Hawaii lawmakers made several corrections to the state budget at the suggestion of Gov. David Ige and overrode a final veto measure related to state bonds Thursday, the last day for the brief special session of the Legislature.

Much of the details of those measures were already worked out on Tuesday, when the Legislature overturned five of Ige’s vetoes. However, the Hawaii Constitution required lawmakers to wait until Thursday to take final votes.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that House and Senate rules required lawmakers to wait until Thursday.

On Thursday, the Legislature issued a sixth override, this time of House Bill 53, the legal mechanism that authorizes the state government to borrow more than $1 billion in the next two fiscal years to fund construction projects.

Like the other approvals on Thursday, the veto override was technical in nature. There was little discussion on the measures, and lawmakers wrapped up their business and adjourned the veto session in less than an hour on Thursday.

House adjourns the special session at the legislature.
Lawmakers wrapped up their business and adjourned the veto session Thursday in less than an hour. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

The Legislature inserted $496 million worth of debt service payable to the state’s general treasury in House Bill 54. The measure helps to remedy one of Ige’s concerns that lawmakers violated federal guidelines when they used American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay for some of those capital improvement projects.

The bill also deposits $250 million into the rainy day fund.

Those fixes to HB 54 were necessary before lawmakers could take a final vote on HB 53, Senate President Ron Kouchi said.

The Legislature followed through with sweeping money sitting in various pockets around state government to deposit in the general treasury. The move gives lawmakers greater control over how those funds are used.

Lawmakers also approved minor tweaks to House Bill 1299 recommended by Ige to fix language dealing with the milk control special fund and the Hawaiian Home Lands trust fund.

The Legislature also took some of Ige’s suggestions regarding Senate Bill 589, which deals with various facets of the University of Hawaii.

One important provision allows UH President David Lassner to act as the system’s chief procurement officer. There’s also other contracting language that lawmakers cleared up at Ige’s request.

However, legislators went their own way when it comes to the UH Cancer Center. Lawmakers put the cancer center into law and required it to be affiliated with the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Ige objected to that provision, saying that putting the cancer center’s duties into law limits the university’s ability to make changes in the future.

“These structural changes should be made in consultation with the leadership of the respective institutions and UH Manoa leadership,” Ige wrote in his objections to the bill.

Ige has until July 22 to sign the amended bills, or they will not become law.

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