Power, not urgency, caused veto overrides
Legislative leaders say they had to override vetoes of 13 bills because of pressing needs.
STATE legislative leaders suggest bills that became law through their overriding of Gov. Linda Lingle's vetoes in a special session filled an urgent need, but that is questionable. The 13 overrides this week largely reflect a desire by Democrats to delve into the details of how the executive branch operates.
House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell explained that veto overrides were limited to "the level of public, pressing needs" that were addressed in the bills that were opposed by the Republican governor. While partisan differences were present throughout the 13 bills that were vetoed and then made into law, urgency does not emerge as a major factor.
One of the new laws will allow voters to cast their ballots absentee on a permanent basis. Individual voters are responsible for informing the county clerks of their permanent-absentee status, with no mechanism for verifying the information. Abuses could abound from voters moving or dying, with their absentee ballots used by others.
Another new law would allow state regulation of interisland air carriers, which is forbidden by federal law. The price war that led to the demise of Aloha Airlines has prompted calls for Hawaii to be treated as a separate region by the Federal Aviation Administration, but Hawaii has no legal autonomy to regulate interisland flights.
Other measures included extension of a health-insurance program for teachers separate from the program for other public employees and two bills related to the ongoing tug of war over operation of the University of Hawaii. Those might or might not have merit, but urgency was not an overriding concern.
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