Animal, camera bills
likely dead

Leaders of the respective Senate
panels say the measures might
not have enough support

A bill to ban eating dogs and cats and a proposal to establish a red-light camera enforcement system -- measures advancing in the state House -- do not appear to have the needed support in the Senate, key lawmakers said yesterday.

Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa said she was leaning against giving the animal cruelty bill (House Bill 866) a hearing, while Transportation Chairwoman Sen. Lorraine Inouye said she does not think the red-light camera proposal will pass out of her committee.

Without approval from the Senate, both measures would die this year.

Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua) said she was sympathetic to animal lovers, but added that her committee has more pressing issues to deal with this session.

"I think it upsets the public, no question about it," she said. "But right now, I'm not inclined to hear that."

A similar animal cruelty measure introduced in the Senate was referred to Hanabusa's committee but did not receive a hearing.

"We have got these major judiciary issues that I have to contend with, and I'm not sure that we're going to be able to get to issues such as that this session," she said.

Hanabusa said the key issues before her Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee deal with crafting the legislation for the four constitutional amendments approved by voters last year.

Rep. Glenn Wakai, who introduced the House measure, said he was simply trying to stop the practice of dog and cat consumption from gaining a foothold in Hawaii. He said he introduced the bill after media reports last summer that dogs were being sold and slaughtered for their meat.

"If the public sentiment is such that it's not necessary, then so be it, but I think the discussion has been a healthy one," said Wakai (D, Moanalua Valley-Salt Lake).

The bill advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee but requires approval from the full chamber before being sent to the Senate for consideration.

Meanwhile, Inouye's committee was one of two Senate panels that shelved a bill (Senate Bill 83) this week that would have allowed the state to contract with a private vendor to set up a system for photographing red-light runners and mailing citations to the owners of those vehicles.

"Just from the discussion on it, I have a feeling that my committee members probably don't support it," said Inouye (D, Hilo-Honokaa).

The House proposal (House Bill 1324, House Draft 1) allows counties to set up the program and keep the revenue generated from tickets. It still faces final approval from the House Finance Committee and the full chamber.

If approved in the House, Inouye said she would hear the bill, but added, "I think it's in danger."

The apparent death of the red-light cameras already was applauded by Senate Republicans.

"Thankfully, we will not have another van cam scam deja vu this session," said Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai), referring to the speeding camera enforcement system that was repealed just months after its debut in 2002.

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