Gov. Ige Announces Veto Plans
Governor David Ige announced Monday that he intends to veto eight legislative bills, including SB625, which is related to sex trafficking.
In his explanation, Governor Ige noted that the state’s attorney general and three out of four county prosecutors advised that the bill could lead to fewer prosecutions for the crimes.
“I understand the concerns raised about exploitation of women that have driven advocates to seek strong penalties for sex trafficking,” the governor noted. “Unfortunately, this measure creates a special crime that eliminates the opportunity for prosecution of lesser related offenses.”
Governor Ige said he has requested that the attorney general and county prosecutors propose a bill that provides the ability to prosecute the full range of prostitution and sex trafficking offenses.
In a comment following the announcement of the governor’s decision to veto the sex trafficking bill, Attorney General Doug Chin provided his support:
“I support the intent of this important legislation. The final version of the bill, unfortunately, contains provisions which might actually impair law enforcement’s ability to address crimes involving prostitution and sex trafficking. If passed in its final version, the bill might even prevent law enforcement from successfully prosecuting certain crimes involving sex trafficking of some juveniles or profiting from the acts of another who forced a victim to engage in prostitution.
“In addition to myself, the prosecuting attorneys from Hawaiʻi, Honolulu, and Maui counties all asked Governor Ige to veto the final version of this bill. The Legislature has called for a penal code review committee to meet this year to review all criminal laws and make recommendations for legislation in 2016. Improving human trafficking laws will be part of that discussion.”
The addition seven bills include:
- HB553: Relating to Collective Bargaining
- SB105: Relating to the Budget
- SB218: Relating to Order of Succession
- SB349: Relating to Taxation
- SB569: Relating to Theft
- SB1324: Relating to Divorce
During the veto announcement press conference, Governor Ige answered questions regarding recent protests and management of Mauna Kea, placing emphasis on the assurance of safety for all who want or need to access Mauna Kea.
“We are working with the University and all the agencies involved to create a plan that would assure that we could keep access safe for all of the workers, visitors, and the people who work on the other telescopes on Mauna Kea,” Governor Ige said. “We look to enforce existing rules, regulations, and laws and then look at the authority that we have to secure the mountain top and assure access, so that is what we are focused on.
“We are working on a comprehensive plan. As we finalize those details we’ll be making announcements to the public. We are working with the University to assess the status of the access road and lining up the work that is required to reopen that road. The University is working to that and once we are able to do that then we’ll look at what other action is required to assure the public can safely access Mauna Kea.”
When asked about plans to ensure access to the mountain, Governor Ige made clear his commitment to allow public access.
“We are going to be looking at the actions we need to take to assure that the public and the workers can access the facilities – the existing facilities – as well as those workers that would be involved in the project,” Governor Ige noted. “We are reviewing the existing those laws and regulations and intend to enforce them equally among everyone, public as well as protesters.
“The State has a duty and obligation to assure a safe access to any facility and we are committed to assure safe access to Mauna Kea and we are being smart about what that means and trying to be comprehensive in planning, what changes would need to be done to assure safe access.”
On Tuesday, Governor Ige will sign four legislative bills into law, including three that are within the Office of Hawaiian Affairs package:
- HB207, regarding a required course administered by OHA on native Hawaiian custom, for certain state councils, boards, and commissions.
- HB209, with regards to the OHA budget.
- SB1166, which would clarify that traditional Hawaiian cultural burials do not constitute a violation of the penal code’s prohibition of abuse of a corpse.
An additional bill, HB1007, will also be signed, which creates a limited purpose driver’s license for individuals who do not have proof of authorized presence in the United States, but who are otherwise qualified to get a license.