Hawaii Senators Pass More Than 250 House Bills for Second Crossover

Members of the State Senate today passed 150 House bills that addresses areas of the environmental protection, economic development, crime victim protections and water rights.

Capital

More than 250 bills have passed third reading on the floor of the Senate and will be returning to the House ahead of the final crossover deadline of Thursday, April 14, 2016. A majority of the bills will move into conference committees where the House and Senate Conferees will convene to discuss the House and Senate drafts and come to an agreement on a final amended version.

“We attempted to move forward measures we felt reflected the priorities of the Senate,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe), Senate Majority Leader. “There are a number of areas in which the House and Senate share a mutual concern. We’ll work on the details in conference and I’m hopeful the outcome will be responsible bills.”

A top priority for the Hawai‘i Senate Majority concerns homelessness and housing. A number of measures that focuses on these issues were passed by the Senate, including HB2647 HD2 SD2, which establishes a three-year Work for a Day pilot program to be administered by the City and County of Honolulu that provides homeless individuals with work opportunities and HB2244 HD1 SD2 which appropriates funds to support housing programs.

Measures passing third reading that protect the environment, another priority of the Senate program, include HB1050 SD2 which appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture to address the interisland spread of invasive species and HB2646 HD2 SD2  that creates a permanent fuel tank advisory committee to study, monitor, and address fuel tank leak issues.

The Senate also passed bills that support good governance including HB1653 HD1 SD1 implementing election by mail beginning with the primary election in 2018 and HB2632 HD2 SD2 which requires firearms owners who are diagnosed with a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder or for treatment for organic brain syndromes, or due to emergency or involuntary hospitalization, to immediately surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police.

Other significant House measures passed by the Senate include:

HB260 HD1 SD1 establishes motor vehicle insurance requirements for transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers.

HB1072 HD1 SD2 enables the board of psychology to accept applications for prescriptive authority privilege and grant prescriptive authority to prescribing psychologists who meet specific education, training, and registration requirements.

HB1700 HD1 SD1 adjusts and requests appropriations for Fiscal Biennium 2015‑-17 funding requirements for operations and capital improvement projects of Executive Branch agencies and programs.

HB1713 HD2 SD2 exempts extracurricular service of employees from the state ethics code if certain conditions are met. Defines detached remuneration and extracurricular service.

HB1787 HD3 SD2 creates and appropriates funds for Erin’s Law Task Force to review policies, programs, and curricula for educating public school students about sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention, and report recommendations for the establishment of a program to educate public school children on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curricula.

HB1902 HD2 SD1 replaces the term “promoting prostitution in the first degree” with the term “sex trafficking,” as a class A felony and establish that prosecution is required to prove only that the person committing the offense of sex trafficking acted negligently if the person knowingly advanced or profited from prostitution of a minor. Includes the offense of sex trafficking in the department of the attorney general’s statewide witness program.

HB1907 HD2 SD2 requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all kits they store and transmit a report of the number of untested sexual assault evidence kits they possess to the department of the attorney general.

HB2263 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds for the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to conduct an economic assessment study on the development and economic viability of a small satellite launch and processing facility on the Island of Hawai‘i.

HB2501 HD2 SD2 requires that where an application has been made for a lease to continue a previously authorized disposition of water rights, a holdover may be authorized annually until the pending application for the disposition of water rights is finally resolved or for three years, whichever is sooner. Requires that the holdover is consistent with the public trust doctrine and any applicable law.

HB2605 HD1 SD2 appropriates funds to establish, administer, and support on-the-job training for individuals who are unemployed and dislocated due to the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company and the Makena Beach and Golf Resort on Maui.

A full list of the House bills passed by the Senate can be found on the Hawai‘i State Legislative website www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

The Hawai‘i Senate Majority’s Legislative Program can be viewed at www.hawaiisenatemajority.com.

Hawaii House of Representatives Passes More Than 100 Senate Measures on Final Crossover

The state House of Representatives passed today more than 100 Senate measures dealing with heat abatement for schools, homelessness and affordable housing, crime victims’ rights, body-worn cameras for police, the creation of a law enforcement review board, senior care facility and medical marijuana dispensary inspections, an interisland ferry study, and the Judiciary budget.

Capital

“These bills represent a broad range of concerns for the state, from affordable housing and homelessness to interisland transportation,” said Joseph M. Souki, Speaker of the state House of Representatives.  “They address the needs of our keiki, victims of crime, medical patients, and our kupuna, and go a long way in making life and lives better in Hawaii.  I would like to thank the representatives, their staff, the state departments, the private and nonprofit organizations, and every Hawaii resident who took the time to provide input so that we could create and improve the laws that govern us all.”

