Monday, April 09, 2007


No reply from Senate President Hanabusa on resurrection of psychologist bill

As reported here Thursday, HB 1456 SD1 failed to pass its final hearing before the Senate CPH committee on 3/29/07, but allegedly through the cajoling of former legislator Alex Santiago, now a lobbyist for the psychologists, it was hastily rescheduled for a new vote and passed.

That bill would make it legal for psychologists to prescribe certain psychoactive drugs. It has been widely and sometimes noisily debated, but finally died.

There's no reply yet from Senate President Colleen Hanabusa on how it happened that the bill was hurriedly re-scheduled for a vote. It was re-heard and voted with less than even 24-hours public notice, forget about the rule requiring 48-hours notice. Tomorrow is the floor vote on that bill.

The Advertiser referred to its companion bill in an editorial this morning:
The shortage of psychiatric care in rural communities is dire, but the solution is to encourage telemedicine services and fund salaried positions for psychiatrists on the Neighbor Islands, not to create a second tier of care. This should not pass in its current form.
The Advertiser thinks it's a bad idea, I think it's a bad idea, mental health advocates think it's a bad idea--but none of us have had the luxury of hiring a lobbyist who used to work in the Legislature to push their bill.

Senator Hanabusa should explain why exactly she approved a second vote on this bill. Other bills don't get a second chance, this one died and should have remained dead. She should also explain why the public was blindsided on the new vote.

I just wanted to keep you up to date on legislative shenanigans. This looks like a good one for someone to investigate.


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