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Ige won’t veto rail tax extension, but rejects sex-trafficking bill

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Gov. David Ige announced which bills he intends to veto on Monday.
This story has been corrected. See below.

Gov. David Ige said Monday he will not veto the extension of the rail surcharge to the general excise tax, but he will reject a bill that proponents said would have toughened Hawaii’s prosecution of sex traffickers.

At an afternoon news conference, the governor released his list of eight bills that he may veto by the July 14 deadline. The rail tax extension and the medical marijuana dispensaries bills were not on the list.

The rail tax bill will extend the half-percentage point GET surcharge for five years to further fund the city’s $6 billion rail-transit project. Ige said he was committed to seeing the rail project completed.

The medical marijuana bill will establish up to 16 dispensaries for certified patients. The bill calls for the dispensaries to open as soon as July 2016.

The “intent to veto” list of eight bills released Monday includes a sex-trafficking bill which was opposed by prosecutors who said it was flawed. Proponents argued that Hawaii is the only state that does not ban sex trafficking and that the bill would give prosecutors more leeway in prosecuting pimps.

Ige said he will veto the bill and ask the state attorney general and county prosecutors to help draft a better bill to combat sex trafficking.

The governor also said he may veto the bill that would repeal an ethanol facility tax credit.

Ige’s intent to veto list included bills that would have allowed University of Hawaii graduate assistants to engage in collective bargaining, and give UH the authority to maintain a separate accounting and fiscal management system.


Here is the governor’s full “intent to veto” list:

Gov. David Ige has informed the Hawaii State Legislature of his intent to veto the following bills:

HB540 — Relating to the University of Hawaii Accounting and Financial Management System: Extends authority of UH to maintain separate accounting and financial management system

HB553 — Relating to Collective Bargaining: Allows UH graduate student assistants employed by UH to collectively bargain their wages, hours and other terms

SB105 — Relating to the Budget: Requires estimated future debt service for proposed CIP projects to be included in the budget documents submitted to the Legislature.

SB218 — Relating to the Order of Succession: Clarifies the order of succession to the Lt. Governor’s office.

SB265 — Relating to Sex Trafficking: Changes wording in statute from “promoting prostitution in the first degree” to “sex trafficking.”

SB349 — Relating to Taxation: Repeals ethanol facility tax credit; establishes a 5-year renewable fuels production tax credit.

SB569 — Relating to Theft: Increases the dollar threshold with respect to property or services, for theft in the second degree from the current $300 to $750.

SB1324 — Relating to Divorce: Provides authority for Employees’ Retirement System to make direct payments of benefits to a non-member former spouse of a member on order of court judgment, order or divorce decree.

This Intent to Veto list gives the governor the option to veto any, but not necessary all, of the bills on the list by July 14, 2015.

Bills that are not on this list will become law with or without the governor’s signature no later than July 14.



The governor said Monday he may veto a bill that repeals an ethanol facility tax credit. An earlier version of this story said he intended to veto the repeal of the mandate that gasoline for motor vehicles be mixed with ethanol.

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