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Abercrombie's proposals gain steam in Legislature

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm •  Published: March 7, 2013

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is seeing his legislative proposals for statewide preschool, natural resources and other issues gain momentum as House and Senate lawmakers hit a key deadline.

Thursday is the deadline for bills to cross over from one chamber to the other. Abercrombie has proposed hundreds of bills, and many are moving forward as proposed or in different forms as part of other initiatives.

In an emailed statement from Abercrombie's spokeswoman, the governor said that he appreciates the Legislature's willingness to advance several of his initiatives. But he noted that the legislative session is just halfway through and that much more work needs to be done.

Along with the state budget, Abercrombie has said his preschool initiative is his top priority. The Senate passed three bills to establish statewide preschool, including one that proposes a constitutional amendment to allow the state to fund privately owned preschools.

Despite Senate support for the plan, Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria says competing funding priorities could force the preschool proposal to end up differing from Abercrombie's vision.

"The governor's plan is one model," Galuteria told The Associated Press. "I don't think it's going to come out exactly as he had hoped."

The deadline for each chamber to vote on the governor's proposed budget is not until next week.

The governor's proposals to decrease renewable energy tax credits, develop public school lands, raise the minimum wage and appropriate money for the hurricane tax relief fund also overcame Thursday's deadline.

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