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Gov. Ige announces intent to veto 30 bills including cash bail reform

Gov. David Ige announces his Intent to Veto list on June 27, 2022.
Office of Gov. David Ige
Gov. David Ige announces his Intent to Veto list on June 27, 2022.

Of the 343 bills passed by the state Legislature this session, Gov. David Ige said Monday he intends to veto 30 — including a measure that would eliminate cash bail for some felonies. The state Constitution requires the governor to give the Legislature advance notice of any bills he may veto.

The list is provisional, however, the governor said he will not sign Senate Bill 2510, a measure calling for a third of the state's renewable energy to come from so-called firm renewables — like burning wood or natural gas, which can produce power 24 hours a day all year long.

“This bill places limits on renewable energy and impedes opportunities for innovation in our efforts to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” he said.

Ige named House Bill 2424, also known as Ariel’s Bill, as one he will likely veto. The bill would expand the lengths to which the state Department of Human Services can investigate families post-adoption. Ige said the bill could unintentionally disrupt the lives of adopters and adoptees.

“Although the trauma experienced by the community over the loss of a former foster child is real and cannot be dismissed,” Ige said. “The solution cannot be to violate the Constitution or privacy rights and basic dignity of every family that is taken in and provided love and stability to a former foster child.”

Notably on the list is House Bill 1567, a measure related to cash bail reform. HB1567 primarily covers nonviolent misdemeanors and Class C felonies. Violent crimes, like assaults or domestic violence, and repeat offenders or those awaiting trial would still need to post bail.

“The bill includes the release of defendants who may pose a danger to public safety and it also deprives judges of the ability to exercise discretion on a case by case basis when determining appropriate bail amounts,” Ige said.

The response to the Legislature's approval of that bill was swift, with county mayors and law enforcement officials speaking out against it, including Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm who, with his department, opposed the bill.

“A robust and well-funded alternative system that protects public safety needs to be put into place before cash bail can be eliminated,” Alm said in a statement. “Such a system could include remand to custody for the violent and dangerous, signature bonds, release on recognizance, and enhanced supervision by the Department of Public Safety’s Intake Services Center Division.”

Alm said such a system would take a “major policy and funding commitment from the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the law enforcement community.”

Ige also listed two bills relating to government transparency and record-keeping on his list of potential vetoes.

Senate Bill 3252 would put a cap on certain records and waive duplication fees for electronic copies. Senate Bill 3172 would require electronic video and audio recordings of meetings to be maintained as public record, and would require meetings and agendas then be timestamped. Ige said the issue is staffing.

Although the technology and tools are relatively low-cost, he said it would place a huge burden on many of the boards and commissions.

“In many instances, we don't have a significant amount of staff assigned to support. The concern that I heard from many agencies is that it would lead them to stop making video recordings available because of the requirements of what would be required should a video recording of the meeting exist," Ige said.

Ige also included on his list a measure that would allow the Legislature to end a state of emergency. Ige said this would interfere with the governor's duties and jeopardize the ability of counties to get federal disaster funds.

The governor did not include on his list a measure that would set up a new appointed governing body for Maunakea and the land under world-leading telescopes on the mountain's summit. Ige said he thought the University of Hawaiʻi has done a good job managing the mountain but understands that others believe it's time for someone else to hold the master lease.

“I do look forward to working with the Legislature and identifying and appointing the best members of our community that are committed to supporting astronomy on Maunakea and supporting moving forward in the best way to manage Maunakea,” he said.

The governor has until July 12 to veto or sign a bill — or allow it to become law without his signature.

“Gov. David Ige has indicated his intent to veto 30 bills, including his undisclosed intent to veto the state budget bill,” Senate President Ronald Kouchi said in a Monday statement. “The Senate will have to review Gov. 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.”

The state Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the state Legislature to override a veto.

Read the full list below or click here to open a new tab.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. Founded in 1846, AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
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