Pearl Country Club - 12 noon
Wed., March 19
Thur., March 27
Legislature Half Over, No Budget, No Reform
The 22nd State Legislature convened its 60 working day session January 15. The Session is set to adjourn May 1. Now, past the halfway mark, little has been accomplished but a lot remains on the table. A looming war in Iraq clouds Hawaii's economic and budget process even more.
The $7-plus billion biennium state budget is still not balanced. The former governor and the current Democrats in the Legislature want to raid the Hurricane Relief Fund and take nearly $175 million for the current budget; Governor Lingle and the Republicans do not. Other Special Funds have been targeted for elimination or transfer. The Legislature awaits the Governor's promised first independent financial audit of the state.
A total 3,401 bills were introduced in the House and Senate by the January 24 deadline. The Administration dropped in 168 measures for government and business reform. Many bills "died" without a hearing. The first "crossover" is March 6 when remaining bills must pass from one house to the other for further hearings and consideration.
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