Ige to veto 30 bills

Bills meant to curb government emergency powers and facilitate criminal pretrial reform are among those Hawaii Gov. David Ige says he plans to veto.

In a letter to legislative leaders, Ige listed 30 of the 343 bills passed this legislative session that he intends to block.

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

On the veto list is Senate Bill 3089, which would have clarified the scope of suspensions of law during an emergency, required counties to obtain approval before issuing an emergency order, and authorized the legislature to terminate a state of emergency.

Ige said the bill would "interfere with the Governor's duties and legal obligations to provide for the public health, safety, and welfare by limiting his ability to determine the duration of an emergency."

House Bill 1567 is also on Ige's list. It would eliminate monetary bail and mandated automatic release of defendants charged with Class C felonies.

Ige said he plans to veto this based on insufficient time since the legislature made changes to the state's criminal pretrial system via Act 179 to determine if the changes are effective. He also said the automatic release of defendants could pose "significant risks to public safety."

The governor also plans to veto House Bill 1147, which he said could be subject to a constitutional challenge for pulling a "gut and replace" in which an amendment adds subject matter potentially irrelevant to the bill and where there isn't sufficient time for the legislature or public to consider the bill.

HB 1147 would appropriate funds to the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the Convention Center special fund, the State Office of Planning and the University of Hawaii.

"I am looking at other ways we can continue to support HTA operations without the risk of a court challenge," Ige said.

The governor said he would also veto a bill that would expand the authority of the Department of Human Services (DHS). House Bill 2424 would give DHS more authority to investigate families who adopt or take guardianship of former foster children. Ige said the bill would make it so those families "can never live free of government intrusion in their lives" and said it would violate the constitutional privacy rights and basic dignity of those families.

Senate Bill 2511 will likely get vetoed as well. It would expand the income tax credit for renewable energy technologies to include firm renewable energy systems and long-duration renewable energy storage systems.

According to Ige, the bill posed a significant administrative flaw by creating a $20 million cap without designating a way to ensure the cap is not exceeded.

Bills that the governor has not vetoed by July 12 will become law with or without his signature. Lawmakers, if enough support a bill, could vote to override Ige's veto and enact the legislation.

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