Saturday, June 03, 2023 |
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Gov. David Ige on Monday released an intent-to-veto list of 30 bills out of the 343 measures passed by the Hawaii State Legislature in the recently completed 2022 session.
“Those 30 bills listed does not mean that I will veto all of them, but I cannot veto a bill that is not listed and the Legislature is not informed,” Ige said in a press conference.
Among the bills on the list are House Bill 1567, which would eliminate the use of monetary bail and would require pretrial defendants to be released on their own recognizance for nonviolent offenses, subject to certain exclusions.
“The bill does not adequately address several important issues, including the need to secure the appearance of defendants,” Ige said. “The bill includes the release of defendants who may pose a danger to public safety. And it also deprives judges of the ability to exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis when determining appropriate bail amounts.”
In a statement, Ige listed several Class C felony charges that would require nonmonetary pretrial release: being a felon in possession of a firearm; second-degree burglary; third-degree arson; rioting; cruelty to animals; second-degree extortion; and promoting a controlled substance at or near a school.
Also on the list is HB 1570, concerning the youth vaping epidemic, which would ban the sale of certain flavored tobacco products.
“There were late amendments to this bill which exempted certain FDA-approved products, that essentially allows hundreds, if not thousands, of tobacco products to avoid the ban,” Ige said. “This renders the bill effectively useless, and is counter to the bill’s original intent.”
Another bill, HB 2424, if enacted, would expand the investigative authority of the Department of Human Services regarding families receiving adoption or permanency assistance through and from the state, or families that have had a complaint filed against them with the DHS.
“I strongly support the intent of this bill, which is to give more resources and authority to our Child Welfare Services Division, to ensure that our keiki are safe,” Ige said. “… However, this bill has serious legal concerns. This bill requires monitoring and surveillance of all families who have adopted or taken guardianship of former foster children, so that the families can never live free of government intrusion in their lives — a right which all other families often take for granted.”
Ige called SB 2510 “not in the people’s best interest.”
The billwould require at least one-third of the state’s renewable energy be generated by “firm renewable sources,” which the measure defines as“available and capable of continually producing energy 24 hours per day, 365 days per year … subject only to routine maintenance and emergency repairs.”
“My office received 1,600 communications in opposition to the contents of this bill, which I believe speaks to the passion that we all have here in Hawaii for renewable energy,” Ige said. “We shouldn’t waste our time on this kind of legislation if we hope to exist in a clean energy future.”
A bill that would cap the amount of royalties from geothermal resources paid to the state and county, SB 3229, also is on the veto list. According to Ige’s statement, the cap would divert funds from critical DLNR programs that regulate geothermal development and energy, adding the cap amount “is insufficient to cover the operating cost of those programs.”
Another bill, SB 3252, would cap the costs charged for the reproduction or copying of certain government records. It also would waive duplication costs of records in an electronic format, or when the public interest is served by a record’s disclosure.
The statement said the bill’s passage would act “as a disincentive for records requesters to narrow the scope of their requests, thus resulting in overboard requests. … As a result, agencies may be forced to choose between responding to records requests and performing their regular jobs.”
Ige said he’s “certain that every request for information would come with a request for an exemption of fees for copying.”
“I am disappointed that Gov. Ige has chosen to include SB 3252 in his veto list,” said Nancy Cook Lauer, immediate past president of the Big Island Press Club, which submitted testimony in opposition to the measure. “I applaud the Legislature for passing it, recognizing that transparency in government is a positive thing, and the public’s access to public records shouldn’t depend on how much money they make.
“Unfortunately, the veto message refers to agencies being forced to choose between responding to records requests and performing their ‘regular’ jobs. I really am sorry the administration appears to be saying that providing the public access to their own records isn’t part of the job.”
An override of any vetoed bill requires the vote of two-thirds of the members of both the House and Senate.
“The Senate will have to review Gov. Ige’s list of bills he intends to veto, and discussions will have to be had with the House of Representatives to determine their inclinations,” Senate President Ron Kouchi said in a statement.
Senate spokesman Jacob Aki said senators plan to meet today to discuss the governor’s list.
House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a statement his chamber’s committee chairs will review the list and then meet with House members to determine whether to override any vetoes.
The Legislature has until noon July 12 to convene for the sole purpose of acting upon vetoed bills. Any measure passed during the 2022 session that isn’t signed or vetoed by Ige will become law on July 12 without his signature.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Disclosure: John Burnett is president of the Big Island Press Club. Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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