Governor releases ‘Intent to Veto’ list, does not include medical marijuana, GET extension

Gov. David Ige

Gov. David Ige informed the Hawaii State Legislature Monday of his intent to veto several bills.

But what isn’t on the list is arguably more telling. Bills that will become law with or without the governor’s signature no later than July 14 include:

SB1291 and HB321 establish a system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers, and how they will be licensed; HB134 which extends the half percent county surcharge on State tax for two, ten-year extensions to fund additional Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) transit routes; and SB717 which repeals the existing requirement that gasoline for motor vehicles be composed of ten per cent ethanol by the end of the year.

In regards to the GET extension, Ige explained, “In my review of the information provided, it’s clear that HART is short in terms of the funds required for that segment and the measure that the legislature passed does assure that there would be adequate funds based on the current projections.”

The following “Intent to Veto” list gives the governor the option to veto any, but not necessary all, of the bills on the list by July 14, 2015.

HB540: Relating to the UH Accounting and Financial Management System: Extends authority of UH to maintain separate accounting and financial management system.

HB553: Relating to Collective Bargaining: Allows UH graduate student assistants employed by UH to collectively bargain their wages, hours and other terms.

SB105: Relating to the Budget: Requires estimated future debt service for proposed CIP projects to be included in the budget documents submitted to the legislature.

SB218: Relating to the Order of Succession: Clarifies the order of succession to the Lt. Governor’s office.

SB265: Relating to Sex Trafficking: Changes wording in statute from “promoting prostitution in the first degree” to “sex trafficking.”

SB265 was supposed to treat those forced into prostitution as victims instead of criminals, but the governor is considering pulling the plug. He says it’s more of a technicality issue. The bill changes the wording in the statute from promoting prostitution to sex trafficking, but those changes were not applied to the whole statute, so that creates the legal loophole.

“It created different definitions and there may have been other references to prostitution that may not have been updated adequately, so I think it’s just the nature sometimes in legislation the unintended consequences as you make changes in one part of the penal code doesn’t get followed through appropriately,” he said.

State attorney general Doug Chin agrees. In a statement, he said, “I support the intent of this important legislation. The final version of the bill, unfortunately, contains provisions which might actually impair law enforcement’s ability to address crimes involving prostitution and sex trafficking.  If passed in its final version, the bill might even prevent law enforcement from successfully prosecuting certain crimes involving sex trafficking of some juveniles or profiting from the acts of another who forced a victim to engage in prostitution.”

Ige says Chin and county prosecutors will be meeting this summer and re-examining how to toughen up laws on sex trafficking.

SB349: Relating to Taxation: Repeals ethanol facility tax credit; establishes a 5-year renewable fuels production tax credit.

SB1324: Relating to Divorce: Provides authority for Employees’ Retirement System to make direct payments of benefits to a non-member former spouse of a member on order or court judgement, order or divorce decree.

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