February 29th, 2012

The state House Finance Committee agreed Tuesday night to defer a bill that would have allowed the governor and county mayors to exempt certain state and county construction projects from the environmental review law.

State House Speaker Calvin Say (D, St. Louis Heights-Wilhelmina Rise-Palolo Valley) had sponsored the bill in the spirit of streamlining the process to get state projects launched faster. Lawmakers are hoping that an increase in state construction will help with economic recovery.

But the Sierra Club Hawaii chapter, the state Office of Environmental Quality Control and others were alarmed that lawmakers would consider exempting state projects from environmental review, even on a temporary basis. The Sierra Club also complained that the bill was re-referred from subject matter committees with jurisdiction over the environment and economic development — where it had not been scheduled for hearings — directly to the House Finance Committee.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa), the chairman of the House Finance Committee, said lawmakers listened to stakeholders on the issue. He said several other bills that would streamline procurement and permitting to help speed up state construction have advanced.

“I’m not going to be coming back on that,” he said of Say’s bill.

4 Responses to “Defer”

  1. Teddy Freddy:

    Surprise, surprise. One would have thought that since the Speaker had obviously taken a personal interest in this Bill it would have survived. After-all, he was the only sponsor, he was responsible for gaming the process via the re-referral, and he was personally present at the start of the public hearing (which is unusual). The testimony is not yet online but it appeared to be overwhelmingly in opposition – as in 40 to 1 or better. The only somewhat lukewarm support as far as in person testimony came from DLNR (WTFIUWT?). Looked like Rep. Har was trying to do a dragon-lady number on Director Aila forcing him to read sections of the Bill, and then making him agree with her perspective that the Bill was being mischaracterized by its opponents. Some of the sharper tools in the Speakers shed must have figured it out, that this measure was destined to go no-where that was good. Passing it would have given the dissidents and the Repubs a perfect trifecta setup – kindling, gas and the matches needed to blow up a few hours of embarrassing floor discussion with the only probable result being the Bill being killed in the Senate anyway. My guess is that Rep. Choy or Rep. Yamashita (the only smart guys in the room with the Speakers ear and the gumption needed to express the truth) let him know the reality of the situation, and then the Speaker passed to Marcus his approval to defer.

  2. concerned citizen:

    Teddy, you seem like a real insider on the Hawaii Capitol goings on, but I think that you are overlooking the major efforts made by legislators like Gil Riviere (a Republican), concerned citizens, and groups opposing this particularly heinous measure. HB 1893 sets Hawaii back decades in its protection of the states natural resources as well as leaving Hawaii in violation of numerous federal laws and our own State Constitution. Concerned citizens of Hawaii are all breathing a sigh of relief, but this may be one time that the efforts of well informed and conscienable legislators, like Rep. Riviere (a Republican) coupled with those of concerned citizens and actually came out with the right result. (Not the result of your chosen dems!) Considering the given community actions and voting records of all legislators involved, Rep. Riviere is the logical lead as he opposed uncontrolled development (Turtle Bay expansion) long before he became a legislator. You might want to do a little more research before piping off as an expert in local politics. Your party stereotypes are what are keeping Hawaii in the political backwater.

  3. Goober:

    Sierra Club? Who made them a part of Hawaii? Seems missionaries preach in many forms.
    Another form of Occupy Hawaii.

    Those born and raised in Hawaii know what is good and bad for the Island. Mainland thinking will make Hawaii into another Rapa Nui. Leave the Island as is.

  4. teddyfreddy:

    Concerned Citizen: Don’t get me wrong, I like Gil Riviere, am very glad he is where he is and agree that he plays a valuable role in asking questions and is willing to stand up for the environment. But the truth is Republicans are powerless. Yes,Gil and the other Repubs have a voice and that voice can be important but the reality is MAJORITY RULES. If you are not part of the majority you don’t even get invited to the dance. If you are not part of the majority you don’t even get invited to the caucus meetings where the important decisions are announced let alone to the insider meetings where those decisions are made (er where the Speaker asks the insiders to bless the decision he has already come to).

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