Hawai'i State News

Gov. Green signs 6 bills on ‘intent to veto list’ into law including measure that restricts governor’s emergency powers

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Gov. Josh Green issued his final veto decisions Tuesday after additional analysis and input from stakeholders. Of the 17 bills on his original Intent to Veto List, Green issued seven vetoes.

He signed four bills after issuing line-item reductions, and six bills were signed into law.

House Bill 2581, which removes the ability of a governor or county mayor to suspend electronic media transmission during a state of emergency, was among the bills on the Intent to Veto List. It was one of the six bills Green signed into law.

Other bills signed by the governor were:

  • HB1640, which requires an employer to initiate negotiations on the repricing of classes within a bargaining unit within 30 days of its receipt of the exclusive representative’s written request to negotiate. It establishes that an impasse exists and impasse procedures shall apply if an employer fails to initiate the negotiation within the required time frame and the parties fail to reach an agreement within 150 days of the exclusive representative’s written request to negotiate, or by Jan. 31 of a year in which the collective bargaining agreement is due to expire, whichever is earlier.
  • HB1763 prohibits the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation from forgiving any loan made from the Rental Housing Revolving Fund unless the corporation forecloses on the project.
  • HB1936 mandates that the Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation require the securing of mooring lines from vessels to commercial docks, wharves, piers, quays and landings to be performed by labor subject to collective bargaining.
  • HB2526 increases the penalty for a third or subsequent offense involving the unauthorized driving or operation of motor vehicles to a Class C felony. It authorizes the court, as part of the person’s sentencing for the third or subsequent offense, to order that the vehicle used by the person in the commission of the offense be subject to forfeiture. The bill takes effect immediately.
  • SB2439 extends the statute of limitations for civil actions brought by persons subjected to sexual offenses as an adult against the person who committed the act. The bill extends protections for victims of sexual offenses by allowing claims to be brought against legal entities during the two-year window period if there is a finding of gross negligence. This bill authorizes courts to award attorney’s fees to a defendant when an accusation of sexual abuse was made with no basis in fact and with malicious intent.

Vetoes and line-item reductions were necessary to balance the state’s financial plan and maintain adequate reserve levels and legal considerations. In doing so, Green reduced appropriations by more than half a billion dollars to preserve the state’s cash reserves, while maintaining a $1.5 billion rainy day fund. Additional vetoes were issued due to legal and governmental operational concerns.

House Bill 2526, which was previously on the Governor’s Intent to Veto List, increases the penalty for multiple incidents of unauthorized operation of motor vehicle offenses, was signed on July 5 after robust community input and advocacy from House Speaker Scott Saiki and the Legislature.

Green also made line-item reductions to four bills before signing in order to balance the state’s financial plan and prioritize core issues such as reducing the cost of living, increasing affordable housing, promoting health care and disaster recovery.


HB40 appropriates funds to be deposited into the emergency and budget reserve fund and pension accumulation fund pursuant to article VII, section 6, of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution. To meet the constitutional requirements laid out in the bill for the disposition of excess revenues, the governor is appropriating the minimum amount and line-item reduced nearly $435 million in general fund appropriations to balance the state’s financial plan.

HB1800 adjusts and requests appropriations for fiscal biennium 2023-2025 funding requirements for operations and capital improvement projects of Executive Branch agencies and programs. Included in House Bill 1800 were line-item budget reductions and vetoes totaling $74.2 million for operating and $79.5 million for CIP in general funds, representing less than 1% of the total state budget.

HB2619 requires the Hawai‘i State Department of Agriculture to lead and coordinate the state’s invasive pest control and eradication biosecurity efforts. A line-item reduction to $10 million was issued to continue work on invasive pest control and biosecurity efforts given existing challenges to staff vacancies and other appropriations for biosecurity.


SB3153 establishes the Dam and Appurtenance Improvement or Removal Grant Program Special Fund to receive money for the Dam and Appurtenance Improvement or Removal Grant Program. A line-item reduction to $5 million was issued to provide critical start-up support for this grant program to private dam owners.

Due primarily to legal and operational issues, the following seven bills were vetoed and returned to the legislature:

  • HB1633 would have repealed the leasing restriction on owner-builders who obtain an owner-builder exemption to act as their own contractor and who build or improve residential or farm buildings or structures on property they own or lease and do not offer the buildings or structures for sale.
  • HB2359 would have established the Digital Equity Grant Program to award grants to applicants to deploy digital equity projects to covered populations in the state.
  • SB572 would have authorized and specified conditions under which the HDOA may declare a biosecurity emergency, during which the Department and Governor may take certain actions to prevent the establishment or spread of pests and prohibited or restricted organisms. Broadens the objectives and general actions of the Biosecurity Program.
  • SB3068 would have appropriated funds to support the state’s continued response to the August 2023 wildfires that affected the counties of Hawaiʻi and Maui. The measure also declared that the appropriation exceeds the state general fund expenditure ceiling for fiscal year 2024-2025.
  • SB1511 clarified the purpose of the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi and that its undertakings should be limited to acts that are reasonably necessary to carry out its purpose. The measure would have repealed the requirement that the University of Hawaiʻi contract with the RCUH when the university determines that other various agencies cannot more effectively or efficiently accomplish certain research and training activities.
  • SB2512 would have established notice and reporting requirements for the expenditure or use of public resources by the Governor, pursuant to the Governor’s emergency powers. The veto rationale noted was in times of emergency, the governor needs the flexibility and support to rapidly execute key decisions on matters involving the public’s safety. Notice and reporting requirements mandated in this bill impede the governor’s responsiveness and the Department of Defense’s flexibility during states of emergency and disaster situations, which impact the state of Hawaiʻi’s ability to provide support for impacted residents.
  • SB2557 would have allowed a court to appoint an attorney for the subject of a petition for assisted community treatment if the interests of justice requires one be appointed. It repealed language that entitles the subject of a petition for assisted community treatment to legal representation by a public defender.

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