Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Help stop Gov. Lingle’s program shutdowns

by Larry Geller

I noticed in the Advertiser breaking news today that a bill passed the Senate Ways and Means committee that would take away from the Governor the power to shut down a program by withholding funds from it. All committee members present voted in favor of the bill except of course for Republican Senator Hemmings (maybe it’s time to recall Senator Hemmings—his brake is stuck).

You can help grease the skids to passage on this bill with a short, quick email (see below).

This past year the Governor shut down Kulani Prison on the Big Island, home of a couple of very successful rehabilitation programs, without any public hearings or consultation. She also effectively shut down the Office of Elections by cutting its budget 94%, and would have closed the Molokai Clubhouse were it not for public protest. The Advertiser article mentions that the gov shut down Hawaii’s universal child health care program by eliminating its funding. She also withheld money on several occasions from Kupuna Care (which includes chore services, meals on wheels, and more, for at-risk senior citizens—and that was when the state had a surplus).

I’m not sure that the bill will completely eliminate these unilateral shutdowns—it seems on first reading that there might be loopholes, but I haven’t checked on that with any experts yet.

It would have been helpful if the Advertiser mentioned the bill number, but it was easy to find from yesterday’s hearing notice: SB2007.

If you’d like to weigh in on this, a quick email to all senators will help. Just tell them to pass SB2007-Relating to Budgetary Powers. A short quick email to sens@capitol.hawaii.gov will reach them all.

After crossover, this bill will require some help to get it through the House. Follow it on Twitter or subscribe to hearing notices for the bill here.

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Lingle RIF'ed everyone out of the Office of Language Access -- except the ED. Of course, only the most vulnerable in our state need this service so naturally it would be one of the first programs on the Ice Queen's chopping block.

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