Among the bills passed by the House were:

EDUCATION

SB3126 SD2 HD2, which authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and the use of funds from the Green Infrastructure Loan Program to implement and expedite cooling measures in public school classrooms, and requires the Department of Education to become net-zero with respect to energy use by January 1, 2035;

SB2624 SD2 HD1, which provides a state income tax credit for certain expenses paid or incurred by school teachers, special education teachers, school librarians, and counselors for supplementary materials used in the classroom, as well as for accompanying students for educational travel;

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

SB2833 SD2 HD2, which amends the state low-income housing tax credit and bases the amount of the tax credit on whether a building is financed by tax-exempt bonds;

SB2566 SD1 HD1, which transfers excess moneys from the rental assistance revolving fund to the rental housing revolving fund;

SB2563 SD1 HD1, which amends operations of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority and funding eligibility criteria of the Rental Housing Revolving Fund to make HPHA projects eligible for loans and grants from the Revolving Fund and granting the Authority preferences and priority in loan and grant applications.  Requires the Authority to coordinate with other state agencies in developing transit-proximate affordable housing;

PUBLIC SAFETY

SB3034 SD1 HD2, known as Marsy’s Law, which proposes a ballot question for an amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution to provide the victims of crimes with specific rights related to the criminal justice process;

SB2411 SD2 HD2, which establishes requirements, restrictions, and implementation timelines for body-worn cameras and vehicle cameras for county police departments, and appropriates funds for each county to purchase body-worn and vehicle video cameras;

SB2439 SD1 HD1, which establishes exceptions to the offense of obstructing government operations and the offense of violation of privacy in the second degree for a person making a video or audio recording or photograph of a law enforcement officer while the officer is in the performance of duties in a public place or under circumstances in which the officer has no reasonable expectation of privacy;

SB2196 SD2 HD1, which establishes a law enforcement officer independent review board within the Department of the Attorney General to investigate incidents of officer-involved death;

SB2816 SD1 HD2, which adds the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code, amends criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed or otherwise secured;

HEALTH

SB2384 SD1 HD1, which requires the Department of Health to conduct unannounced visits and inspections, including inspections for relicensing and recertification, for certain state-licensed or state-certified care facilities and unannounced inspections for license renewals for medical marijuana production centers and dispensaries;

SB2181 SD2 HD2, which permits manufacturers of investigational drugs or biological products beginning on January 1, 2017, to make these drugs and products available to terminally ill patients under certain conditions;

SB2319 SD1 HD3, which requires health insurers in the state, including health benefits plans under the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund and Medicaid managed care programs, to cover reimbursement for contraceptive supplies intended to last for up to a 12-month period for an insured;

SB3084 SD1 HD2, which authorizes the state Department of Health to establish a cesspool tax credit or rebate program to facilitate cesspool conversions or improvements by residents;

TRANSPORTATION

SB2618 SD1 HD2, which directs the state Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study on establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system;

AGRICULTURE

SB1374 SD2 HD2, which requires the Department of Agriculture to negotiate land exchanges with Dole Food Company, Inc. to conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency, and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands for the future;

HIGHER EDUCATION

SB2398 SD2 HD2, which establishes a collective bargaining unit for graduate student assistants employed by the University of Hawaii;

ENDANGERED SPECIES

SB2647 SD1 HD2, which prohibits the sale, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product, including ivory, from animal species that are threatened with extinction;

The House also passed the Judiciary supplemental budget.  Both chambers have until Thursday, April 14, to pass on third reading any remaining bills before the Second Crossover deadline.

Following the deadline, the amended Senate bills passed by the House, along with the amended House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.

For more information on all of the Senate bills passed by the House so far this session, see the links to the (amended) and (unamended) bills.

On Equal Pay Day, Senator Hirono Leads Measure To End Gender Barriers In STEM Careers

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today marked Equal Pay Day by introducing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Opportunities Act, legislation that would improve inclusion of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM careers. Equal Pay Day marks the day in 2016 when, on average, women’s wages catch up to what men earned in 2015.

mazie 412“It’s unacceptable that we are more than 100 days into 2016, but women’s salaries are only now catching up with what men made last year,” said Senator Hirono. “While the gender pay gap affects women across all fields, women in STEM careers continue to face barriers that can limit their opportunities for employment and equal pay. The STEM Opportunities Act takes a comprehensive approach to combatting factors that limit the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. For America to remain competitive in a 21st century economy, we must break down barriers for working women through passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the STEM Opportunities Act.”

