Intent to Veto List Includes Bills on Aquarium Fish, Tiny Homes, Motorcycle Safety
Governor David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers on Friday of his intent to veto 15 bills. The Hawai‘i State Constitution requires the governor to notify the Legislature of the bills he intends to veto by June 26.
The intent to veto list includes measures relating to tiny homes, motorcycle safety and aquarium fish permits.
Among the bills on the governor’s intent to veto list is HB2 relating to agriculture and “tiny homes” in Hawaiʻi County. If passed, the bill would allow homes of 500 square feet or less within the state agriculture district on the Big Island. The governor said current zoning laws already allow for a farm dwelling as permitted use on agriculturally zoned land.
The governor also expressed plans to veto House Bill 727 relating to motorcycles. Under the bill, an operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter would be allowed to proceed “cautiously” between stopped lanes of traffic and on the shoulder lane of highways. The governor said that there is concern that allowing shoulder lane use to these types of vehicles, would instead create more danger instead of alleviating congestion and reducing the risk of injury as the bill was intended to accomplish.
The governor says he also intends to veto SB 1240 relating to aquatic life. The governor said there is “concern that the science does not support the claims made by the bill.” He said it would be “premature” to ban aquarium collection before doing the necessary studies. Under the bill, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources would be prohibited from issuing new aquarium fish permits to use fine meshed traps or fine meshed nets.
Speaker of the House, Rep. Scott K. Saiki, responded to the list saying House and Senate leadership will determine whether it is necessary to convene an override session to address any bills that are vetoed.
“If an override session is not warranted,” he said, “members may reintroduce their bills in the 2018 session and work to address the Governor’s objections at that time.”
According to the Hawaiʻi State Constitution, the Legislature may convene on or before Tuesday, July 11, 2017 in Special Session to override a veto. Specific bills may be amended and need a two-thirds vote in both chambers to pass.
On July 11, any measure that the governor has not signed or vetoed will become law.
INTENT TO VETO LIST:
SB 1240 RELATING TO AQUATIC LIFE
This bill requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to define “sustainable” and establish a policy for sustainable collection practices through take limits. This bill also prohibits the DLNR from issuing new aquarium fish permits to use fine meshed traps or fine meshed nets and prohibits the transfer of permits after five years.
Governor’s Rationale: There is concern that the science does not support the claims made by the bill. It will be premature to ban aquarium collection before doing the necessary studies. The DLNR is committed to working with all stakeholders to come up with a better solution.
SB 410 RELATING TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
This measure broadens the scope of collective bargaining negotiations by requiring negotiations on the implementation of terms and conditions of employment, including making these violations grievable by employees who disagree with such working conditions.
Governor’s Rationale: This bill directly impacts the ability of state departments to effectively manage its workforce by negating management rights to direct its workforce and requiring union consent on such matters as assignment, transfer and discipline.
SB 562 RELATING TO TORT LIABILITY
This measure requires the Attorney General to defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any court against a county, based on any negligent or wrongful act or omission of a lifeguard who provides lifeguard services at a state beach park.
Governor’s Rationale: This bill is objectionable because it requires the Attorney General to defend the counties for any civil action or proceeding, without exception.
HB 1414 RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION
This bill requires the auditor to investigate and report on problems with the Department of Taxation’s tax system modernization project.
Governor’s Rationale: The Department of Taxation is awaiting findings and results of an independent verification and validation of the tax system modernization project. The audit would be redundant. The auditor stated that the audit may not yield useful results due to the difficulties tied to investigating a project that is incomplete and undergoing implementation.
HB 1309 RELATING TO GRANTS
This measure requires the Director of Finance to seek repayment of operating grants appropriated by the legislature if the grantee discontinues the activities or services approved in the grant.
Governor’s Rationale: This bill is contrary to the intent of Chapter 42F, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, which authorizes the legislature to appropriate general funds to nongovernmental organizations through various state agencies. The Director of Finance does not have the capacity to monitor all grantee programs, and relies on each state agency to enforce the provisions of the grant application and contract between the agency and grantee.
SB 722 RELATING TO EFFICIENCY MEASURES
This measure requires the Director of Finance and a selected state department to develop and implement the efficiency measures pilot project as part of the state’s budget system.
Governor’s Rationale: Imposing additional requirements for data collection on our state budget system requires re-programming older software on mainframe computers at a time when the state is upgrading its IT systems to cloud-based applications. Limited state resources would be better spent updating our budget IT programs into cloud-based applications.
