Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 3 - HB1 and HB2 pass critical third reading

Speaker pro tem Blake Oshiro called the House to order at 3:00 p.m. today. It has been a relatively quiet day after the 12-hour public hearing yesterday. Recess was called after the roll call, and both majority and minority met in caucus for less than an hour.

HB2 Extended Sentencing: After the recess, about 4:00 p.m., the House came back to address HB2 - the Extended Sentencing bill - up for third reading. There was a brief discussion, and then the House voted to pass the bill on third reading, with Rep. Joe Bertram from Maui being the only "noe" vote.

HB1 Superferry Amendment offered: Rep. Hermina Morita offered Floor Amendment No. 1, seconded by Rep. Faye Hanohano. (See Kim's post on the details of the amendment.) Many of the representatives who stood up to speak on the amendment, for and against, praised Rep. Morita for the substance of her work. Rep. Angus McKelvey from Lahaina said his objections were mostly procedural, but that Rep. Morita offered good ideas that should be considered as the House goes forward with the existing bills. Majority Leader Caldwell pointed out that two points in the amendment could be considered "deal breakers" for the Superferry, namely the slower speed, 13 knots in most waters around the Hawaiian islands, and requiring the Superferry to do an undercarriage wash prior to sailing. Caldwell said that "we can't support the amendment if we want the ferry to sail." (Rep. Ward added allegorically that "it turns the superferry into a carwash and a slowboat to the neighbor islands".) The amendment failed.

HB1 Superferry Third Reading: There was less discussion on the HB1 up for third reading, as many of the representatives opted to submit written comments to the House Journal. Rep. Joe Souki said, in support, that the ferry "will be the glue that will bind the state together." Rep. Bertram, in support, believes it will be necessary to provide more resources for the Department of Land and Natural Resources in order to monitor the environmental impact of the ferry. Rep. Sharon Har from Kapolei, in support, emphasized the importance of the release and indemnity clause of the bill and cited the need to protect the taxpayers who would ultimately pay for any litigation. The bill passed third reading with 9 members voting "noe" - Belatti, Berg, Carroll, Hanohano, Morita, Saiki, Shimabukuro, Takamine and Tokioka.

On Monday: The Senate is scheduled to go into session at 9:00 a.m., and it is anticipated that the SB1, SD1 will pass third reading and crossover to the House unamended. The House will go into session at 12 noon, and pass the bill on first reading. The House will then hold a public hearing on the Senate bill at 1:30 p.m. in the capitol auditorium.

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