Monday, July 14, 2008

Veto override debate ménage à trois

On Friday, the Star Bulletin printed an opinion piece that criticized the Legislature's reasoning behind overriding 13 of the Governor's veto, asserting that the move was more about power than the public good. On Saturday, Ian Lind questioned in a blog post whether the writer of the editorial read any of the bills in their entirety, and also mentioned several bills he deemed quite pressing and important to the public. Then, today, the Star Bulletin printed a letter to the editor from Rep. Kirk Caldwell, who was quoted in the editorial as saying the overrides were limited to "pressing needs". Caldwell notes that many constituents would disagree with the editorials suggestion that the bills overridden by the Legislature were not pressing issues.

Here is a brief synopsis of a few of their arguments (just in case you don't feel like browsing through the three links).

State regulation of interisland air carriers

SB : Why would the Legislature override a veto of a bill to re-regulate interisland air carrier when state regulation of airlines is prohibited by federal law?

IL: The bill contains a key proviso - which the SB fails to mention - limiting the law to take effect once federal legislation permits implementation.

"What the bill accomplishes is to provide a regulatory structure that can be used to show the state's intent while lobbying Congress for the power to take control of our vital interisland transportation system…the S-B editorial made it sound like legislators were just unaware of the limits of state authority," wrote Lind.

Operation of the University of Hawaii

SB: Differences in opinion on how UH should be operated prompted lawmakers to override two bills, however urgency played no role in the decision.

IL: Requiring the UH Board of Regents to make public administrative salaries and expenditures is already mandated by the Sunshine Law, which the the Board refuses to provide promptly.

Permanent absentee voting

SB: The new law could botch the legitimacy of voting in Hawaii. It will be difficult to verify in all cases if the person registered to vote is actually submitting the absentee ballot. In situations where an individual relocates or dies, ballots could be used by others.

Caldwell: Providing residents with access to voting booths is important, especially to the elderly who support making absentee voting easier.


Anonymous said...

Even the House blog insists that only 13 bills were over ridden. My last count was that 14 were over-ridden . The line item veto in SB 2830 was as important as any of the other over-rides, in my opinion. You should not ignore it! M. Lee

Hawaii House Blog - GD said...

We agree! However, it's more a matter of comparing the numbers from year to year, and in the past, the number of overrides is for bills only, not including line items. This is according to the House Chief Clerks Office. So, in order to be consistent, we've listed the number as 13.