UPDATED 6/28/11 8 a.m.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday identified 23 bills for possible veto.
The bills, deemed “unacceptable” by the governor, include a measure pushed by Blue Planet Foundation to make it easier for consumers to finance purchases of energy efficient or renewable energy devices.
The list also includes a bill that would allow law enforcement to track sales of pseudoephedrine in order to cut down on the production of crystal methamphetamine. Also targeted are bills that would set up a task force to study the impact of volcanic haze and one allowing voters to register online with the State Office of Elections.
UPDATE In a statement released late Monday, Abercrombie said: “With the input from many concerned citizens, I have put forward a list of bills that I am considering vetoing. Some of these measures will not work as they are written, despite their good intentions. Many others create additional work for our departments without any funding sources to carry them through. In these austere times, state agencies simply do not have the capacity to implement unfunded mandates that are not high priorities of our Administration.”
The governor has until July 12 to formally veto the measures, sign them or let them become law without his signature.
The Legislature can also choose to convene a special session to override the vetos, but a two-thirds majority in both chambers is required to overturn the governor’s veto.
The renewal-energy bill, House Bill 1520, seemed dead this year. Yet the measure — also known as on-bill financing — was revived late in the session. The governor doesn’t give a reason for his possible veto of HB 1520.
Other measures making the potential veto list is a bill that would remove termination clauses in the state’s Prepaid Health Care Act to make it conform to national health care reform. As Civil Beat reported, some lawmakers believe the bill, while well-intentioned, could imperil Hawaii’s landmark act.
UPDATE The governor’s objections to the bills are noted.
Senate Bill 23 Relating to Native Hawaiians (Aha Kiole Advisory Council). Administration: “The Council is self-selected, is not confirmed, has no terms of service, cannot be removed for cause and would select its own Executive Director and staff. This is essentially a private entity that would receive annual taxpayer funds with no oversight.”
Senate Bill 590 Relating to the Legislative Federal Economic Stimulus Program Oversight Commission (Extends sunset date to Dec. 31, 2011). Administration: “The Governor already signed House Bill 383 into law as Act 26 that does the same thing.”
Senate Bill 1493 Relating to Light Pollution (Requires fully shielded outdoor light fixtures by July 1, 2013). Administration: “This is a noteworthy goal given the effects of night lighting on our native wildlife, astronomy and night viewing activities. However, the funding implications of this mandate are potentially enormous given federal lighting standards for our highways.”
Senate Bill 1417 Relating to the State Rehabilitation Council (Minimum number of members for quorum). Administration: “The Governor believes that rather than reduce quorum, we should get people to serve on the Council who will participate and attend meetings. Reducing the number of votes necessary to validate any action of the council to 6 out of a 21 member council is not a fair representation of the Council.”
Senate Bill 40 Relating to Pseudoephedrine (Tracking system for sale of products that contain pseudoephdrine). Administration: “There is a technical flaw in this bill because the title of the bill is “relating to pseudoephedrine.”
House Bill 56 Relating to Child Visitation (Grandparent visitation). Administration: “This bill would make it more difficult for grandparents to visit their grandchildren.”
Senate Bill 44 Relating to Public Safety (Inmate rehabilitation and re-entry). Administration: “This bill does not allow enough time or resources for PSD to accomplish the intended outcomes of the bill.”
House Bill 318 Relating to Vog (Interagency task force). Administration: “The establishment of an interagency task force at the county level is redundant with a statewide task force already in place to address the effects and impact of sulfur dioxide hazards in various counties and communities. It also places a mandate onto the counties and does not appropriate funds for the task force.”
Senate Bill 217 Relating to Limitation of Actions (Statute of limitations, sexual offenses against minors). Administration: “This bill appears to allow 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.”
House Bill 545 Relating to Voter Registration (Online Voter Registration). Administration: “The Governor objects because the estimated cost is $2.5 million, but no appropriation is provided.”
House Bill 1405 Relating to Planning (Greenways and trails). Administration: “The Office currently has a staff of six people that focus almost exclusively on meeting federal mandates. Effective implementation of this measure requires resources and funding that the Office does not currently have.”
House Bill 667 Relating to Food Safety (Food safety and security program within DOA). Administration: “Although the Governor believes food safety is important, this bill does not provide any funding to implement the specified mandates, nor does it provide any authority to establish administrative rules.”
Senate Bill 1511 Relating to Aquaculture (Increases maximum lease terms). Administration: “The Governor believes oceans are always changing and providing 65-year leases is not prudent. In addition, the definition of aquaculture is too broad.”
Senate Bill 1559 Relating to Important Agricultural Lands (Establishes incentives). Administration: “However, this measure does not provide penalties or resolution for failure to comply, does not identify the agency responsible for monitoring compliance and does not address how the monitoring agency will be able to distinguish Important Agricultural Lands (IAL) and non-IAL source products. In addition, incentives should be targeted toward certain agricultural goals and not the general category of important agricultural lands.”
House Bill 680 Relating to Kakaako (Kakaako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council, Repeal). The administration offered no explanation for a possible veto.
House Bill 1134 Relating to Prepaid Health Care Repeals Part V of Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act and Act 99 SLH 1994). Administration: “Further investigation is needed on whether approval of this bill would have unintended consequences to Hawaii’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) waiver.”
House Bill 1155 Relating to Repeat Offenders. Administration: “This bill will significantly change the current policy on how the criminal justice system addresses the problem of repeat offenders that was originally enacted since 1976. This bill would make the repeat offender law inapplicable to all felony drug offenses, ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition by persons convicted of certain crimes, and insurance fraud felony convictions.”
House Bill 1164 Relating to Public Lands (Allows sale of Sand Island parcels to leaseholders). Administration: “DLNR has repeatedly stated that the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) is not interested in selling or exchanging the lands under the Sand Island master lease into a hundred small lot transfers with a hundred separate land transactions that could result in the Department owning several non-contiguous lots.”
House Bill 1230 Relating to Building Permits (Exempts construction for certain non-residential structures). Administration: “This bill addresses a problem that needs to be resolved, however, there are ambiguities in the bill on the implementation process. The Governor plans to sign another bill that establishes a task force to look at impediments for the permitting processes.”
House Bill 1505 Relating to State Facilities (State renovation public-private partnership). Administration: “The Governor is opposed to the sale of state facilities to private entities. Additionally, there are potential debt service issues with the sale of public buildings previously financed with general obligation bonds that may currently be outstanding.”
House Bill 1654 Relating to Group Living Facilities. Administration: “There is a technical flaw in this bill.”
Senate Bill 49 Relating to Correctional Facilities (Deaths, reporting requirements). Administration: “(The Department of Public Safety) currently does this and there is another statute that covers this procedure.”
The governor, as of June 23, had signed 163 bills into law, vetoed two and signaled his intent to veto a third. Another bill became law without his signature.
A total of 252 bills were passed in the last session.