session.
While the campaign sign measure failed, lawmakers passed another measure that critics argue would increase visual blight in the islands.
Senate Bill 2933 allows for the use of clotheslines on any privately owned single-family residential dwelling or townhouse. Supporters say the measure will help consumers statewide cut energy costs.
"I don't know how much it would help as far as relieving global warming, but every little bit counts," said Rep. Alex Sonson (D, Pearl City-Waipahu).
Other issues debated by House lawmakers included the so-called "shield law" for journalists, which would protect confidential sources and limit the amount of unpublished information they could be forced to disclose.
The measure was supported unanimously but criticized by some Republicans who said the definition of who the law applies to is too broad and could also cover anonymous sources quoted by ordinary bloggers, who are not held to the same ethical or professional standards as traditional journalists.
"This definition is not narrow enough to parse the bloggers who like to inform the public from the bloggers who merely write for entertainment or who have an ax to grind," said Rep. Barbara Marumoto (R, Kalani Valley-Diamond Head). "This bill treats journalists of reputable newspapers and media exactly the same as a writer on a gossip blog."
Lawmakers are in recess today before wrapping up tomorrow.
Tomorrow's activities will include a joint House-Senate session at noon to approve the renomination of the state auditor, ombudsman and head of the Legislative Reference Bureau.
Also, lawmakers are likely to consider overrides on a handful of measures vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle earlier this session, while the Senate is expected to vote on four nominees to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.
Those nominees include Kitty Lagareta, whose renomination was rejected Monday by the Senate Education Committee.