Three of the 13 overridden bills involve regulation of interisland airlines, recycling of electronic devices such as printers, and creating an early-learning system.
Veto overrides create 13 laws
Social service bills are favored by the majority Democrats
STORY SUMMARY »
In a down-to-the-wire drama, the Democratic-controlled state Legislature overrode 13 of 41 bills that Republican Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed at the last minute yesterday.
As late as last week, Democrats were saying they were not sure any bill was important enough to return for a special one-day session to override Lingle's vetoes.
Lingle also kept her final list of rejected bills secret until just before yesterday's noon deadline.
The Senate took a swipe at nearly all of Lingle's vetoes, approving 37 of the 41 bills, but the House agreed on only 13 bills. According to the Constitution, the House and Senate must override a veto with a two-thirds majority in each chamber for a bill to become law over the governor's objections.
Among the bills that became law are bills to increase funding for social service programs, to establish registration to permanently get an absentee ballot, create a state preschool program and also allow public school teachers to operate a separate health program.
FULL STORY »
Placing priorities on education, health care and the environment, majority Democrats in the Legislature overrode 13 of 41 vetoes delivered yesterday by Gov. Linda Lingle.
Two weeks after initially questioning whether a special session would be called, the only difference between House and Senate members yesterday was on how many vetoes would be overturned.
Senators pushed ahead with 37 overrides, while House members were more conservative, overturning only 13 vetoes. According to the state Constitution, both chambers must approve an override by a two-thirds majority within 45 working days after a session ends in order for the bill to become law over the governor's objections.
Lingle vetoed a record 54 measures this year.
Including four overrides carried out before the end of the regular session, Democrats overturned 17 of the Republican governor's vetoes.
Lingle also used her line-item veto power to delete funding for four other proposals, although she signed the underlying bills into law. Lawmakers overturned her line-item veto of $500,000 for a Kupuna Care Program.
"We looked at things we thought rose to the level of public, pressing needs and addressed those bills," said House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell (D, Manoa).
Among the measures that became law were bills to increase funding for social service programs, establish registration to permanently get an absentee ballot, allow public school teachers to operate a separate health program and expand inspections aimed at stopping invasive species.
As late as last week, Democrats were saying they were unsure whether any bill was important enough to return for a special one-day session.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said yesterday she saw the need for the override session after consulting with Democratic senators. "It was a clear example of perhaps tending to look at things in isolation," said Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua). "One of our senators told me, 'Do you known that on each of these bills, the committee chairs worked very hard and devoted time to listening to the people?'"
For his part, the Senate's GOP leader, Sen. Fred Hemmings, said yesterday's afternoon-long debate on the 37 bills was "healthy."
"I don't walk in lock step with the majority party," Hemmings said, noting that only on one of the 37 bills did a Democrat, Sen. Russell Kokubun, break ranks and vote with the minority Republicans.
Senate Republicans, in comparison, unanimously voted to override Lingle's vetoes four times.
In the House, six of the seven GOP members present voted mostly to uphold the governor's vetoes, but some broke ranks and sided with the majority on a handful of measures.
Republican Sen. Sam Slom added his own partisanship to the debate on a bill to create a commission to regulate air traffic in Hawaii.
Lingle rejected Senate Bill 2250, saying it "could harm consumers and the market."
Slom said the airline market should be able to determine what airlines survive, but he added a demand that four junketing state senators not be allowed to vote.
Sens. Ron Menor, Willie Espero, Donna Mercado Kim and J. Kalani English all left the legislative session in April to take a free trip on an inaugural Hawaiian Airlines route to Manila.
The state Ethics Commission, however, said there was nothing improper about their activities and all four voted yesterday in favor of overriding Lingle's veto.
Among the vetoes that were not overridden was SB 2933, known as the "Right to Dry" measure. The bill would have allowed for the use of clotheslines on any privately owned single-family residential dwelling or townhouse. Lingle argued that the measure could potentially invalidate the rules of homeowners associations.
New Laws for Hawaii
A look at the 13 bills vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday and overridden by the Legislature.
» House Bill 2250: Allows for regulation of interisland air carriers, provided that such legislation is adopted at the federal level.
» HB 2761: Allows for extension of post-partum care and care between pregnancies from eight weeks to at least six months for women in the Hawaii QUEST program.
» HB 2843: Restructures inspection fees imposed on cargo coming into the state, by calculating the fee on a per-pound basis. Expands applicability of fees to all cargo coming into the state.
» Senate Bill 156: Allows residents to permanently register for absentee ballots.
» SB 2262: Extends until July 1, 2010, the Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association Trust pilot program. Requires the state auditor to conduct an analysis of the cost and financial impact.
» SB 2263: Requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to publicly disclose certain employees' salaries and all budgetary expenditures made by the board.
» SB 2345: Establishes principles to be used by state agencies when dealing with children of incarcerated parents.
» SB 2542: Appropriates $1 million for the community health center system.
» SB 2668: Establishes and clarifies requirements for the University of Hawaii Board of Regents Candidate Advisory Council.
» SB 2803: Implements recommendations of the December 2007 report of the Hawaii Identity Theft Task Force.
» SB 2540: Requires the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to establish and update biennially a "self-sufficiency standard."
» SB 2843: Requires manufacturers of electronic devices -- such as printers, fax machines and scanners -- to collect and recycle such devices.
» SB 2878: Establishes an early learning system in the state. Creates the Early Learning Council to develop and administer the early learning system, to be known as Keiki First Steps.
Lawmakers also overrode the governor's line-item veto of $500,000 for SB 2830, funding for the Kupuna Care Program.