Hawaii House of Reps Forwards More Bills to Senate

The House passed today more than 180 bills including measures to implement a heat abatement program in Hawaii’s public schools and to fund construction and relocation of Oahu and Maui prisons.

Capital

House Passes Bills that Provide For Cooling Classrooms and Funding of Oahu and Maui Prisons.

To date, the House has sent over 350 bills to the Senate for its consideration, including measures that allow teachers to accept “gifted” support when traveling with students and that block pre-approval from HMSA for certain medical services.

HB 2569 HD2 authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and the use of funds from the Green Infrastructure Loan Program to implement cooling measures in public school classrooms, and requires the Department of Education to expedite the cooling of all public school classrooms.  The bill also requires the school system to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2035.

The DOE currently spends approximately $62 million a year on electricity, gas and water services.  By installing more efficient lighting, natural ventilation and integrating innovative renewable technologies, such as solar panels and batteries to help power schools, the state could reduce electricity costs and improve student performance.

Another school-related measure passed by the House, HB1713 HD2, would exempt school employees traveling with students from the State Ethics Code rules relating to gifts, gift reporting and conflicts of interest if certain conditions are met.

Last year, the State Ethics Commission ruled that teachers could no longer accept “free travel” to accompany students on field trips across the state and to the mainland.  The bill allows teachers serving as a chaperone on non-publicly funded trips to accept gifted support.

HB2388 HD3 clarifies the governor’s authority to negotiate for the construction of correctional facilities and aligns environmental impact statement and assessment requirements as generally applicable requirements.  The bill appropriates funds for a new Oahu Community Correctional Center and relocating Maui Community Correctional Center.  It also requires a feasibility report on development of Oahu Community Correctional Center land.

House lawmakers also approved HB2740 HD1, which prohibits insurers from requiring pre-authorization of medical treatment or services that cause undue delay in a patient’s receipt of such treatment or service.  The bill specifies that insurers, not health care providers, are liable for civil damages for any injury to a patient because of undue delay.

The bill is in reaction to a new rule by the Hawaii Medical Service Association to use third parties on the mainland to approve diagnostic imaging exams in an effort to reduce unnecessary costs.  Doctors say delaying critical tests and could have harmful consequences for patients.

Other bills passing third reading by the full House today include measures that provide for housing, gun control, voting rights and fighting crime.

Higher Education

HB2240 HD2, establishes a green special fund within UH to reduce energy consumption and costs.  Requires the University of Hawaii to submit annual report to Legislature.

HB539 HD2 requires that the UH-Manoa Athletics Department have a separate program ID in the State Budget Act and requires that funds be transferred to the UH-Manoa Athletic Department for scholarship expenses.  The bill prohibits allocation of general funds to the UH-Manoa Athletic Department except for Title IX compliance and requires that UH-Manoa men’s teams collectively be fiscally self-sufficient.

HB1613 HD1 grants tuition waivers to students at community colleges who meet certain criteria. It initiates the waiver program as a pilot program in a county with a population of less than 100,000.

Housing and Homelessness

HB2293 HD1 enables the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation to create mixed-use developments in partnership with state and county departments and agencies.

HB2166 HD1 expands the low income-household renter’s income tax credit based on adjusted gross income, filing status and the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

HB2647 HD2 establishes a Work for a Day Pilot Program to be administered by the City and County of Honolulu that provides homeless individuals with work opportunities.

Tourism

HB1850 HD1 allows transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of operators and plan managers using their services.

HB1847 HD2 establishes the Sports and Entertainment Authority to coordinate and develop an entertainment and sports industry in the state, including oversight of the stadium and attracting local, national and international events, as well as developing state-of-the-art facilities for the benefit of professional, amateur and youth athletes.  It also establishes the Sports and Entertainment Authority Special Fund and allocates a portion of transient accommodations tax revenues to the Special Fund.  The bill repeals the Stadium Authority and transfers jurisdiction over stadiums and related facilities and the Kapolei Recreational Sports Complex to the Sports and Entertainment Authority.

HB2563 HD2 appropriates funds for the restoration of a continuous beach and multi-use infrastructure for public access along the Waikiki waterfront.

Energy

HB1851 HD1 Requires at least one of the three members of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to be a resident of a county other than Honolulu and receive per diem compensation.  It also allows commissioners to participate in PUC public hearings via teleconference and videoconference.

HB2085 HD2 aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for electrical generation and ground transportation by 2045.

HB212 HD2 establishes a nonrefundable income tax credit for taxpayers who purchase and install battery backup systems for solar energy systems.

HB2567 HD1 establishes “substantial net benefit” as the Public Utilities Commission’s standard for a transfer or assignment of an electric utility and specifies certain guidelines to address when examining whether a substantial net benefit exists.

Voting rights

To increase voter participation, HB1652 HD1 requires an affidavit on application for voter registration to be included with applications for driver’s licenses or civil identification cards and prevents the processing of an application for a driver’s license or civil identification card until the voter affidavit is completed or declined.

HB1654 HD1 allows a permanent absentee voter to receive ballots at an alternate address for elections within an election cycle and clarifies that certain conditions that normally lead to a termination of permanent absentee voter status do not apply if the voter resides in an absentee voter only area.  It also allows a voter to receive an absentee ballot by electronic transmission if the voter requires such a ballot within five days of an election, or when the voter would not otherwise be able to return their properly issued ballot by the close of polls.

