Photo: House members give Blake Oshiro a round of applause
Speaker pro tem Blake Oshiro gaveled the House to order shortly after 12 noon. Anticipating many lengthy floor speeches, B. Oshiro reminded the members of House Rule 50.1 limiting floor debate to 5 minutes. Members may voluntarily yield their time to others, but he was not going to encourage or solicit them to do so. And then they were off...
Many members, both for and against the bill, reflected on the divisiveness in their communities and the need for the state to heal on this issue. Rep. Bob Herkes (Puna, Ka'u, South Kona) said that he has had three threats of recall if he voted for the bill. Rep. Roland Sagum (Waimea, Kauai) voted up on the bill on behalf of the overwhelming majority of residents in his district who favor the Superferry.
Rep. Ryan Yamane (Mililani, Waipahu) spoke in favor of Section 14 of the bill, which requires the State Auditor to conduct a performance audit. Section 14 says in part: The auditor shall conduct a performance audit on the state administration's actions in exempting certain harbor improvements to facilitate large capacity ferry vessels from the requirements of conducting an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes. The audit shall also include the state administration's actions in not considering potential secondary environmental impacts of the harbor improvements prior to granting the exemption from these requirements.
Rep. Sharon Har (Kapolei) voted for the bill but expressed concern that Section 16 does not adequately protect the state from future claims. The section releases and waives the Superferry from any claims that arise from the effective date of the Act, and the Superferry indemnifies the state from claims brought through any of their actions, employees or agents.
Rep. Kyle Yamashita (Upcountry Maui) voted for the bill. He said the majority of people in his district favor the Superferry, but to the person, they were concerned about the invasive species issue. They believe that invasive species are already coming to Maui through other means, so it's not just a Superferry issue. He suggested that individuals need to become more aware of how they could be carriers of invasive species, and to start self-policing their own actions, such as washing down their own cars, and inspecting their clothes and shoes prior to transport.
We've included excerpts from Rep. Hermina Morita's floor speech and Rep. Kirk Caldwell's floor speech in a separate post.
The vote was taken around 2:30 p.m. Given that it was Halloween, Rep. Caldwell rose to thank the Minority for leaving candy on the desks, but that now he wasn't feeling so good...like he was leaning more to the right (joke). With that, Blake Oshiro returned the gavel to Speaker Say. Rep. Oshiro received a round of applause from the floor and compliments on running a smooth and time-efficient session.
Speaker Say pounded the gavel and adjourned the Special Session, Sine Die.
Photo: Returning the gavel to Speaker Say