State of Hawaii

Vote recount measure
gets Cayetano’s veto

The bill is among 31 that were
rejected before a deadline

Measures rejected by Gov. Cayetano

By Pat Omandam and Richard Borreca

Gov. Ben Cayetano has vetoed 31 bills including one that would have required an automatic recount of close elections beginning in 2004 and another that would have continued the state emergency environmental workforce.

And he made some line-item vetoes in the biennium state budget, restoring $25 million in special funds that were taken to balance the budget. The governor also stopped the use of $2 million from the state Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund.

Cayetano announced vetoes of the 31 bills yesterday, just three days before the June 24 deadline for him to reject measures approved this past legislative session.

Among the vetoes is an election reform measure that required ballot recounts in close contests if the difference in votes cast for the winning and losing candidates in a race is one-eighth of 1 percent or less of the total ballots cast.

The governor said he rejected the bill because it did not allow for sufficient time to conduct the mandated recounts and could deny overseas citizens a fair opportunity to vote by absentee ballot.

Elections spokesman Rex Quidilla added that the recount bill did not give the Elections Office enough time to do an automatic statewide recount and print the ballots for the general election, which occurs just six weeks after the primary election.

Elections officials also had complained that the measure required separate ballots for each party in the primary elections, which would have added between $2 million and $5 million in ballot printing costs.

Brian Schatz (D, Makiki), House Majority Whip, said it was surprising and disappointing that the governor did not agree with recommendations made by the bi-partisan state Elections Review Task Force.

"I'm hopeful that we'll take another hard look at this issue," Schatz said. "We still have an election system that is the envy of the rest of the nation, but that doesn't mean that we couldn't have made some improvements this year."

The governor also vetoed a bill that would have appropriated $500,000 to continue the work of the state emergency environmental workforce, which was created during the third special legislative session last fall to help employ people who were laid off because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Although it appears that positive work was done under the initial funding for the program, the program was meant to be short-term in nature," Cayetano said. He added the money would help few people for just a short time and would not make a significant impact to the state's economy or the environment.

Schatz, who helped pushed through the original workforce program, said its continuation was based on its success, and not on Sept. 11.

He warned the state may save $500,000 but it will pay much more than that in the future as it grapples with problems such as curbing invasive species of plants and animals.

"And that's the false premise of vetoing this bill is that it saves money. This is just going to cost us dearly in the future," Schatz said.

The governor also vetoed a bill that would coordinate efforts to control and eradicate alien invasive species. He called the establishment of a proposed Hawaii Invasive Species Council unnecessary because those efforts can be done administratively.

Cayetano chopped off $2 million from the Hurricane Relief Fund that the Legislature said would be used to allow former policyholders to retrofit their homes to withstand a hurricane. Cayetano said he was opposed to the $2 million in aid because not everyone in the state could use the money.

Jerry Peters, legislative coordinator for the hazard mitigation task force, an ad hoc group formed to help get funds to retrofit homes, said Cayetano was mistaken. "There is no justifiable reason to punish homeowners," Peters said.

According to Peters, the funds would be available to former policy holders only for one year, and then the money could go to any homeowner.

The governor also vetoed portions of a bill that halts the transfer of state money from a number of special funds into the state treasury. The $25 million in the special funds is needed, Cayetano said.

Meanwhile, the governor vetoed another bill that reduced the minimum fines for violating the states parking for disabled persons law. And he rejected a plan to abolish state deputies and first assistants in most state departments. Those positions play key roles in department operations, he said.

Also, the governor vetoed a bill creating earned-time incentives for inmates who complete rehabilitation programs. Cayetano said the Hawaii Paroling Authority has the power to reduce minimum terms.




Here are some of the bills that Gov. Ben Cayetano vetoed Thursday:

>> HB 202, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1: Would have established parity in health coverage benefits for mental health and substance abuse treatment for minors under age 18.

>> HB 1595, HD 1, SD 1, CD 1: Would have required the proposed adjustments to compensation and benefit packages for excluded civil-service employees to be at least equivalent to the adjustments provided under collective-bargaining agreements for counterparts or subordinates.

>> HB 1722, SD 1, CD 2: Would have repealed the June 30 sunset date of the law authorizing the establishment of the Air Carrier Commission.

