Lifeguard bill hangs by a very thin thread

CIRA de CASTILLOTGI Staff Writer

KAPA’A— It will take a historic measure on the part of the State House to save

the county lifeguard bill from drowning this session.

“This is such an

important issue we will have to do that,” said Rep. Ezra Kanaho, referring to

offering a late session floor amendment to the bill.

Kaua’i legislators

took a break from the legislative duties on O’ahu Saturday and came home to

update the public on the 2000 Legislative session.

Kanaho said only once

before has a bill been amended on the House floor. The idea to amend the bill

(SB2001) to give immunity rather than indemnity to the counties came late in

the session and missed critical amendment deadlines.

The bill is now set

to go to the Governor and it is presumed he will veto it because of the state

Attorney General’s opposition to approving it with indemnification.

“First

we will have to confirm that the Governor would veto the current form,” said

Kanaho, “If that is true we will have to do whatever we can to try and get the

amendment through.”

Kanoho was joined by Rep. Mina Morita, and Sens.

Jonathan Chun and Avery Chumbley at the Kapa’a Library where they presented

overviews of the Legislative session and answered written questions offered by

about 30 people in attendance.

The Kapa’a session followed a morning

meeting at the Lihu’e Library.

Morita said she has been concentrating her

efforts on energy bills that will create economic incentives related to the

development of renewable energy in the state. The Renewables Standards

Portfolio (HB1883) that requires utility companies to include a certain amount

of renewable energy to produce electricity has passed the critical committees

and is moving forward.

The bill, supported by the County Council and

Administration, was amended by Sen. Jonathan Chun to exclude Kaua’i from the

standards.

Sen. Chun said that only one bill (SB2859) related to civil

service reform is still alive. The measure would allow the state and the

counties to bargain separately with public government workers unions .

“You deal, you pay” he said because each jurisdiction would be responsible for

their own contract with the union.

Also, said Chun, the county will see an

increase in the amount they can charge drivers to register their cars and that

the fees can be used to dispose of junk cars.

Sen. Chumbley said that

school violence, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and domestic

violence are some of the most important bills he has been dealing with this

session.

He said legislation that will allow the Dept. of Education to be

informed of certain juvenile offenders while protecting the privacy of the

juvenile, narrowing the laws related to school trespassing, and including in

the zero tolerance policy students who come to school under the influence are

part of a package meant to reduce school violence.

Anyone who takes drugs

and drives will now be subject to the same laws that govern drunk drivers and

can expect to see laws that will further penalize DUI drivers pass this

session, Chumbley said.

On domestic violence, the current laws are going

to be classified and expanded to include Class C felony convictions for

repeated offenders or acts that results serious bodily injury.

Chumbley

said construction on the Kaua’i courthouse, a $32 million project, will begin

in January next year and that the John Howard Foundation youth facility on

Kaua’i will be closed by the Department of Health.

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