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Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday identified 10 measures he is thinking about vetoing.
They include a financial disclosure bill that the governor told Civil Beat last month he was skeptical about — because he thinks it would hurt women and discourage government service.
The Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 2682 during the 2014 session.
The “good government” measure would add 15 state boards and commissions to the list of government officials and agency members required to have their financial disclosures made public.
The boards and commissions include many of the most important in the state, including — in addition to the University of Hawaii Regents — the Public Utilities Commission, the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the Board of Land and Natural Resources and the Land Use Commission.
A goal of the bill was to allow for the media and the public to determine whether members might have potential conflicts of interest when businesses they are involved with come before the board or commission they serve on.
But Abercrombie said he’s worried that efforts to force “volunteers” to disclose information about their personal lives would keep many people from serving.
He also thinks that women would be harmed by the bill should it become law.
“We hope he actually read the bill since your last interview with the governor.” — Carmille Lim, Common Cause Hawaii
“The prejudice against women, the discrimination against women in the workplace, is rampant,” he said. “It’ll be, ‘Oh, she’s married to the second cousin of the guy who’s the head of this department,’ or something like that. And someone will say it’s a conflict. Then what? Then what? I don’t think it’s a conflict.”
In Civil Beat’s May 28 interview with the governor, Abercrombie did not seem to know anything about SB 2682, even though it had been in news stories and editorials and a member of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents said he would step down if the bill became law.
Putting SB 2682 on the potential veto list, said Carmille Lim of Common Cause Hawaii, shows that Abercrombie” doesn’t support transparency for powerful boards and commissions.”
Lim told Civil Beat, “We hope he actually read the bill since your last interview with the governor.”
The 10 bills singled out for possible veto are out of 245 pieces of legislation that were passed.
The administration on June 9 let lawmakers know of the governor’s intent to line-item veto part of House Bill 1700 — the state budget — to address an inconsistency between and that bill and the bond authorization bill, House Bill 1712.
Abercrombie did not provide much reason for his veto list, other than to say in a press release Monday, “There are a few bills I am considering vetoing because of input I have received from concerned individuals. Other bills, despite their good intentions, will not work as they are written.”
The other nine measures the governor said he may veto include:
“Most of these bills are potentially objectionable because of concerns raised by state department or agencies, reflected in testimonies provided during the hearing process,” according to the administration. “The purpose of the notice is to allow sufficient time for Gov. Abercrombie to give additional consideration, have further discussions and inquiries, and conduct deeper analysis before final decisions are made.”
Abercrombie has signed 121 measures into law this year, according to the administration: “He continues to review legislative bills that he must either veto or sign by July 8, 2014, or allow them to become law without his signature.”