Legislature overturns
a dozen Lingle vetoes,
tying a record

» Dems reject 2 of Lingle's vetoes


Thursday, July 14, 2005

» Gov. Linda Lingle has signed into law House Bill 1715, which forbids discrimination based on gender or sexual identity in housing. A Page A1 article in some editions yesterday incorrectly said she vetoed the measure.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at corrections@starbulletin.com.

The state Legislature wrapped up business for 2005 by overriding 12 vetoes, matching the all-time record for veto overrides.

Not since George R. Carter was governor in 1905, had a Hawaii governor had so many vetoes overridden.

In each of her last two legislative sessions, Lingle saw six vetoes overturned along with portions of a budget bill in 2004 also overridden.

There was no statement from Lingle yesterday after the Legislature's special session, but earlier in the week the administration had pushed hard to sustain her veto of a workers' compensation bill.

The measure, Senate Bill 1808, scraps Lingle's special rules put in place to reform workers' comp rules. Lawmakers who overrode the veto said the rules usurped the Legislature's right to set policy and also disagreed with Lingle's changes. But the governor said Hawaii's labor laws were unfair to both workers and business owners.

Another labor bill, SB 1420, which would have forced public employers to negotiate with unions before moving workers from one job to another was vetoed but legislators couldn't muster the votes for an override yesterday.

"We tried to put it on the table and tried to sustain it, but the House was very adamant. We will try next year," Senate President Robert Bunda said.

According to the state Constitution both the House and Senate must override a veto with at least a two-thirds majority for the vetoed bill to become law.

Two other vetoed bills (HB 1450 and HB 1715) that would have prohibited discrimination against gays and transgender or cross-dressing individuals were not overridden. The lack of action prompted an afternoon demonstration yesterday by about 20 members of Kulia Na Mamo, a transgender support group.

Kim Coco Iwamoto, a civil rights attorney, asked that the Legislature override the vetoes, but again lawmakers didn't have enough votes to sustain the vetoes.

Lingle had said the bill to prohibit discrimination in employment addressed issues that were already covered by current Hawaii law. The bill to prohibit discrimination in housing was ambiguous and vague, Lingle said.

Here are the bills that were passed into law after being vetoed by Lingle:

» HB 160 changes the insurance compliance resolution fund regulations.

» HB 1224 repeals governor's power to appoint members of the Hawaii Simplified Sales and Use Tax Advisory Council.

» HB 1317 stops the Human Services Department from managing pharmaceutical benefits under Medicaid laws.

» SB 960 takes $8 million from the Hurricane Relief Trust Fund.

» SB 1262 imposes further study of recreational areas between Kalaeloa and Kaena Point.

» SB 1685 allows state Tax Department to share tax information with the counties.

» SB 1808 scraps a set of Labor Department workers' comp rules.

» SB 1877 changes regulations regarding the Office of State Planning.

» HB 180, extends collective-bargaining agreements to excluded employees.

» SB 1473 requires Health Department to give notice before considering changes in the Waimano Home area.

» SB 1592 gives $200,000 to legislative auditor to prepare the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan.

» SB 1772 requires Human Services Department to report to Legislature businesses employing 25 or more individuals on public medical assistance programs.


Dems reject 2
of Lingle’s vetoes

Typographical errors mean the bills she
meant to nix should become law, they say

Majority Democrats in the Legislature will not accept two of Gov. Linda Lingle's vetoes because of errors in her veto messages, meaning the state could wind up in court over a couple of typos.

"Our position is that those bills are, as of today, the law and that you'll probably see a lawsuit," said House Majority Leader Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Poamoho). "It's up to them right now."

Lingle has said she believes the vetoes are valid despite the typographical errors, citing an opinion from Attorney General Mark Bennett that contends the veto messages are valid because the governor's intent is clear.

Governor's spokesman Russell Pang yesterday would not say whether the administration had any plans to challenge the Democrats' position in court.

"The governor is standing by the attorney general's opinion," Pang said.

Under the law, Lingle faced a deadline of June 27 to notify the Legislature of which bills she planned to veto. That day, the governor sent lawmakers notice of 33 bills that were being considered for vetoes.

The next day, typos listing incorrect bill numbers were discovered in five of those veto messages. Lingle sent lawmakers supplemental proclamations correcting the errors, but even one of those messages contained a typographical error -- some words being inadvertently omitted from the text.

Democrats argued Lingle missed the constitutionally mandated deadline for providing notice, meaning the bills automatically become law without her signature.

"One of the big worries is the slippery slope," said House Judiciary Chairman Blake Oshiro, an attorney. "Once we start accepting flaws in proclamations, where does it end?

"That's why we need to always have clear message and clear notice, because that's what the Constitution requires."

Lingle vetoed only two of the five bills.

The two vetoes in question include House Bill 1548, which amends the appointment procedures and process for filling vacancies on the board of trustees of the Employee-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund; and Senate Bill 813, which appropriates $20 million in federal Reed Act funds for services of the unemployment insurance and work-force development divisions.

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