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Governor looks to veto 30 bills passed by state lawmakers

Gov. David Ige announced plans on Monday to veto 30 of the 343 bills passed by the state Legislature this session, raising concerns about legal issues and program effectiveness. He has until July 12 to make his final decisions. Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

The Maui News

Gov. David Ige announced that he plans to veto 30 of the 343 bills passed by the state Legislature this session, including a measure that would do away with cash bail for some felonies and another that would ban the sale of certain flavored tobacco products.

“Several factors went into my decision making, including legal considerations, program effectiveness and compliance issues,” Ige said Monday.

Two of the bills are being considered for line-item vetoes, including House Bill 1600 on the state budget and Senate Bill 2076, which calls for the creation of a working group to determine the best way to oversee the state’s broadband assets.

“These bills are being considered for line-item vetoes of specific appropriations, including the over-appropriation of federal funds,” Ige explained. “In addition, the State must operate within the federal Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements contained in the American Rescue Plan Act.”

The other 28 being vetoed include House Bill 1567, which would eliminate the use of monetary bail and requires defendants to be released on their own recognizance for certain nonviolent offenses. Ige said that there hasn’t been enough time to fully assess the effects of changes that the Legislature made to the state’s criminal pretrial system in 2019.

“The bill does not adequately address several important issues, including the need to secure the appearance of defendants and it deprives judges of the ability to exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis,” said Ige, who also raised issues over the automatic release of defendants charged with class C felonies, such as second-degree burglary and third-degree arson.

Ige also plans to veto House Bill 1570, which would ban the sale of certain flavored tobacco products and mislabeled e-liquid products and establishes fines.

“There was a late amendment to the definition of ‘flavored tobacco product’ in this bill which exempted certain FDA approved tobacco products,” Ige said. “This amendment essentially renders the bill ineffective since very few products would actually be included in this ban.”

Another bill in Ige’s sights is Senate Bill 2510, which would establish a state energy policy requiring at least 33.33 percent of renewable energy to be generated by firm renewable energy.

Ige said that depending on how the percentage is calculated, some islands would be out of compliance.

“Each interpretation results in different percentages, leaving open to interpretation how much more ‘firm’ renewable energy would be needed to satisfy the minimum requirement,” Ige said. “This bill does not account for the natural resources or the physical, technical, social or economic constraints each island has.”

Some other bills that could affect Maui County issues include Senate Bill 3179, which requires the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife to adopt rules and issue funds to licensed hunters at a per unit rate for feral axis deer herd management.

“Bounty programs to manage feral animal populations have been found to be ineffective and invite problems of fraud and trespass,” Ige said of his reasons for wanting to veto the bill. “The Department of Land and Natural Resources is already working on this issue and has a task force to reduce the axis deer populations in Maui County.”

Ige also said he plans to veto Senate Bill 1297, which would extend the authorization to issue special purpose revenue bonds to help MauiGrown Coffee expand its farm and mill. The bill “is defective because it attempts to extend the bond authorization lapse date beyond five years,” which violates state law, Ige said.

Legislative leaders said Monday that they will review the governor’s intent-to-veto list and decide what steps to take next.

“After the House committee chairs have an opportunity to review the Governor’s list, we will meet with the House members to determine whether to override any vetoes,” House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a statement. “We will also have to determine whether the Senate is willing to override.”

Two-thirds of the members in the Senate and House must vote to override a veto.

“The Senate will have to review Governor Ige’s list of bills he intends to veto, and discussions will have to be had with the House of Representatives to determine their inclinations,” Senate President Ronald Kouchi said in a statement.

Ige is not required to veto every bill included on his list, and he cannot veto any bills that were not included on the list. He has until July 12 to make his final decisions. Measures that are not vetoed by then will become law with or without the governor’s signature.

To view the full list of bills the governor plans to veto, visit governor.hawaii.gov/newsroom/office-of-the-governor-news-release-governor-ige-announces-intent-to-veto-list/.

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