State lawmakers last week passed amendments to several bills as requested by Gov. David Ige and overrode a handful of his vetoes, including one that overhauls how the state funds the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and allocates tourism tax revenue to the four counties.
The Conversation spoke with Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki about why they pushed back on Ige’s vetoes and what issues they wanted to address in the next legislative session.
"It's all part of the process and while the legislature has rarely exercised veto overrides, you know, it's something that we can do," Kouchi said. "There isn't any kind of risk between the governor and myself, but certainly members of my caucus and on the House side have worked hard on these measures.
"This time with the amount he had on his list, we wound up with five that the members felt should take effect. We overrode the veto—a sixth one was just technically done," he said. "At this point, the democracy is working. But it's not about any kind of risk with the governor."
With the override of Ige's veto on restructuring tourism funding and the HTA, the HTA will now be required to get support from lawmakers for its budget like other state agencies. This will require the agency to be more forthcoming with its strategic plans and force more communication between the agency and lawmakers, Sen. Bennette Misalucha said previously.