Lawmakers override veto, retain Hawaii welfare offices
HONOLULU — Lawmakers have overridden Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of legislation to retain welfare offices she wanted closed.
The Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to revive a bill that stalls the shuttering of 31 welfare offices and the loss of 228 public employee jobs statewide.
The state Department of Human Services wanted to eliminate the offices to save $8 million and consolidate benefit processing in two new call centers in Honolulu and Hilo. But lawmakers opposed the idea, worrying that the needy would lose in-person access to services.
The measure, which now becomes law, prohibits welfare office closures on the Neighbor Islands and requires public hearings before they can be consolidated on Oahu.
The bill is SB2650.