Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

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House power-sharing talks are at an impasse

By Derrick DePledge


State House Speaker Calvin Say and a dissident faction challenging his leadership traded proposals over the weekend but have yet to reach a power-sharing agreement to organize the House.

Say's group has offered the dissidents five committee chairmanships — up from four last week — and two leadership posts. Say said the dissidents have suggested that he remain speaker but that the two camps of Democrats divide the committee chairmanships.

Say (D, St. Louis Heights-Palolo Valley-Wilhelmina Rise) described his offer of five committee chairmanships as "very generous."

The speaker said he is willing to continue negotiations among majority Democrats even though he has a commitment from House Republicans to give him the votes he needs to remain in control. The speaker said he is prepared to organize with Republicans if necessary.

"I want to do the people's work as I move forward," he said.

House Minority Leader Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Queen's Gate-Hawaii Kai) said Say should end the stalemate now.

"With our eight Republican votes, Rep. Calvin Say has seven more votes than necessary to keep the Legislature from slowly shutting down, which it has been for the past 10 weeks of gridlock," Ward said in a statement.

Rep. Chris Lee (D, Lanikai-Waimanalo), one of the dissidents, disputed Ward's description of a shutdown. He said lawmakers have been holding informational briefings on the budget as they always do before session.

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