Saturday, April 3, 1999


State of Hawaii

Lawmakers propose
education, Kaneohe
hospital reforms

By Pat Omandam


State administrators and lawmakers this week dropped two government-reform bombshells, with a month left in the legislative session.

The first proposal was to shut down the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, while the second was to spin off the Department of Education as an autonomous agency.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson said the 168-patient Kaneohe hospital must close because the state can't provide the necessary services and staff for patients.

But key lawmakers complained the plan to send patients into community programs comes too late in the session, and suggested convening a special session later this year to review the plan.

Senate President Norman Mizuguchi proposed a constitutional amendment to make the elected state Board of Education entirely responsible for public education by giving it the power to control income and sales taxes. Hearings on the bill are next week.

Other key action this week:


The Election Appointment Panel reappointed Dwayne Yoshina as chief elections officer for another four years, while a state audit of the 1998 general election recommended the elections office be placed under the responsibility of the lieutenant governor.

Uninsured motorists

Pending a House-Senate conference committee is a bill (House Bill 850, SD1) that extends the amnesty period for uninsured motorists and repeals an automatic suspension of driver's licenses for those convicted of driving without insurance.

Open government

Up for a Senate floor vote is a bill (HB 996) that allows boards and commission to discuss confidential information in private, adding another exemption to the state Sunshine Law.


Gov. Ben Cayetano released nearly $41 million in construction money for more than 50 statewide projects, three-fourths of which benefit education. Also released was money for a new artificial turf surface at Aloha Stadium.

Upcoming floor votes

Bills to be voted by the House or Senate require gender equity in all public school activities, including athletics; make hula the official state dance; ban the importation, sale and use of fireworks unless permitted by the counties; establish a Department of Public Safety canine corps; and allow government to recover costs for search and rescue operations.

Next week

All concurrent or joint House-Senate resolutions must to be sent to the other chamber for consideration by Monday. All bills amended by the House or Senate after first crossover earlier this month must be filed by Friday for floor votes the following week.


Monday marks the 43rd day of the 60-day legislative calendar that ends May 4.

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Hawaii Revised Statutes
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