Senator Hirono also took to the Senate floor to mark Equal Pay Day and highlight disparities in STEM fields. For example, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in school year 2014-2015, men earned more than five times the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees and three times as many bachelor’s degrees in the College of Engineering as women.

The STEM Opportunities Act helps federal science agencies and institutions of higher education identify and share best practices to overcome barriers that can hurt the inclusion of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM, and also allows universities and nonprofits to receive competitive grants and recognition for mentoring women and minorities in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act builds on legislation championed by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

The Senate measure is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

“Science, technology, engineering and math are drivers of innovation in states like New Jersey, and across the country. If we are to remain globally competitive, we have to ensure all Americans- including women and minorities- are prepared to succeed in these important fields,” said Senator Booker. “I am pleased to support the STEM Opportunities Act to create inclusive career pathways that will help grow our economy and create opportunities for more Americans.”

“The STEM fields are critical to driving innovation and economic growth,” said Senator Gillibrand. “But we limit our potential when our STEM workforce does not reflect the diversity of our nation. I was proud to lead a successful bipartisan amendment to the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act to increase access to high-quality STEM coursework in K-12 education for students who are members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act will improve opportunities for advancement in STEM fields for women and underrepresented minorities further down the pipeline – in higher education, in early careers, and for STEM academics and professionals.”

“Increasing women and minority participation in the STEM economy will keep the United States at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological innovation in the 21st century,” said Senator Markey. “The diversity of STEM professionals will help fuel the diversity of discoveries in science, technology, engineering and math. For our future scientific endeavors to produce the next generation of life-changing results, we need to ensure that our universities, laboratories and research institutions reflect the rich diversity of our nation and continue to receive the support that fosters breakthroughs and helps maintain American leadership in science and technology.”

“If we’re serious about empowering more young women and communities of color to take on STEM careers and compete in the 21st century economy, we need to ramp up our research efforts to identify and share best practices so that we can diversify the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Senator Murray. “STEM skills are so important for Washington state’s economy, so making these fields more inclusive will ultimately strengthen our workforce and our economy in the years to come.”

“By expanding access to STEM disciplines in schools and sharing best practices for recruitment and retention in STEM careers, we can help more women and minorities become engaged in science, technology, engineering and math, boosting economic success and strengthening America’s competitiveness in the 21st-century global economy,” said Senator Peters. “The STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 will improve inclusion of women and minorities in STEM fields by tapping into and fostering their talents.”

The American Association for University of Women, American Women in Science, Girls, Inc., MAES- Latinos in Science and Engineering, Maui Economic Development Board, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Society for Women Engineers, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center support the STEM Opportunities Act.

“When we reduce barriers that deter women and other underrepresented minorities from pursuing careers in STEM fields, American businesses get a leg up on the rest of the world. The STEM Opportunities Act will open doors for a more diverse science community, and in so doing help spur innovation and increase our global competitiveness,” said Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations at American Association of University Women. “Any serious attempt to modernize our science workforce and our nation’s science priorities is incomplete without this measure.

“In Hawaii, high-paying STEM jobs are boosting our island economy,” said Leslie Wilkins, Vice President, of the Maui Economic Development Board and Director of the Women in Technology Project. “To grow the education to workforce pipeline needed to keep up with STEM job demand, our Women in Technology initiative continues to engage girls and women who are under-represented in technology fields. WIT’s hands-on STEM curriculum, training, mentoring and internship programs have had a significant impact statewide but still need ongoing support.  Mahalo to Senator Hirono for introducing the STEM Opportunities Act, a comprehensive bill that could strengthen our efforts, as well as others throughout Hawaii and the nation.”

“Investing in STEM is an investment in our nation’s future, and it is imperative that women and people of color are represented and empowered to succeed in these fields. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are underrepresented in STEM leadership roles, and despite stereotypes, some AAPI subgroups are underrepresented in STEM overall. Disaggregated data on AAPIs at institutions of higher education and federal science agencies will highlight the need for more investment in AAPIs in STEM fields, and this legislation would benefit all women and people of color in STEM. Senator Hirono has been a strong advocate for STEM inclusion, and we also thank her for her ongoing leadership on behalf of AAPI communities in all areas,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang.

“Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) enthusiastically supports the STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 and applauds its sponsors for their efforts.  Improving data collection, research and sharing best practices across federal science agencies and institutions of higher education to address systemic factors impeding the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM fields are all key elements in the Nation’s interest.  The PAESMEM awards are particularly essential in bringing all groups into STEM; SACNAS was a PAESMEM recipient in 2004 and 20 of SACNAS’ members have received PAESMEM awards.   In order to keep our nation competitive in science and engineering, such legislation as this Act is essential. As classical Clayton Christensen ‘disruptive thinking’ implies, helping the unserved and underserved—women and underrepresented minorities in STEM in this case—enables the greatest movement forward. SACNAS has over 6,000 paid members and serves a larger constituency of over 18,000—over half of whom are females—with particular emphasis on minorities underrepresented in STEM,” said Robert E. Barnhill, Ph.D, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Vice President, Science Policy & Strategic Initiatives.

“SEARAC commends Senator Hirono’s proposed STEM Opportunities Act for taking a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to strengthening and diversifying the STEM workforce through grants for evidence-based efforts, the creation of a federal inter-agency group to create policies that include a more diverse STEM workforce, and the collection of data to examine progress towards increasing STEM opportunities for underrepresented groups.  SEARAC is especially pleased that the STEM Opportunities Act collects disaggregated data for AAPI students — which will illuminate the disparities in access and participation to STEM opportunities within the AAPI community,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

“Day of Mindfulness” at Kohala Hongwanji

Mindfulness, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” In Buddhist practice, mindfulness is also a type of meditation, focused on the breath. It can be done in the familiar posture—seated, cross-legged, eyes closed—or while walking, working or eating.

A special opportunity to learn more about mindfulness will be presented on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kohala Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Kapaau. The Day of Mindfulness will be led by monastics from Plum Village, a secluded Buddhist monastery in France. Established by global spiritual leader and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village is home to the monastic Order of Interbeing.

Phap Nguyen

Phap Nguyen

Two members of the Order, Phap Nguyen and Phap Khoi, visiting Hawaii Island on family leave, will offer the local community a chance to experience mindfulness, including guided sitting and walking meditations, mindful (silent) eating, Dharma discussion, and a time for questions and answers.

Phap Khoi

Phap Khoi

“Phap Nguyen is Thich Nhat Hanh’s personal assistant,” said Michael Donenfeld, a member of the Order who lives in Hilo. “He will be able to answer a lot of questions about his health, his calligraphy, his 100+ books. And Phap Khoi is acting Abbott of Blue Cliff Monastery in New York.”

Donenfeld and other organizers emphasize that the opportunity to learn with the monastics is open to everyone, regardless of faith or meditation experience. “With this type of meditation you can learn to quiet the mind, to find inner peace and harmony, and live a happier life,” said Donenfeld. “A lot of transformation can occur, as far as releasing stress, living in the moment… When you are not worried about the future, or ruminating about the past.”

Participants are asked to bring their own lunch, and invited to join the monastics in their vegan diet for that meal, i.e. no meat or dairy products. Water will be provided. There is no charge to attend, and donations are requested. The Day of Mindfulness is a collaborative project of Kohala Hongwanji and the Peace Committee of Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.

RSVP to misterokumura@yahoo.com , or call / text  808-640-4602.

“U Drive U Text U Pay” – Big Island Police Participate in National Campaign

Hawaiʻi Island police will increase enforcement of distracted driving in the month of April as part of a national campaign called “U Drive U Text U Pay”.
U Drive U Text U PayDistracted driving is a problem of national concern. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds that the task of driving requires a driver’s full attention in focusing on the roadway and driving maneuvers.

Any distraction that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary tasks of maneuvering the vehicle and responding to critical events increases the driver’s risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. A distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road or hands off the wheel.

On July 1, 2013, the State of Hawaiʻi enacted law prohibiting the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle (with certain exceptions) and to specifically prohibit activities such as texting, instant messaging, gaming and e-mailing, which take a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road and hands off the wheel. Use of an electronic device while operating a vehicle is a $297 fine and $307 if the violation is within a school or construction zone.

26 Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Settled Involving the Diocese of Honolulu and Other Religious Orders

Clerical Expert Identifies Bishop Joseph Ferrario as Child Abuser Before Appointment as Bishop and Three More Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed Before April 24 Legal Deadline

Bishop Joseph Ferrario

Bishop Joseph Ferrario

At a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday April 13th, Kailua Attorney Mark Gallagher will:

  • Announce the filing of three lawsuits on behalf of three sexual abuse survivors before the April 24, 2016 legal deadline. The new lawsuits ask courts to force public disclosure of the identity and whereabouts of all credibly accused clerics in the Diocese of Honolulu;
  • Release the expert report of Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a canon lawyer and expert in the field of clerical child sexual abuse, identifying Bishop Joseph Ferrario as a child molester prior to his appointment as Bishop;
  • Discuss the settlements of 26 child sexual abuse lawsuits involving the Diocese of Honolulu and various religious orders; and
  • Encourage sexual abuse survivors in Hawaii to come forward and pursue legal action under a Hawaii law that expires April 24, 2016.