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.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie during an interview with Civil Beat.

Gov. Abercrombie says requiring more financial disclosures to be made public could discourage applicants for boards and commissions.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

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.”

Veto Deadline July 8

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:

  • House Bill 1288Clarifies that the successor to the Office of Lieutenant Governor, when the Office of Lieutenant Governor becomes vacant, must be a member of the same political party as the governor. 
  • House Bill 2163Requires the court to consider frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with each parent when awarding custody of a minor child, unless the court finds that one or both parents are unable to act in the best interests of the child.
  • House Bill 2427Repeals and transfers the unencumbered balances of various non-general funds and accounts.
  • Senate Bill 60Affords victims and surviving immediate family members, and any accompanying loved ones, the right to participate in restorative justice processes for the harm suffered by the victim, upon written request, and requires those parties to be informed of this right by the police or prosecutor.
  • Senate Bill 2431Makes permanent the exemptions granted to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, under certain conditions, from the supervision of accounts by the Comptroller, requirements for publication of consolidated financial statements, and approval of business and accounting forms. 
  • Senate Bill 2483Clarifies that a condominium association’s lien is subordinate to real property taxes, rather than all taxes. Clarifies that a condominium association may assess unpaid common fees against any purchaser who purchases a delinquent unit in a foreclosure.
  • Senate Bill 2589Transfers the law enforcement functions of the Harbors Division of the Department of Transportation to the Department of Public Safety as of July 1, 2016.
  • Senate Bill 2821Adopts revisions to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ model laws on Credit for Reinsurance Model Act (Part I), Standard Valuation Law (Part II), Standard Nonforfeiture for Life Insurance (Part III), and Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Act (Part IV). 
  • Senate Bill 2874 — Amends the composition of the Board of Land and Natural Resources by requiring that at least one member shall have a background in native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices, who shall not be the same member with a background in conservation and natural resources. 

“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.”

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