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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 18, 2007

Legislature update 2007

 •  Legislature 2007
Read up on the latest happenings in the Legislature, find out how to contact your lawmakers, and explore other resources.

Advertiser Staff

Tomorrow is the 34th day of the 60-day session.

While the House tackled budget matters last week, there was drama in the Senate, where two of Gov. Linda Lingle's judicial nominees were up for confirmation.

The Senate readily confirmed Mark Recktenwald, chairman of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, as chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Glenn Kim faced a tougher battle after he failed to win support from the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee in a long hearing that generated such interest that a television was set up in the hallway to accommodate those who couldn't fit into the hearing room.

Although Kim's nomination to the Circuit Court was hailed by many prominent members of the legal community, the committee was swayed by testimony from two former deputy prosecutors who said Kim was undermining and disrespectful.

Ultimately, however, despite a long floor speech by Judiciary chairman Clayton Hee, the Senate went against the committee's recommendation and voted 16-9 to make Kim a judge.

The House Finance Committee had to complete its first pass at the budget last week. The committee included $31 million for University of Hawai'i-West O'ahu campus planning, design and the first phase of construction.

Other House committees approved bills that would allow for the drug testing of public school teachers with probable cause, make community service mandatory for convicted graffiti artists, put a moratorium on genetically modified taro and allow Hawai'i to join other states in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project.

The Legislature honored caregivers and social workers, along with Paul Masuoka, who last month closed a popular Liliha eatery known for its enormous mixed plates named after celebrities.

"What is irreplaceable, rare and what I believe sets Masu's Massive Plate Lunch apart, is the sincerity, and the heart and the feeling of old Hawai'i, where shorts and slippers, alongside Gucci bags and downtown suits, could together line up for a hearty generous plate of locals' favorite food and all feel like they are home," said Rep. Corinne Ching as the House recognized Masuoka for his "contributions to Hawai'i."

OVERHEARD

"The guy who used to castrate bulls for fun and recreation is now doing the same thing in the state Senate."

Sen. Gordon Trimble on Judiciary chairman Clayton Hee after Hee's committee decided to oppose Glenn Kim's nomination as a Circuit Court judge

COMING UP

Senate committees this week will hold hearings on several Cabinet members up for confirmation:

  • On Tuesday at 2:45 p.m. the Public Safety Committee will hear testimony on Iwalani White, director of the Department of Public Safety.

  • On Wednesday at 1 p.m., the Transportation and International Affairs Committee will hear testimony on Barry Fukunaga, interim director of the state Department of Transportation.

  • On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., the Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee will hear testimony on Sandra Kunimoto, director of the Department of Agriculture.

  • On Thursday at 1:15 p.m., the Tourism and Government Operations committee will hear testimony on Russ Saito, comptroller of the Department of Accounting and General Services.