Saturday, February 02, 2013
Evil twin replaces flaming liberal in Hawaii governor’s mansion
by Larry Geller
Update: Since not everyone reads comments, there is information on a possible legal challenge to the PLDC in the comment attached, or see the referenced website ppklegalfundorg. No one should doubt that Kauai advocates are not effective—they fiercely defend their island and have an enviable success record.
Breakfast conversation the other day, while reading an article in the morning paper about the difficulty of repealing the despised PLDC (Public Land Development Corp.) law this session: Should the Legislature attempt to pass a repeal law, a veto by Governor Abercrombie is a strong possibility, it seems.
The conversation drifted to the fate of the Hawaii Shield Law, HB622, which sunsets this year and needs to be renewed. Advocates had just held a meeting at which it was one topic of conversation among many related to good government initiatives up for hearings this session.
It seems that the Governor and the Attorney General don’t like the shield law one bit. But others do. Still, it’s surprising that there was so little written testimony submitted from those who write as a vocation or avocation.
From one of two testimonies posted for the one hearing it had in the House:
Thirty-nine state and the District of Columbia currently have shield laws and the Student Press Law Center has described Hawai`i’s law as “the best in the country in terms of the clarity and breadth of its coverage.” Our law has been cited as a model for a national shield law.
[The AG’s testimony is also included at the link. It seems the AG submitted printed testimony late. Shows how technologically advanced they are… .] [The testimony is also not readable by the blind using a screen reader, a violation of federal Section 508 by the website.]
The gov’s popularity has plummeted since his election, but why? I no longer recognize the flaming liberal who once campaigned in a Superman outfit against moneyed interests. Who is this man now in the Governor’s office, and what did he do with the real Neil Abercrombie? Who knew that our Governor has an evil twin brother?
The evil twin must have been the one who voted against a federal shield law in Congress, the only Democrat to do so. Apparently, the twin, arguing that the First Amendment already protected journalists, was not aware that the Supreme Court, in the 1972 case Branzburg v. Hayes, had invalidated the argument that Abercrombie used to justify his vote.
The shield law was signed by Governor Linda Lingle, no liberal herself. It would be strange if it were undone by Abercrombie, but not unexpected given his voting record. To override his potential veto will take more public action than we have seen so far (hint).
The likelihood of a veto of a PLDC repeal bill could leave the PLDC law intact. This would displease the masses, who demonstrated against the prospect of public lands being turned to private commercial use. The veto of an extension of the journalism shield law would mean Hawaii would go from having the “best in the country” to having no law at all.
There could, of course, be a compromise on the shield law, gutting it of protections for non-traditional journalists and cutting what the AG seems to think is getting in the way of his work. We don’t know what leadership is thinking over in the House.
The Judiciary Committee chair directed a vote to pass HB622 with amendments, and our legislators, as they almost always do, sheepishly went along with the chair and voted for an amendment they hadn't seen. Such is the condition of our state democracy. Whatever the House leadership writes in that pre-approved amendment will be final for the House, there are no further committee hearings before the bill crosses over to the Senate. At this writing, the amendment is still not posted to the Capitol website. Of course, floor action is possible, but again, that would take more public pressure than has been exerted so far.
Shield laws protect the public’s right to have information. It’s not strange that administrators seek to restrict the news. To keep our press free will take some more pressure by the public than we have seen so far at the last committee hearing.
A couple things come to mind. Given the level of public outrage over the PLDC, you'd think our legislators would be pushing for repeal of Act 55. In the event they choose greed over the wishes of the people, People for the Preservation of Kauai will be taking them to court! Check out ppklegalfund.org Under the media button, check out the video of our good governor - back when he was a representative. He's come home to give our lands to the developers! I think he was the evil twin then as now! See what you think after you watch the video! Our attorney's think Act 55 is unconstitutional - if they don't repeal, we'll see them in court! Consider donating to our legal fund. Aloha, Judie Hoeppner
Thanks for your comment. I included an update in the main text since many people don't see comments.