Since the legislative session ended on May 8, my Administration has been carefully analyzing the 250 bills passed by the State Legislature. As Governor, I have until July 15 to sign the bills into law, veto them or let them become law without my signature. We encourage the public to provide input on the bills that are still under consideration by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org , faxing 808-586-0006 or calling 808-586-0034.
A major focus for my Administration this legislative session was dealing with the immediate economic crisis in front of us by implementing measures to boost our economy and create jobs. At the same, we felt it was important to address the long-term future of our state, and introduced a series of measures that planned for the future and were in synch with major federal initiatives.
Despite the serious nature of the challenges we face, this legislative session was marked by missed opportunities. Instead of supporting agreements with our public employee unions that reflect a sense of shared sacrifice during these historically difficult times, Democrat legislators chose to increase taxes that will further erode our economy and discourage visitors from coming to Hawai‘i – in essence hurting all of Hawai‘i’s taxpayers in their effort to protect one constituency.
In addition to pursuing fair and necessary measures to close the projected gap in our state budget, my Administration also introduced a series of innovative and forward-looking measures this session that laid the foundation for a stronger economic future, and which also would have created jobs and injected money into our economy in the near-term. These measures, including the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Highways Modernization Plan, the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Recreational Renaissance to restore our state parks, trails and ocean recreation areas, and the Hawai‘i Broadband Initiative, which would have accelerated our transformation into a true information economy, all died mysteriously in the final days of session, even though they started out with broad bipartisan support.
Despite the failure of the Legislature to pass these measures, I want to reassure Hawai`i Free Press readers that my Administration continues to do everything in its power to push ahead with our economic recovery efforts. DOT will move ahead with highway projects already in progress; DLNR will move forward with the repair and maintenance of our outdoor land and ocean recreational facilities and explore how community groups can assist with restoration projects; and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will take the lead in competing for $200 million in federal stimulus funds for broadband infrastructure projects.
I’d like to thank all of you who participated in the 2009 legislative session by submitting testimony or contacting your legislators. Your input remains critical as we continue to review bills passed by the Legislature over the next few weeks. Please visit my website at www.hawaii.gov/gov to track detailed results from the 2009 session, including new laws enacted and vetoed bills.
Mahalo for your support!
Governor Linda Lingle