Senate leaders are ready to oppose vetoes
Gov. Lingle has said she might reject as many as 52 bills the Legislature passed
Democratic leaders in the state Legislature are inching toward a special session to override any vetoes by Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, which could number up to 52.
Because lawmakers know only that Lingle has said she has concerns about 52 bills out of the nearly 300 passed by this year's Legislature, House and Senate leaders say they will wait before committing to a special session to override.
The state Constitution permits lawmakers to override with a two-thirds majority any bills vetoed by the governor.
Legislators met this week to discuss the list of 52 bills that Lingle flagged for possible vetoes, but have not firmly committed to returning on or before the July 8 veto deadline.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who initially said she did not see any bills on the list that would trigger immediate calls for an override, said she wanted Lingle to know "we are seriously looking at it. ... We are ready."
Democratic leader Sen. Gary Hooser told Democrats to be ready to meet in the Senate chamber at 10 a.m. July 8, in preparation for an override session.
"We will look at the bills, talk to the public and see what happens. This Senate is willing to consider overrides," Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau) said.
Sen. Fred Hemmings (R, Waimanalo-Lanikai) called the Democrats' plans "excessively partisan.
"We shouldn't come back, because the governor's vetoes have always been fiscally responsible," Hemmings said.
House Democratic leader Rep. Kirk Caldwell was not as enthusiastic, saying -- after a Democratic caucus yesterday -- that the House was only willing to meet with the Senate.
"We had a good discussion with our caucus, but I wouldn't say it is a done deal that we are coming back; it is very much an open discussion," said Caldwell (D, Manoa).
"I don't think you can say, 'Hey, there is a good chance we will come back.' We have to hear what the Senate has to say," Caldwell said.
Rep. Josh Green (D, Keauhou-Honokohou) said two measures, Senate Bill 2542, relating to community health centers, and House Bill 2519, relating to medical school loan repayment plans, would contribute to a health care crisis in Hawaii if vetoed.
Lingle has put both measures on her list of bills facing possible vetoes but has given no other indication of their prospects.