Posted tagged ‘civil unions’

Will Aiona veto HB 444?

June 9, 2010

Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona’s veto of a bill suspending technology tax credits has some civil unions advocates sweating that he’ll also veto HB 444 while Gov. Linda Lingle is away in China.

Odds are she’ll veto civil unions herself after she returns, but supporters take a small measure of hope from the fact that she’s never publicly spoken against it and doesn’t share Aiona’s strong religious views against gay unions.

Aiona is acting governor while Lingle is out of state and has the legal right to take whatever action he wishes, but Lingle specifically said he wouldn’t act on HB 444 in her absence and presumably there’s an understanding given the close relationship they’ve had.

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona

The veto of SB 2401, the three-year suspenson of technology tax credits, was a good call by the administration and an apt way to help Aiona look gubernatorial as he revs up his campaign to succeed Lingle.

Because of a lack of transparency, there are doubts that the tax credits have produced the number or quality of high-tech jobs promised, and the law creating the credits deserves a thorough review going forward.

But it isn’t kosher to take away tax credits from companies that have already made investments based on the promise that tax credits would be forthcoming. Hawai’i doesn’t need another black eye as a lousy place to do business.

The Legislature could still override Aiona’s veto, but lawmakers should let it be. The $93 million the bill was supposed to save likely would be tied up in litigation, and improving state tax collections seem on track to make up the difference.

HB 444 takes a side trip to China

June 3, 2010

Gov. Linda Lingle is taking all the time available to her to decide on the civil unions bill, HB 444, but the big question is this: Is she really undecided on whether to veto or is she only deciding how to present her veto?

A veto seemed a foregone conclusion as soon as Lingle publicly expressed the opinion that civil unions are just same-sex marriage by another name, which has become standard GOP code in opposing any kind of gay unions.

She’s always said she opposes same-sex marriage and to allow HB 444 to become law with or without her signature would be seen as a slap at her Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, who has made opposition to civil unions a key issue in his campaign to succeed her, and the Republican Party in which she hopes to find a future after she leaves office.

Before leaving on a trip to China that will take her close to the June 21 deadline to signal her intention to the Legislature, Lingle indicated it has become more a matter of how to present her decision.

“This is something that people feel very strongly about on both sides,” she said.  “I’ve had a chance to meet and get to know people on both sides of this, and I don’t want whatever decision I make to in any way diminish one side or the other or make one side or the other feel I’m being judgmental in any way.

“As you know, words are important, they are important to me, and I want to get it right, whatever my decision is.”

At least she’s elevating the dialogue by showing sensitivity to all sides and avoiding the inflammatory political rhetoric that usually surrounds the issue.

If she delivers the expected veto with an uncombative message, it’ll be interesting to see if it emboldens Democratic legislators to try an override.

The conventional wisdom is they won’t after the House came up short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto when it passed HB 444 by a vote of 31-20.

But you never know what can happen if lawmakers call an override session on other bills. After all, House leaders said they weren’t going to take up civil unions at all in 2010 — until they did in a surprise vote at the end of the session.


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