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    Ige says he may veto bail reform, 'firm' renewable energy

    June 28, 2022 - By AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press


      HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Monday said he may veto 30 bills in the next few weeks, including measures that would eliminate cash bail for some felonies, require each island to obtain one-third of their renewable energy from so-called “firm energy” sources and allow the Legislature to end a state of emergency.

      The state Constitution requires the governor to give the Legislature advance notice of any bills he may veto. He has until July 12 to make a final decision. He will either sign the remaining bills or allow them to become law without his signature.

      On bail reform, Ige said he was concerned the measure would eliminate bail for class C felonies including felon in possession of a firearm, burglaries in the second degree and arson in the third degree. He said the primary sponsors and proponents of the bill had asked him to veto it, which he said hasn't happened before while he's been governor.

      “There are a lot of concerns about the logistics of how we and what efforts we would take to make sure that people do show up to face the charges when they are required to do so,” Ige said at a news conference announcing his veto list.

      Another measure on the list would require each island to obtain at least one-third of their renewable energy from “firm” sources. The bill defines 'firm renewable energy" as that which is available to produce power 24 hours a day all year long.

      Ige said the measure would impede innovation and shut down projects currently in the works. He cited as an example a project on Lanai to set up a solar-plus-battery storage system that would allow the island to use renewables for 98% of its power within the next year to 18 months. The system is expected to reduce monthly electricity costs by an average of $130 per Lanai family, he said.

      The governor didn't include on his list a measure that would set up a new appointed governing body for Mauna Kea and the land under world-leading telescopes on the mountain's summit. The bill sets aside seats on the new governing body for Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners. Ige said he thought the University of Hawaii 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 Mauna Kea and supporting moving forward in the best way to manage Mauna Kea,” he said.

      Other bills on the governor's veto list would:

      Expand Department of Human Services investigations to include adoptive families receiving some assistance payments. Ige said this would require the state to monitor and surveil families that have adopted or taken guardianship of former foster children “so that families can never live free of government intrusion.”

      — 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.

      — Impose a cap on costs charged to reproduce some government records. Ige said government agencies don't have dedicated personnel to respond to these requests. He said charges give people requesting information an incentive to narrow the scope of their requests and prevent the requests from becoming overly broad.

      The constitution says the Senate and House have the option to reconvene on July 12 for a vote to override any vetoes.

      House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a statement that House members will meet to determine whether they want to override any vetoes.

      Senate spokesperson Jacob Aki said senators plan to meet Tuesday to discuss the governor's list.


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