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President Bush doesn't have them. Gov. George Pataki of New York doesn't have them. But Gov. Ben Cayetano is a step closer to obtaining special emergency powers to override state laws and contracts after two key legislative committees approved an emergency powers measure.
The bill lets the governor suspend any statute, rule or order; adopt rules to provide relief to residents; facilitate continuity of business activity and services; and minimize layoffs and prevent endangerment of public health, safety and welfare. Cayetano can suspend, waive, defer or modify any state contract. The powers lapse June 30, 2002.
Safeguards include notification by the governor to the House speaker and Senate president that he is invoking emergency powers, public notices and monthly reports detailing how the powers are used.
"It gives me a little more flexibility. The process is going to be very transparent so people can watch it" Cayetano says.
The bill was approved Tuesday night by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Finance. It still must be approved by the full House and Senate. A final vote is scheduled Monday.
Critics charge the bill is …