Gov. Ige’s Final Veto List Includes Five Items
Governor David Ige has notified House and Senate leaders of his final veto list, which includes five of the six measures that were on the Intent to Veto list submitted to lawmakers on Aug. 31. Below is a list of the vetoed items and the governor’s rationale for each item.
HB1523 Relating to the Department of Education Budget: This measure provides funding to the Department of Education utilizing Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding to purchase devices for schools with student populations of fifty per cent or greater or reduced price lunch for the period from July 1, 20202 to December 30, 2020.
Rationale: This bill is being vetoed because it is not necessary. The Department of Education has already received funds to accomplish this purpose through the governor’s discretionary funding without limitation on the schools that are eligible.
HB1846 Relating to Energy Efficiency: This bill mandates that all state facilities with an area of ten thousand square feet or more (not including Aloha Stadium) implement all cost-effective energy efficiency measures by January 1, 2024; that the State Energy Office be tasked with collecting all utility bill and energy usage data for state-owned facilities monthly and making such information available in a publicly accessible format; and that beginning July 1, 2020, if feasible and cost-effective, designs for all new state building construction must maximize energy and water efficiency, energy generation potential, and use of building materials that reduce the project’s carbon footprint.
Rationale: This bill creates an unnecessary risk of litigation. The state is already in the process of implementing the energy efficiency changes that the bill addresses. There are 23 projects valued at approximately $39M committed to energy efficiency anticipated in 2021. The State of Hawai‘i, through a multi-agency effort is working towards the acquisition of a more energy efficient vehicle fleet. In addition, the state’s public works projects continue to incorporate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building elements in new and renovated public facilities. And finally, Energy Savings Performance contracts are being implemented at state facilities when feasible.
HB2124 Relating to the Code of Ethics: This measure amends the State Ethics Code to prohibit the governor, lieutenant governor, and other high-level government officials from representing any person or business for a fee or other compensation regarding any legislative or administrative action for 12 months after termination from respective position.
Rationale: This bill is being vetoed because most of the boards and commissions listed in this bill have members who serve voluntarily without compensation yet are treated as employees under state law. This bill would subject volunteers to additional restrictions imposed on board and commission members, and potentially impact their performance in their regular occupations. It would also make it significantly more challenging to attract and recruit the most qualified individuals for service on boards and commissions.
SB2206 Relating to Homelessness: This bill authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to issue revocable month-to-month temporary permits for the emergency sheltering of homeless persons on state lands. The permits would be effective up until ninety days after the emergency relief period specified in the governor’s final Supplementary Proclamation relating to the COVID-19 emergency.
Rationale: As written, this bill may expose the state to liability. There are also concerns regarding extra costs in the event of a default where the Department of Land and Natural Resources could incur significant personnel costs for eviction enforcement, as well as expenses for removal of abandoned structures and any remediation required to address the unauthorized land uses.
SB2523 Relating to Public Safety: This requires the Department of Public Safety to expend certain appropriated funds during fiscal year 2020-2021 for the community-based work furlough program for female inmates.
Rationale: This bill is being vetoed because payments for the furlough program are made periodically throughout the fiscal year rather than in an up-front, lump-sum payment. The requirements of this bill, therefore, would prohibit all other expenditures from PSD’s fiscal year 2020-2021 appropriation because it is impossible to expend the entire $450,045 on the work-furlough program until the end of the fiscal year. In addition, PSD would be unable to pay the administrative costs to implement the furlough program itself, which is the purpose of this bill. It is also unnecessary because the governor has issued an administrative directive to the Department of Public Safety to continue work furlough programs for eligible women inmates.