Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green plans to veto two technology-related bills passed by the state legislature during the 2023 session, one dealing with government accessibility for non-English speakers and the other dealing with the Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation.
“These decisions are not taken lightly. My views on the bills listed here are based on legal considerations, impacts to the public and residents, and efficient government operations,” said Gov. Green.
The first of the two bills Gov. Green intends to veto is SB814, which would require the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, in consultation with the Office of Language Access and a working group comprising stakeholders, to develop and publish, and periodically review and update, electronic information technology multilingual accessibility standards to be implemented by all state entities. The bill would also appropriate funds for one full-time equivalent position.
In his veto rationale, the governor argued that this legislation requires branches of government and entities outside of the Office of Enterprise Technology Services’ (ETS) authority to follow ETS standards. However, he said, state agencies need discretion to provide language access in a cost-effective manner. His office noted that across the state, there are approximately 600 IT systems. Implementation for this effort would lead to increased costs and impede modernization efforts across the state’s systems.
The second bill, HB999, has to do with the composition of the Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation board of directors. The Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation is state agency responsible for diversifying Hawaiʻi’s economy by developing a technology industry that provides quality, high-paying jobs for Hawaiʻi residents.
The bill passed by the state legislature would amend the composition of the board to remove an appointed member of the University of Hawai‘i, or its designated representative. The bill would instead add the chairperson of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaiʻi, unless the chairperson, with the approval of the Board of Regents, designates another regent to serve.
Additionally, the bill would establish a public policy framework that addresses state goals in the area of economic diversification. The bill would also appropriate funds to the Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation to implement specific projects that address those goals. The legislation would also require the Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation to submit annual reports to the legislature.
Gov. Green said he was vetoing the bill because “modification of the composition of the Hawai‘i Technology and Development Corporation Board of Directors in not needed.” The governor added that despite support for the economic diversification measures envisioned through this legislation, the proposed modifications to the HTDC Board of Directors are too substantial. This administration remains supportive of the HTDC’s commitment to economic diversification.