Clothesline bill hits snag
Sierra Club laments veto of clothesline bill
STORY SUMMARY »
While solar water heaters will become mandatory on new homes built after 2010, hanging laundry on a line is still up to homeowners associations.
Both bills were solar initiatives, according to supporters such as the Sierra Club, pushing the state toward energy independence even though a clothesline is simple and low-tech.
Senate Bill 2933 -- also known as the "right to dry" act -- was among the package of vetoed bills that the Legislature did not override on Tuesday.
Gov. Linda Lingle said the bill inserted government regulation into a local, community matter, with a "one-size-fits-all" approach that is unfair to certain homeowners in Hawaii.
FULL STORY »
While the passage of the mandatory solar water heater bill was a major victory for environmentalists in the state, a bill aiming to protect a homeowner's right to hang laundry on the line was defeated.
Senate Bill 2933, also known as the "right to dry" act, failed to gain enough votes in the legislature Tuesday to override the governor's veto.
The Sierra Club chalked it up to a minor, though significant loss, in the movement toward the state's energy independence. Though not as high-tech, club director Jeff Mikulina said the clothesline bill also would have given homeowners the ability to use solar energy.
"It wasn't requiring anyone to do it," said Mikulina. "It was just removing that barrier for folks living in homeowners associations."
The bill, as written, was an extension of another one Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law back in 2005, allowing owners to install a solar energy device on their homes or townhomes despite association rules preventing it.
Many homeowners associations prohibit or restrict the use of clotheslines, mostly for aesthetic reasons.
Introduced by Sen. Les Ihara (D, Kahala-Palolo), the "right to dry" bill sought to allow homeowners to line-dry, which supporters said could save a household 10 percent of its energy costs.
Lingle said she agreed that Hawaii residents should consider using clotheslines as an alternative to electric dryers, but that the proper way to promote it is through advertising and public education campaigns -- not government regulation.
"'Homeowners who choose to buy a home or townhouse in a neighborhood governed by a community association do so for a reason -- they want to live in a community that provides and protects their property values," Lingle said in her veto statement.
She said the bill uses a "one-size-fits-all" approach that was unnecessary and unfair to certain homeowners in Hawaii.
Lingle did, however, approve a mandatory solar water heater bill for all new single-family homes built after 2010, despite opposition by both building and solar industry groups in the state. Hawaii became the first state in the nation with such a law.
The "right to dry" bill was supported by the Sierra Club, Conservation Council for Hawaii, and state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
Opposition to the bill came from the Mililani Town Association, Villages of Kapolei Association and Princeville at Hanalei Community Association.