Bill would strip
Lingle of UH
appointment power

The House passes measures
supporting the selection
of regents via committee

The state House has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to change the appointment process for the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, which would strip Republican Gov. Linda Lingle of the power to make direct appointments to the board.


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A companion bill would create a candidate advisory council to screen and nominate potential candidates for appointment to the Board of Regents. The regents currently are appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

Rep. Mark Moses called the amendment bill "a flawed and vengeful measure."

"It will handcuff this governor, put a stranglehold on her, and strip her of all the powers the people elected her to do when they sent her here," said Moses (R, Makakilo-Kapolei).

Eight of the 10 Republicans in the House and Democrat Josh Green of Kailua-Kona voted against the bill yesterday. The only Republicans who voted in favor of the change were Kymberly Pine of Ewa Beach and William Stonebraker of Hawaii Kai.

Rep. Helene Hale (D, Pahoa-Kalapana) voted in favor of the proposed amendment with reservation because she feels the amendment should allow for the public to elect the regents.

The House also approved a companion bill to establish the advisory council and spell out its membership.

Six of the 11 members of the advisory council would be appointed by entities within the university. The others would be appointed by the governor, Senate president, House speaker, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and Hawaii Bar Association.

Both Senate measures were amended by the House. If the Senate doesn't agree to the House amendments, the measures will go to a conference committee. If the measure is passed, it will go on the 2006 ballot and require voter approval before the Constitution can be amended.

In many states, it is the norm for the governor to appoint members of university governing board, Moses said. This has been done in Hawaii for as long as there has been a Democratic governor, he said.

When the regents fired UH President Evan Dobelle last year, some Democrats said the action was political because Dobelle endorsed Democrat Mazie Hirono in the 2002 gubernatorial election. However, the regents' action was unanimous and included the four regents appointed by former Gov. Ben Cayetano, a Democrat.

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