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Senate, House to extend legislative session


The state Senate and House of Representatives have agreed to extend the current legislative session by two days, permitting overrides of Gov. Linda Lingle’s vetoes of fiscal bills before the start of the fiscal year July 1, 2009. The session was scheduled to adjourn Thursday, May 7.

The extension would eliminate a planned recess and convene a legislative session Wednesday, May 6, and add an additional session day Friday, May 8. These adjustments would effectively extend the session to 62 days, rather than the 60 days of a typical session.

Additionally, extending the legislative session will mean that fiscal bills earlier passed by the House and Senate and presented to the governor for signature will have been presented more than ten days before adjournment. Under those circumstances, if the governor wishes to veto those bills, she must do so within those 10 days. 

Pursuant to the Hawaii Constitution, Article III, section 16: “The governor shall have ten days to consider bills presented to the governor ten or more days before the adjournment of the legislature sine die, and if such bill is neither signed nor returned by the governor within that time, it shall become law in like manner as if the governor had signed it.”

If the legislature adjourned less than ten days from presenting the bills to the governor, she would have 45 days from the date of adjournment to veto. Under those circumstances, the fiscal bills may not be fully resolved before the start of the fiscal year.

“Allowing these extra two days helps the governor and helps the public,” said Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. “It helps ensure that our budget and fiscal priorities—core aspects of the legislature’s policymaking power—are established early, and that the governor is dealing with known quantities as she moves ahead with the state budget. It is certainly far better to know what we are dealing with than to go into July with no clear picture of our state’s financial situation.”

“The bills that we expect the governor to veto are of critical importance to balancing the budget and adding needed revenue to our economy,” said Speaker of the House Calvin Say.  “As we have said at the beginning of the session, the economic crisis we face requires us to use all options available to us. The sooner, the better.”          

Under the Hawaii Constitution, Article III, section 10, “Any session may be extended a total of not more than fifteen days. Such extension shall be granted by the presiding officers of both houses at the written request of two-thirds of the members to which each house is entitled, or may be granted by the governor.”

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