Friday, January 12, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 12, 2001

GOP introduces legislative plan

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Giving schools more autonomy, offering tuition waivers to future special education teachers and cutting state spending are among Senate Republicans’ goals this session.

Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom is clear about his party's goals.

Advertiser library photo • April 6, 1999

The three Senate Republicans launched their legislative package yesterday. Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, R-8th (Wai
alae Iki, Hawaii Kai), said the proposals reflect the desires of their constituents.

The GOP education proposals include contracting with a private law firm to find clear legal remedies to balance obligations toward special needs students, as ordered by the Felix consent decree, with the needs of other students.

Another proposal is that the state hire a private accounting firm to manage spending for special education programs.

The school system is under federal court order to do more to meet the needs of special education students.

Sen. Bob Hogue, R-24th (Kaneohe, Kailua), also listed tuition waivers for teachers’ continuing education and for those studying to be special education teachers and administrators.

Sen. Fred Hemmings, R-25th (Kailua, Waimanalo) said the Legislature should cut state spending by $170 million. That could be done largely by eliminating 1,700 state jobs through attrition and by privatizing Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which runs the state hospitals, he said.

The Senate GOP also is proposing a long-touted Republican idea to eliminate the excise tax on food, rent and medical services.

Civil service and collective bargaining reform is another priority, Slom said.

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