Hawaii welfare offices to remain open
By MARK NIESSE
HONOLULU — Hawaii's government is calling off a plan to close all the state's welfare eligibility offices and lay off 228 public employees.
Department of Human Services Director Lillian Koller said Wednesday that the Legislature's override of Gov. Linda Lingle prevented the state from moving forward with the proposal to close the welfare offices and replace them with two new processing centers in Honolulu and Hilo.
The plan was intended to save the state about $8 million, but lawmakers opposed to the idea said the needy would have lost in-person access to services.
The Democratic-controlled Legislature overrode Lingle's veto last week of a law preventing welfare office closures on the Neighbor Islands and requiring public hearings before they can be consolidated on Oahu.
The bill is SB2650.