Environmental Protection

Bills passed relating to the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility fuel tanks include HB2646 HD2, which creates a permanent fuel tank advisory committee to study, monitor and address fuel tank leak issues; and HB2165 HD2, which makes appropriations to the Department of Health to hire employees and consultants to install monitor wells, to monitor compliance with the Administrative Order on Consent, and to evaluate and remediate environmental damage from fuel leaks.

HB2517 HD2 adds county-certified cesspools within 200 feet of an existing sewer system to the definition of “qualified cesspool” for the purposes of determining eligibility for an upgrade, conversion or connection income tax credit.

HB1749 HD1 amends the goals of the Hawaii water plan to include the 100 per cent utilization of reclaimed water in all state and county facilities.

HB2200 HD2 authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson to transfer public land trust funds to the Kahoolawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund.  Authorizes the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to expend public land trust funds for purposes consistent with those of the Kahoolawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund.

Agriculture

HB2501 HD2 allows for a holdover disposition of water rights previously authorized, pending approval for a lease renewal.

HB2657 HD2 provides reimbursements to Molokai farmers and ranchers for mandated food safety compliance audits and other related costs and appropriates moneys to the Maui Office of Economic Development to review and approve applications for the loan program.

Public Safety

HB2188 HD2 authorizes Hawaii Correctional Industries to sell products and services on the open market to the general public.

HB1902 HD2 replaces the offense of promoting prostitution in the first degree with sex trafficking to be classified as a violent crime.  It makes sex trafficking a class A felony and a strict liability offense if a minor is the victim of sex trafficking.  The bill expands the Department of the Attorney General’s Statewide Witness Program to include sex trafficking, provides victims with access to criminal injury compensation, and amends laws relating to civil liability for cases of coercion into prostitution.

HB1907 HD2 establishes the Sexual Assault Kit Tracking Program in the Honolulu Police Department, including requirements for submission of kits for testing, reporting information to state and federal DNA databases, obtaining consent prior to testing, and admissibility of evidence in judicial proceedings.  It also requires reporting on program implementation and kit testing backlog.

HB1580 HD1 appropriates funds for grants to maintain and expand the Weed and Seed Strategy, which is a collaborative crime fighting effort to reclaim, restore and rebuild communities.

HB1516 HD1 clarifies that the Internet Crimes Against Children fee is to be assessed against every defendant who is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony regardless of the nature of the offense.

Gun Control

HB2629 HD2 authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.

HB2632 HD2 requires firearms owners who have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition due to mental illness, including emergency hospitalization, to immediately surrender their firearms and ammunition to the chief of police.

HB1813 HD1 temporarily prohibits a person listed in the federal Terrorist Screening Database from owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm or ammunition and requires surrender or disposal of firearms and ammunition.

HB626 HD1 prohibits the actual physical possession of any firearm while consuming alcohol outside of the home, a temporary residence, or place of sojourn.  Establishes violation as a petty misdemeanor.

Veterans

HB2490 HD2 would exempt certain disabled veterans from county motor vehicle taxes and the state annual vehicle registration fee.

Labor and Employment

HB2606 HD2 establishes a retirement benefit incentive for public employees, otherwise eligible to retire, whose positions are subject to layoff due to the consolidation or abolition of functions, or the privatization of the functions of the position as a result of Act 103 (2015).  Sunsets on June 30, 2017.

HB2446 HD2 authorizes public employees facing position abolishment, reduction-in-force, or workforce restructuring to opt to receive either voluntary severance benefits or a special retirement benefit in lieu of exercising any reduction-in-force rights.

HB2122 HD2 increases maximum potential unemployment benefits for employees separated from service from 26 to 39 times the individual’s weekly benefit amount commencing on or after March 7, 2016. Requires terminated or laid off Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company workers to complete a training or retraining program to receive the maximum potential benefits.

Animal protection

HB1592 HD1 prohibits certain restraints and tethers that endanger or deny sustenance to dogs.

HB 2245 HD1 establishes the penalties for animal desertion as a petty misdemeanor and a fine of $1,000, but if the animal suffers death or injury, the fine increases to $2,000.

HB2502 HD2 prohibits the trafficking of protected animal species, with limited exceptions.

Other issues

HD2080 HD2 includes fuel cell electric vehicles in the definition of electric vehicles for purposes of parking exemptions, HOV lane use, registration, and required parking spaces in places of public accommodation.  Grants procurement priority for fuel cell electric vehicles for state and county vehicle purchases.

HB1736 HD1 renames the Kona International Airport as the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport.

HB1739 HD2 prohibits, subject to certain exemptions, employers from requiring, requesting, or coercing employees or potential employees to provide access to their personal social media accounts.

HB1753 HD3 requires the annual registration of mopeds and the Director of Finance to issue moped number plates.  The bill stipulates a registration fee for a moped of $50.

HB2008 HD2 prohibits the state from hiring persons for more than two 89-day terms in a fully general-funded position per lifetime of the person but provides for limited exceptions.

The first “crossover” deadline is March 10 for non-budget bills to pass third reading in each chamber.  If successful, House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration.

A complete list of bills passed by the House to date this biennium is available on the Capitol website at:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2016&report=deadline&active=true&rpt_type=firstCross&measuretype=HB&title=House%20Bills%20Crossed%20Over%20to%20the%20Senate

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