State of Hawaii

Court denies Hanabusa’s
veto challenge

She is still able to take her
legal fight to Circuit Court

By Bruce Dunford
Associated Press

Gov. Ben Cayetano's veto of 13 legislative bills on June 24 remains intact, at least for the time being.

The state Supreme Court yesterday denied Senate Vice President Colleen Hanabusa's petition for a court order invalidating the vetoes on the grounds Cayetano missed his constitutional deadline to notify lawmakers.

The court's action, however, does not preclude Hanabusa or anyone else from pursuing the challenge in Circuit Court. Her challenge maintains that Cayetano failed to provide the 10 days' notice the Constitution requires.

Among the bills vetoed were a $75 million tax credit for an aquarium at Ko Olina, a 4 percent tax credit for commercial construction, rent relief for airport concessionaires and campaign finance reform.

Lawmakers, who overwhelmingly approved the measures, touted them as good for economic stimulation, but declined to meet in a special session last Tuesday to override the vetoes.

Hanabusa could not be reached immediately on whether she will pursue her challenge. She previously said she hoped one or more of the benefactors of the bills, such as the Ko Olina developers, might take up the legal fight.

Cayetano said he was confident his administration would prevail in the case. "I hope this puts an end to the legal wrangling," he said.

"If the dialogue needs to continue, let the focus be on addressing the serious flaws in the legislation," Cayetano said.

With word this week that state tax revenues are running well behind last year, Cayetano said it re-enforced his position that the state budget can't afford multimillion-dollar tax credits.

House Speaker Calvin Say had no immediate comment, but to say he would wait to see what happens.

In its ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court said the order Hanabusa sought "is available to compel an official to perform a duty allegedly owed only if the claim is clear and certain, the official's duty is ministerial in nature and so plainly prescribed as to be free from doubt, and no other remedy is available."

Hanabusa failed to demonstrate that she is entitled to the order, the court said.

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