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Legislature corrects budget problems at close of special session


Hawaii lawmakers made several corrections to the state budget at the suggestion of Gov. David Ige and overturned a final veto related to state bonds on Thursday, the last day of the brief special session of the Assembly. legislative.

Many of the details of these measures were already settled on Tuesday, when the legislature overturned five of Ige’s vetoes. However, House and Senate rules required lawmakers to wait until Thursday to proceed with final votes.

On Thursday, the Legislature issued a sixth waiver, this time from Bill 53 House, the legal mechanism that allows the state government to borrow more than $ 1 billion over the next two fiscal years to finance construction projects.

Like Thursday’s other approvals, the veto waiver was technical in nature. There was little discussion of the measures, and lawmakers concluded their work and adjourned the veto session in less than an hour on Thursday.

Lawmakers finished their work and adjourned the veto session on Thursday in less than an hour. Cory Lum / Civil Beat / 2021

The legislature inserted $ 496 million in debt service payable to the state treasury in Bill 54. The measure helps address one of Ige’s concerns that lawmakers violated Federal guidelines when they used American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay for some of these capital improvements. projects.

The bill also deposits $ 250 million in the rainy day fund.

These fixes to HB 54 were needed before lawmakers could take a final vote on HB 53, Senate Speaker Ron Kouchi said.

The legislature continued with sweeping money sitting in various pockets around the state government to deposit it in the general treasury. This decision gives lawmakers greater control over how these funds are used.

Lawmakers also approved minor changes to Bill 1299 recommended by Ige to correct wording regarding the Milk Control Special Fund and the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Fund.

The legislature also took some of Ige’s suggestions regarding Senate Bill 589, which deals with various facets of the University of Hawaii.

An important provision allows the president of the UH, David Lassner, to act as the person in charge of the purchases of the system. There are also other contractual terms that lawmakers have clarified at Ige’s request.

However, lawmakers have gone their own way when it comes to the UH Cancer Center. Lawmakers promulgated the cancer center and demanded that it be affiliated with the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Ige objected to the provision, saying that enshrining in law the obligations of the cancer center limits the university’s ability to make changes in the future.

“These structural changes should be made in consultation with the leadership of the respective institutions and the leadership of UH Manoa,” Ige wrote in his objections to the bill.