Charles in charge

March 19th, 2009

Gov. Linda Lingle expressed this concern, now it’s coming from City Councilman Charles Djou.

Both say they believe the Hawaii Supreme Court’s ruling on the Hawaii Superferry is too broad, and could apply to any piece of legislation that favors one entity over others. Lingle says this is the case when the legislature passes tax credits for agriculture or high tech companies, Djou is taking it a step further.

Djou, an attorney, says it could potentially affect state laws that apply only to a city or county. If the Supreme Court refuses to reconsider its unanimous ruling, Djou says that as chairman of the Council’s Legal Affairs Committee he will hold public hearings to examine voiding all state laws that apply only to the City and County of Honolulu.

He believes those laws include the legislation adding a half-percent surcharge to the General Excise Tax on Oahu to pay for the city’s proposed rail transit system.

“The Hawaii Supreme Court oddly pronounced that the Superferry special legislation is unconstitutional because it applied to only one entity; that same logic should apply to all state mandates that only apply to the City,” Djou said in a news release. “If the Supreme Court refuses to reconsider their erroneous ruling, I will push for a hearing on all state laws the City can now legitimately void as similarly unconstitutional.”

Honolulu Corporation Counsel Carrie Okinaga issued this statement late this afternoon:

“The facts of the Superferry case were very unique, and differed considerably from the circumstances under which the county surcharge legislation was enacted. We do not believe the recent ruling will have any bearing on the validity of the surcharge or the rail transit project it is funding on Oahu.

“We’re analyzing the ruling for any potential impact on other matters, like everyone else. But, given the unique facts underlying the Superferry decision, we believe a measured approach is warranted.”

2 Responses to “Charles in charge”

  1. Doug:

    Wha? Djou thinks the Council has the power to “legitimately void’ state laws? Good luck with that, fool.

    The County has the power to challenge state laws in the courts, but, unless there were a ruling in the Countys favor, those laws remain in place. A single ruling does not automatically provide for a self-executing power for (arguably) similar laws to become void.

  2. Egghead:

    Just another example of Djou shooting first before thinking about what he is doing or saying. Looks like he wants to grandstand and get media attention…oops I forgot, he is running for US Congress…

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