Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Hawaii State Seal

Gov needs crisis
powers, Anzai says

Lawmakers remain concerned
over the scope of authority

By Richard Borreca

State Attorney General Earl Anzai is telling lawmakers that Gov. Ben Cayetano needs special emergency powers to help Hawaii in this economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono is preparing for a trip to Washington, D.C., to testify before a U.S. House subcommittee.

Anzai visited legislators yesterday telling them that Cayetano wants the power to quickly change the rules regarding state purchases and the terms of state leases and state tax measures.

"I think the reception has been pretty good," Anzai said. "Everyone understands we are in an emergency situation that has to be dealt with emergency powers."

House and Senate leaders appear to tentatively approve of the idea, but there are questions about how long the emergency powers would last and specifically how to determine what triggers a financial state emergency.

Senate Vice President Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae) said she wanted the bill to specify that only Cayetano had the power to override existing state laws, and a state department had to get Cayetano's approval before acting under the emergency laws.

"I think in a time of crisis there should be one person making decisions. The governor was elected, he is the people's choice, and he is the one in charge," she said.

Another question is over how long the emergency powers would last. Anzai said he thought it might be difficult to define when the emergency had ended, so the powers may need to be open-ended.

Senate President Robert Bunda (D, Wahiawa-North Shore) said he thought the powers should be for a specific length of time, perhaps six months.

The state House, meanwhile, is expected to meet on the issue later this week. Yesterday, House Vice Speaker Rep. Sylvia Luke, (D, Nuuanu, Punchbowl) said the House was still waiting for a briefing on the emergency powers request before making any decisions.

Meanwhile yesterday, Hirono's press secretary, Wendy Coen, said the lieutenant governor would appear before the House subcommittee on consumer affairs, tourism and foreign affairs.

"She will be giving a clear snapshot of how the aviation impacts are affecting tourism, hotels, restaurants and the economy," Coen said.

Hirono hopes to be able to ask the committee and Congress for financial assistance or perhaps grants or loans to local businesses.

In Japan, Cayetano was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to discuss ways of encouraging Japanese citizens to visit Hawaii. Cayetano is expected to return to Hawaii on Friday.

State Web Site

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin