Gov. David Ige plans to veto 15 bills, including a proposal backed by environmental groups seeking to phase out the catching of aquarium fish in Hawaii.

The governor similarly intends to veto a bill that critics feared would give public worker unions too much power.

Also on his veto list is a proposal to require the attorney general to defend county lifeguards, which Ige called an “overreach.” A law that gives limited liability immunity to county lifeguards who work on state beaches will expire next week.

Governor David Ige holds a press conference on bills that he plans to veto. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Ige announced the bills Friday at a press conference at the Hawaii State Capitol. The announcement started 20 minutes late because he was notifying House and Senate leadership of his veto plans.

The governor emphasized that he’s still talking to public worker unions about their concerns. He must decide what to veto by July 11.

“Just because it is on the list doesn’t mean it is an absolute veto,” Ige said of the bills, adding that more than 200 measures passed the Legislature this year.

Already, Ige’s plan to veto the aquarium fishing bill inflamed supporters like Rep. Kaniela Ing, who issued a press release Friday saying that the governor’s “rationale is not rooted in facts” and “a veto would be an affront to democracy.”

“A veto would be terrible news for tourism, the health of our reefs, and for local fishermen whose catch relies on the abundance of smaller feeder fish,” Ing wrote, calling the bill a “compromise measure” and saying he’s worked on it for three years.

Ing adding that it’s “extremely disingenuous for DLNR to say a ban is premature, when this bill grandfathers current collectors in, and wouldn’t take effect for decades.”

State Rep. Kaniela Ing thinks the current law allowing aquarium fishing is stupid. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Ige also wants to veto a bill that would allow tiny homes on agricultural land, noting that it’s duplicative of existing law and that zoning is a county function. He also said that many bills are on his veto list due to technical reasons, and that he’s looking for ways to make the proposals work legally.

The governor has already signed several measures, including a proposal to get rid of a residency requirement for county police chiefs and allow immigrants from Micronesia to serve on state boards and commissions.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a press release that legislative leaders will review Ige’s veto list and determine whether to try and override any vetoes.

Speaker Scott Saiki announces legislature special session.
House Speaker Scott Saiki announces the legislature special session on June 19. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“If an override session is not warranted, members may reintroduce their bills in the 2018 session and work to address the Governor’s objections at that time,” Saiki wrote.

Lawmakers are planning to convene a special session this summer to deal with how to fund the city’s rail project which is billions of dollars over budget.

“According to the Hawaii State Constitution, the Legislature may convene on or before Tuesday, July 11, 2017 in Special Session to override a veto,” Saiki’s press release said. “Specific bills may be amended and need a two-thirds vote in both chambers to pass. On July 11, any measure that has not been signed or vetoed by Gov. Ige will become law with or without his signature.”

Read about all the vetoed bills below:

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