Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, May 7, 2001

Senator keenest
on car safety is
caught beltless

Recently fined for not wearing a seat belt was Cal Kawamoto, the Senate's point man on transportation safety.

"It was a lapse of awareness," says Kawamoto, who says the lapse occurred because he was rushing off somewhere.

As Transportation Committee chairman, Kawamoto has been a mouthpiece for stricter helmet, child safety seat and seat belt laws. He admits he took a ribbing from his daughter for the misdeed. "Mr. Seat Belt himself," she teased.

The fine was about $70. Says Kawamoto, "That was a mistake but I paid it."

LINGLE IN ASIA: Linda Lingle, Hawaii GOP chairwoman, is in Indonesia teaching politics courtesy of the International Republican Institute.

The 10-day trip includes stops in Yogyakarta and Surabaya. Topics to be covered, according to the Hawaii GOP, include "women candidates' advantages and disadvantages, fund raising, influencing government and society, and the significance and impact of women on the U.S. Republican Party."

Lingle first went to Indonesia while mayor of Maui in 1995. She was part of a sister cities international mission with several other American mayors.

The International Republican Institute is a nonprofit organization stressing fundamental Republican principles.

"It's an exciting and historic time to be in Indonesia," Lingle said before leaving.

"The people are struggling to get authority and reasonability down to the local level following their June 1999 free election," she said.

[Winners & Losers]


Gov. Ben Cayetano: The governor finally picks up the bulk of his civil service reform package after five years of lobbying.

Environmentalists: Although a bottle recycling bill failed at the Legislature, environmentalists say they are winners because a renewable energy bill did clear both chambers.

Minimum wage workers: They would see their pay rise from $5.25 to $6.25 in two years according to a bill approved by the Legislature.


Taxpayers: A new round of income tax credits failed, despite lobbying by Gov. Ben Cayetano.

>> Gary Rodrigues: The state director of the United Public Workers union says his workers will lose the most if the state and counties use the new privatization law to get rid of state jobs.

Traveling legislators: They lost their increased per diem as Gov. Cayetano vetoed a bill to raise their daily travel accounts, saying it wasn't fair to raise it for just legislators and not all state employees.

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