SB 713 RELATING TO BUDGET DOCUMENTS
This measure requires the six-year program and financial plan and budget to include information on tax expenditures.
Governor’s Rationale: There is uncertainty in quantifying future revenue loss attributed to certain tax expenditures as changes to tax laws usually elicit changes to taxpayer behavior. Further, there is a lag in the availability of certain tax expenditure data, which would not align with the preparation of the annual budget documents submitted to the Legislature.
HB 1588 RELATING TO GENERAL OBLIGATION FUNDS
This measure prohibits the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance the repair and maintenance of capital assets where the repair and maintenance costs incurred add value to, and prolong the life of the assets for a period of less than ten years.
Governor’s Rationale: This measure aims to more closely align the financing of debt with the depreciation of the state’s assets. However, like many other state and county governments, Hawai‘i is faced with a growing number of deferred maintenance projects and a limited pool of operation funds for such projects. Further, the record-keeping necessary to ensure compliance with the tiered structuring of the debt could not be done within existing resources, and would therefore increase the costs of the state’s debt management program.
SB 1074 RELATING TO THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HAWAII STATE CAPITOL
This measure appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to plan and coordinate the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Hawai‘i State Capitol.
Governor’s Rationale: Current provisions of state law establishing the Works of Art Special Fund under 103-8.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, are very specific and do not allow for the financing of a celebration of this nature.
SB 1073 RELATING TO THE STATE FOUNDATION ON CULTURE AND THE ARTS
The measure appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to support its artist fellowship program.
Governor’s Rationale: Current provisions of state law establishing the Works of Art Special Fund under 103-8.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, are very specific and do not allow for the financing of an artist fellowship program.
HB 523 RELATING TO RECYCLING
This measure authorizes the Department of Accounting and General Services to establish a recycling pilot program for the onsite collection of recyclable materials at buildings and facilities.
Governor’s Rationale: The amount of waste produced is insufficient to merit having an onsite recycling pilot program. The Department of Accounting and General Services regularly recycles cardboards and paper, and janitors recycle the limited amount of bottles and cans produced.
HB 2 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE
This bill authorizes the placement of “tiny homes” of 500 square feet or less of living space within the state agriculture district of Hawai‘i County. These “tiny homes” will be used by farm workers or their immediate families on land currently being used for agricultural production.
Governor’s Rationale: The Hawai‘i County Zoning Code (HCC Chapter 25) already allows for a “farm dwelling” as a permitted use of agricultural-zoned lands. By Zoning Code definition, a “farm dwelling” means a single-family dwelling located on or used in connection with a farm, or if the agricultural activity provides income to the family occupying the dwelling.
HB 727 RELATING TO MOTORCYCLES
This measure allows the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter to proceed cautiously between stopped lanes of traffic and on the shoulder lane of highways. The intent is to alleviate congestion and reduce the risk of injury or loss of life.
Governor’s Rationale: There is concern that this will compromise road safety. The shoulder lane is designed to accommodate stopped vehicles and emergency vehicles on highways, and bicycles on arterial roadways. While the intent of the bill is to reduce risk or injury or loss of life, there is concern that allowing shoulder lane use to these types of vehicles will instead create more danger for the operators of these vehicles.
HB 575 RELATING TO PUBLIC LANDS
This bill establishes a process for the re-leasing or re-negotiation of a lease for public lands classified as commercial or industrial use near the end of the lease. The bill permits the Department of Land and Natural Resources to extend public land leases to school or government entities without recourse to auction, with certain exceptions.
Governor’s Rationale: There is concern that section 2 of this bill is special legislation and is in violation of Section 5 of Article XI of the Hawai‘i State Constitution. It limits application of the bill to commercial and industrial lands only, without distinguishing these lands from other public lands under lease.
HB 627 RELATING TO PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS
This measure establishes the Office of Public-Private Partnerships within the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and appropriate funds for a state public-private partnership coordinator position.
Governor’s Rationale: There is concern that the lone position of a state public-private partnership coordinator will not be sufficient to adequately coordinate interagency collaboration, maintain analysis reports, and develop future public-private partnership opportunities. Having one office manage all public-private partnership contracts, proposals, and negotiations for the state may create a bottleneck that will slow the progress for agencies already involved in these partnerships.