Flagpole bill will likely be heard after supporters show in force


POSTED: Saturday, February 20, 2010

A bill to allow flagpoles in planned community associations might get its day in the sun after all.

Responding to public opinion voiced loudly by veterans groups at the Capitol on Thursday, Rep. Rida Cabanilla says she is willing to rehear House Bill 2311.

“;I was not really aware that there was a force behind it,”; said Cabanilla, the Housing Committee chairwoman.

The bill would allow flagpoles to be erected in planned communities with reasonable restrictions to maintain aesthetics.

Cabanilla held a hearing on the bill Feb. 3 but deferred it based on the absence of public testimony on the bill. Only four pieces of written testimony were submitted—three in support and one opposed.

Rallied by the Republican sponsor of the bill, Rep. Kymberly Pine, veterans groups and other supporters packed the House gallery on Thursday as the six-member GOP caucus tried to have the bill recalled from committee.

Many cheered loudly from the gallery whenever a lawmaker spoke in support, and in some cases shouted “;Sit down!”; to lawmakers who stood in opposition to the recall motion, which fell three votes shy of the 17 needed to pass.

“;I think that considering the passion of the people, I'm willing to rehear it,”; said Cabanilla (D, Waipahu-Ewa).

; The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, although a time will not be determined until Monday.

Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said she expects the hearing to be well attended. “;There's already a veterans group forming to tackle this issue,”; she said. “;I think enough people are going to come out to show that they support it.”;

Although the bill already missed one of the House's internal deadlines, Democratic leaders said they would wait to determine whether any procedural moves are needed to keep it alive.

Cabanilla said she would prefer to have a task force study the measure, to come up with clear guidelines and specifications under which flagpoles and flags would be allowed in planned communities.

Meanwhile, Pine said Cabanilla's move to rehear the bill meant she would likely drop plans to challenge Thursday's recall vote.

Staff members who recorded the in-house video of the vote said it clearly showed that three Democrats' hands were raised for the recall vote but not counted, leaving the motion three votes shy of the required 17.

House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro said the chief clerk and two assistants each counted 14 “;yea”; votes on the recall motion, and no one challenged the count, “;so it's an official decision.”;