Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday vetoed 15 measures passed by the 2011 Hawaii Legislature.

They include measures that would have required online voter registration, tracked the sales of pseudoephedrine and eliminated the statute of limitations for civil actions brought by victims of sexual offenses as a minor.

But bills making the cut include ones that authorize a study of vog’s impact and repeal parts of the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act so it comports with federal legislation.

Tuesday was the deadline for the governor to sign, veto or let bills become law without his signature.

Leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives have already said they would not call a special session to override the vetoes.

Fewer Vetoes than Lingle

In all, the governor signed 235 measures and vetoed 17; seven bills became law without his signature.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, vetoed 50 bills in her first term. The Democrat-controlled Legislature in 2003 overrode six of them.

In all, 221 bills out of that session were enacted into law.

Besides Lingle, only one other governor has had a veto overridden since statehood: Democrat Ben Cayetano, who in 2001 vetoed an age of sexual consent bill.

Gov Listed 23 Potential Vetoes

As required by law, in late June Abercrombie listed 23 bills that he was considering for veto. They included House Bill 1520, which would study on-bill financing to increase use of clean energy.

Last week, however, the governor signed HB 1520, surprising environmentalists and clean-energy advocates. As he explained at a clean energy forum July 7, his potential veto list was just a work in progress — “an instrumentality” to let the Legislature know that he was looking more carefully at some measures.

“It gives me the opportunity to say, ‘At this point we’d still like to get some input,'” he said.

In the case of HB 1520, that input included a commitment from Blue Planet Foundation — the bill’s chief advocate — to help the Public Utilities Commission fund the study.

Regarding other bills the governor chose to sign:

• House Bill 680 would have repealed the requirement that HCDA consider recommendations by the Kakaako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council in developing any plans for the Kakaako Makai area.

In a press release, the administration said, “The conditions and circumstances under which CPAC was created no longer exist. There is a Conceptual Master Plan now in place and a public participation protocol in which any interested person or group, including CPAC, can ask to be involved in planning or lease decisions.

• House Bill 1134 repeals Part V of the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act and Act 99, Session Laws of Hawaii 1994, which relates to the future termination of the prepaid health care law.

“The Administration has since received opinions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor that concluded the intent of both the federal government and State of Hawaii is to retain the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act alongside the federal Patient Protection Affordable Care Act,” the administration said. “Passing HB 1134 is a clear indication that Hawaii plans to retain the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act.”

• House Bill 318 establishes an interagency task force on vog on the Big Island to discuss the impact of vog and find ways to address these issues.

“The bill was on Governor Abercrombie’s intent to veto list because there is currently a statewide task force on sulfur dioxide hazards and this interagency task force was seen as duplicative,” the administration said. “However, Governor Abercrombie felt the health issues created by vog are serious, he believes a task force at the county level is more responsive. The county task force can address the immediate issues faced by Big Island residents and can bring recommendations to the statewide task force.”

The full press release from the administration about the 15 vetoes is available here.

No Money for Web Voting Registration

Among the 15 bills that were vetoed by Abercrombie is House Bill 545, which would have required electronic voter registration on the website of the Office of Elections.

“This measure would have required the Attorney General, counties, and the Office of Elections to modify its computer systems to verify the information required in the online voter registration system and to obtain an electronic copy of each applicant’s signature,” said the administration. “The estimated cost of implementation is $2.5 million and no funding was provided in the bill. Electronic voter registration can be addressed as the state moves to assess and overhaul the state’s technology systems.”

Also vetoed is Senate Bill 40, which would have established a tracking system for the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. The administration said the bill has a technical flaw.

Senate Bill 44 would have required the Department of Public Safety to establish performance indicators for inmate reentry system, and required reports to the Legislature. “This bill does not allow enough time or resources for PSD to accomplish the intended outcomes of the bill,” the administration said. “The Governor agrees with the intent of this bill but feels that it is premature. He would like to wait to see the outcomes from the Justice Reinvestment process and assessment from the new Chief Information Officer on the PSD’s capacity to respond in these performance areas.”

And Senate Bill 217 would have eliminated the statute of limitations for civil actions brought by victims of sexual offenses as a minor against the person who committed the act or acts and authorize suits against a legal entity in certain circumstances. Here’s what the administration said in its veto message:

This bill allowed an employer, including the state, to be sued for the criminal acts of its employees. This is contrary to well-established tort and agency law and is in direct contravention of the State Tort Liability Act (STLA), Chapter 662 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Under the STLA, the state cannot be sued for the criminal or intentional acts of its employees. The elimination of a statute of limitations for a civil claim also raises grave constitutional and fairness concerns. If a claim can be brought after an unlimited passage of time, it is likely that documents will be lost or destroyed and witnesses will die or move away. The accused, even those falsely accused, will not be able to defend himself, herself, or itself, and true justice will not be achieved. 



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