Occupational safety
division loses powers

The state agency can no longer cite
businesses, Gov. Linda Lingle says

Gov. Linda Lingle rattled off a list of accomplishments for local businesses yesterday, citing the new state pet quarantine rules, increased use of Web-based licensing and an attitude change at the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division.

HIOSH has a history of arbitrary enforcement, and a mindset that only HIOSH, not businesses, cared about workplace safety, Lingle said yesterday at an annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. The luncheon, at Hilton Hawaiian Village, was attended by an estimated 700 businesspeople.

Lingle, a Republican, cited the example of a moving company given a citation by HIOSH because a worker lifted a 50-pound box. "This is moving company. They move heavy boxes," Lingle said.

One of Lingle's top campaign advisers, public relations executive Kitty Lagareta, has complained about being targeted by HIOSH after Lagareta worked for Lingle in her failed 1998 attempt to unseat then-Gov. Ben Cayetano, a Democrat.

HIOSH will soon send warning letters to businesses, without citations, and will no longer be an enforcement agency, but instead become a "consultation" agency, Lingle said.

Lingle said another pro-business accomplishment of her administration is changing state administrative rules that eliminate the quarantine for pets if requirements are met before they enter the state. Lingle said she got a call two weeks ago from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who was visiting Maui and said she was excited to learn she could travel to Hawaii with her cocker spaniels.

Lingle said her administration has cut online business registration fees, leading to a 28 percent increase in filings, and has reduced licensing fees for the securities industry.

Lingle also talked about achievements during her recent week in Japan, such as securing a technology conference to be held along with the annual Sony Open golf tournament on Oahu. Lingle said she is also pushing for military conferences to be held in Hawaii.

Jim Tollefson, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said Lingle is not shying away from her pro-business campaign agenda, which is all about creating jobs.

Also at the meeting, the chamber introduced incoming Chairman Robin Campaniano, president and chief executive of AIG Hawaii, who replaces tourism executive Chris Resich.

"The idea of business doing well was something perhaps not appreciated by prior administrations," said Campaniano, who was state insurance commissioner under Democratic Gov. John Waihee.


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