Lawmakers meet today to override Cayetano veto
By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
The Legislature will hold a special session today to override Gov. Ben Cayetano's veto of a bill criminalizing sex between adults and young teens.
Cayetano called it "pure politics."
It will be the first time in more than 40 years that the Legislature has overridden a veto by the governor. House and Senate leaders said they do not plan to act on other bills during the one-day session. Cayetano vetoed a bill that would have made it illegal for 14- and 15-year-olds to have have sex with adults at least five years older. Cayetano said he thought the bill was poorly written and that it could unreasonably ensnare some teenagers.
House and Senate leaders said they decided to hold the session because of overwhelming public requests for the override. House Speaker Calvin Say, D-18th (Palolo, St. Louis, Kaimuki), also said the bill "did express the will of the people of the state of Hawai'i."
But Cayetano said yesterday: "This veto override has nothing to do with enacting good public policy, and everything to do with politics."
"The Republicans manipulated this into a political issue under the guise of protecting 14- and 15-year-olds," he said. "Now our Democratic lawmakers, fearful of the issue being used against them in 2002, have caved in to political pressures."
Cayetano said House Vice Speaker Sylvia Luke, D-26th (Punchbowl, Pauoa), last week admitted to him the bill was bad, but told him "I'm going to close my eyes on this one" because Republicans could use the issue against Democrats.
Luke said she didn't remember making the comment. She said Cayetano singled her out because she advocated the override.