HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle vetoed today four bills that are pre-empted by federal law or violate existing federal statutes. The Governor issued her vetoes to ensure that federal officials recognize that the State of Hawai‘i respects the individual role of states and the federal government in setting legal policy for our citizens.
The four vetoes cover areas as diverse as the labeling of meat and fish products, health care benefits, permanency hearings for foster children, and marijuana. Specifically the four bills are:
- SB 912 SD2 HD2 CD1 relating to permanency hearings. This bill does not comply with federal Title IV-E hearings requirements for foster placement hearings as set forth in Section 475 of the Social Security Act. Notification of non-compliance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was not received until the 2009 Legislative session was almost finished. The relevant House and Senate chairs have agreed to work on a new bill in 2010 to correct the defects in this measure.
- HB 1611 HD2 SD2 CD1 relating to labeling of meat and fish products. This bill violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution and is pre-empted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1907 as amended. This bill also removes criminal sanctions necessary for the proper enforcement of the Hawai‘i Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
- HB 690 HD2 SD2 CD1 relating to insurance. Significant portions of this bill are pre-empted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governing the operation of employee welfare benefit plans.
- SB 1058 SD2 HD2 CD1 relating to controlled substances. This bill attempts to circumvent provisions of federal controlled substances laws as enforced by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Portions of this bill may also violate Section 14 of Article II of the State Constitution regarding the scope of subjects each law enacted by the Legislature may encompass.
“I am concerned that the Legislature, in their efforts to address local concerns, may not have fully taken into account existing federal laws or requirements,” Governor Lingle said. “The State of Hawai‘i must abide by federal statutes when they prevail or pre-empt state action, as is the case with these four measures.”
On June 30, 2009, Governor Lingle issued a list of 65 bills passed during the 2009 Legislative session that she is reviewing for potential veto action. These four measures were on that list. The Governor has until July 15, 2009 to determine if she will veto any of the measures.
The Governor’s statements of objections regarding the four vetoed bills are attached and also can be found on the Governor’s website at: www.hawaii.gov/gov/initiatives/veto. The full potential veto list is also posted on the Governor’s website.