>> HB 1821, HD 2, SD 1, CD 1: Would have provided the Office of the Legislative Auditor with sufficient funds to conduct financial statement audits and audits required under federal law of certain departments, offices and state agencies. It also would have established the audit revolving fund and enabled the auditor to charge fees for financial audits.

>> HB 1969, SD 1, CD 1: Would have allowed the Department of Education to appoint or retain contract attorneys independent of the attorney general.

>> HB 2072, HD 2, SD 1, CD 1: Would have appropriated $1 million from the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund to the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii for housing assistance to Hawaii's needy who may have been adversely affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

>> HB 2212, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1: Would have established the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to coordinate efforts to control and eradicate alien invasive species.

>> HB 2231: Would have given the legislative auditor access to student records, which include materials that are confidential.

>> HB 2382, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1: Would have required notification and public comment during the site selection process for construction of any new or expanded correctional facility, including capital improvement projects in excess of $500,000, within the state.

>> HB 2577, HD 1, SD 1, CD 1: Would have granted the Harbors Division greater flexibility in the disposition of leases for and to a broader spectrum of potential uses and users subject to the approval of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. >> HB 2595, HD 1, SD 1, CD 1: Would have appropriated $500,000 out of the Hawaii Tourism Authority special fund to enhance agricultural tourism venues.

>> SB 23, SD 2, HD 2, CD 1: Would have authorized paid leave for state and county employees responding to disasters for the American Red Cross and would have allowed the chief executive to determine rates of compensation for those employees.

>> SB 251, SD 2, HD 1, CD 1: Would have established a professional counselor-licensing program by setting education, experience and examination requirements for professional counselors.

>> SB 552, SD 2, HD 1, CD 1: Would have appropriated $5,000 on a match basis to establish a Korean War Museum.

>> SB 859, SD 1, HD 2, CD 1: Would have established an earned-time program providing incentives for inmate rehabilitation in which eligible inmates may earn up to 25 percent reductions in the minimum term of imprisonment set by the Hawaii Paroling Authority by making consistent progress in all of the following areas: work and vocational training, social adjustment, counseling, self-help, therapeutic, educational and literacy programs.

>> SB 997, HD 1, CD 1: Would have required the Judicial Council to convene a task force to review criminal charging procedures to recommend legislative amendments.

>> SB 2043, SD 1, HD 1, CD 1: Would have established an advisory task force through a Hawaii nonprofit corporation to study the effect of incorporating the practice of hanai into statutory law and to prepare and propose legislation on hanai to the 2004 Legislature.

>> SB 2093, SD 1, HD 1: Would have established immunity from civil liability for a person who reports health insurance fraud, except in the case of malicious reporting or perjury.

>> SB 2500, SD 2, HD 1, CD 1: Would have required the Department of Human Services to contract for legal services to maximize collections from the federal Medicare program for recipients who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

>> SB 2568, SD 2, HD 1, CD 1: Would have created a commission on language access within the Department of the Attorney General to develop a statewide plan to enhance access to services for persons with limited English proficiency.

>> SB 2772, HD 1: Would have allowed the health director to revoke, suspend or deny the renewal of license of any person licensed as a tattoo artist for misconduct or other violations.

>> SB 2867, SD 1, HD 1, CD1: Would have prohibited the Department of Human Services from submitting proposed amendments to the Hawaii Medicaid plan to eliminate or diminish the DRI McGraw-Hill inflation component and return on equity program until the Legislature approves and fully funds a mandatory program to replace these factors.

>> SB 2985, SD 2, HD 2, CD 1: Would have provided a 10 percent refundable tax credit for qualified improvements made to federally qualified health centers.

>> SB 3018, SD 1, HD 1, CD 1: Would have established a joint Senate-House Educational Governance Task Force to investigate and recommend changes that would make public education more community-centered and responsive to the schools' constituents.

>> SB 3048, SD 2, HD 1, CD 1: Would have authorized $25 million in special facility revenue bonds to build a world-class destination visitor attraction on Ford Island to tell the Navy-Marine Corps story in World War II.

>> SB 3053, SD 2, HD 1, CD 1: Would have created the public health nursing program under the Department of Health.

Legislature Directory

Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes

Testimony by email:
Include in the email the committee name; bill number;
date, time and place of the hearing; and number of copies
(as listed on the hearing notice.) For more information,
or call 587-0478.

E-mail to City Desk


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

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin