Thursday, September 3, 2015         

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Senate leader questions House stance on OHA development bill

By Derrick DePledge


In a rare public outburst, state Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria on Thursday lashed out at state House Majority Leader Scott Saiki for implying that a bill that would allow the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs to pursue residential development near the waterfront in Kakaako is dead before conference committee negotiations have started.

Galuteria said he was "incensed" by Saiki's comments on Tuesday that there would likely be irreconcilable differences in conference committee that would prevent the bill from becoming  law. Saiki was speaking to community activists who had staged a protest at the state Capitol against OHA's plans for residential development in Kakaako makai.

The House approved the bill on Tuesday, setting up a possible conference committee with the Senate.

"This bill is dead on arrival? We already have irreconcilable differences with the Senate? What would that be? They agreed to our bill," Galuteria (D, Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki) said on the Senate floor. "So is it a forgone conclusion that the House is going to kill something that they just agreed on? Is that how we do business here in this house? Is that how we do business here in the Legislature?"

Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully) said House leaders have never said that the bill is "dead on arrival."

"We expect that it will go to conference committee and, at that point, (the negotiators) will have to weigh the pros and cons of the bill and make a recommendation," he said.

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