Hawaii senator: Override any veto on disclosures bill


HONOLULU — A Hawaii state senator is calling for lawmakers to override a potential veto by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on a bill requiring more financial disclosures from people serving on more than a dozen state boards and commissions.

But Republican Sen. Sam Slom said Wednesday that he doubts his colleagues will be inclined to override a veto even though the bill unanimously passed both the Senate and House. Slom said many colleagues are campaigning in an election year and Abercrombie is a Democrat with a Legislature dominated by lawmakers of the same party.

“The fact that the governor doesn’t like it, that’s fine,” Slom said. “This is where we should exercise the separation of powers.”

Senate Bill 2682 would make annual financial disclosure statements publicly available for people serving various agencies, including the State Land Use Commission and the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Lawmakers said in the bill that passed that the state ethics commission doesn’t have the resources to review records currently submitted to look for potential conflicts of interest. Members of the public are in better position to identify conflicts, the lawmakers said.

Abercrombie hasn’t offered a reason for a possible veto, but he included the bill on a list of 10 bills he intends to veto in a mandated notification to the Legislature this week.

The governor needs more time to review the bills in question, Abercrombie spokesman Justin Fujioka said.

House leaders have not made any decisions on how to respond to any potential vetoes, but they were discussing options with committee leaders and other lawmakers, House spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka said.

Members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents have objected to the expanded disclosures, sending a letter to Abercrombie urging him to veto. Abercrombie’s office declined immediately to provide a copy of the letter, and university officials deferred to the governor.

Under the Hawaii Constitution, lawmakers can override a veto by calling a special session and passing a bill with two-thirds support in each chamber. Alternately, lawmakers can pass an amended bill by a simple majority that the governor would have to sign within 10 days.

Hawaii’s state Senate includes 25 lawmakers — 24 Democrats and one Republican, Slom. The 51-member House has seven Republicans and 44 Democrats.

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Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia