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Commentary – How Lawmakers Can Deal With “Annoying” Citizens

Dear Damon,

This was the year when we learned how “annoying” the public can be to government agencies, what with their constant demands for transparency, sunshine, and access to government records.

In fact, some state agencies were so annoyed that they sought help from the legislature, which responded with a bill to limit the rights of “vexatious records requesters.” That bill (HB1518) is still alive, but fortunately the latest version requires a decision from a court before stripping government watchdogs of their rights.

The funny thing is that if anyone is entitled to feel “vexed” by the state’s transparency laws (and process), it’s the public. According to Civil Beat, state and city officials have regularly tried to hide records or withhold them by charging ridiculously high fees to the person requesting them.

The Grassroot Institute frequently requests public documents, and our researchers could share a few stories about the tactics agencies use to delay or avoid a response. When we worked with Judicial Watch to gain a copy of the Native Hawaiian Roll — a public voter list — we even had to go to court to get the records released.

Ironically, there’s a shockingly simple solution that would make everyone happy: just be more transparent.

It’s perfect. Requesters would get the documents they want and state workers could be spared the stress of coming up with reasons to avoid handing them over. In fact, if agencies were more open in their operations, some of those requests wouldn’t even be necessary.

There’s even a proposal already in place at the legislature. HB165 (now headed to a Conference Committee) would modernize the existing Sunshine Law by requiring electronic posting of public agency meeting notices and minutes and making board packets available for public inspection.

It’s an important step forward for transparency in Hawaii and a common sense way to reduce the work associated with records requests. After all, there’s no need to make a request when something’s already online.

Of course, several state agencies oppose HB165 and have testified about why they would find it difficult to comply with the bill. It’s almost as if they prefer being “vexed.”

Still, we hope that the legislature will embrace greater openness in government and take advantage of the internet to make more records publicly available. They could even think of it as a public health service. Because all that stress and vexation can’t be good for our state workers.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D. – President/CEO Grassroot Institute

Big Island Police Charge Women Who Stole from Schools Booster Club

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 42-year-old Hilo woman in connection with the theft of money from a public school booster club.

JoAnn Maldonado

On Monday (April 10), JoAnn Maldonado reported to South Hilo Patrol officers that an unknown suspect entered her Waiākea Uka residence and removed, among other personal belongings, in excess of $10,000 cash which belonged to the Waiākea Intermediate School Ukulele Band Booster Club.

She was arrested on Tuesday (April 11) after the investigation indicated that Maldonado, who is the club’s Vice President, took the money for herself, staged the burglary and made the fictitious report to police about a break-in.

At 1:55 p.m. Thursday afternoon (April 13), detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section charged JoAnn Maldonado with second degree theft and false reporting to law enforcement authorities.

Maldonado is being held at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $2,500 bail, pending her initial court appearance in South Hilo District Court scheduled for Monday afternoon (April 17).

Hawaii Public Safety Committee Hearing – Update Shelter Plans in Case of Nuclear Attack from North Korea

The House Public Safety Committee (PBS) is holding a public hearing on SCR169 SD1 HD1. This resolution urges the state Department of Defense to update and modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans, as the current state of geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the United States make Hawaii a vulnerable and strategic target for a nuclear weapons.

Click to read

The resolution is proposed by PBS Vice Chair Rep. Matt LoPresti (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe), changes the way the state deals with future disasters and emergencies.

  • WHO: State Representative Matthew Lopresti
  • WHAT: The House Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 SD1HD1 urging the State Department of Defense to modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans amidst recent actions by North Korea and the Trump Administration.
  • WHEN: Thursday, April 13, 2 p.m.
  • WHERE: Room 312, House Public Safety Committee State Capitol

Hawaii Senate Passes 208 Bills on Third Reading

The Senate today passed 134 House bills on third reading that seek to address many issues including affordable housing, economic development, and protection from invasive species.  An additional 74 House bills previously passed third reading in the Senate, for a total of 208 bills, ahead of the Second Crossover deadline of April 13.

The bills passed on third reading will be transmitted to the House and many will be referred to a committee on conference where House and Senate members will meet jointly to remedy differences in House and Senate positions.  To follow the actions of conference, visit the “Reports and Lists” page of the legislature’s website capitol.hawaii.gov.

“These bills reflect the Senate’s focus on the priorities set forth in the Legislative Program which aim to support our communities, our environment, good governance and sustainability,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “The challenge will be to provide funding for all these measures and the proposed GIA in light of diminishing revenues and requirements to pay for increasing fixed costs such as pension payments.”

“The passage of these measures illustrate the continued effort of the Senate to improve the lives of the people of Hawai‘i,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 – Kaua’i, Ni’ihau). “However, as we head into conference, the onus continues to be on the legislature to find funding sources for measures,  ensure that we meet our current financial obligations while exercising fiscal responsibility.”

A few of the key measures passed today by the Senate which reflect the Senate Legislative Program:

Ola Lehulehu – People and Communities

Education

HB957 HD1 SD2 Authorizes the Department of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the Hawai‘i green infrastructure loan program for heat abatement measures at public schools. Requires the Department of Education to make payments on the loan from revenues saved by energy efficiency measures.

HB480 HD1 SD1 Makes an appropriation to the Hawai‘i community college for the Hawai‘i community college and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and the Agribusiness Development Corporation, to study agriculture and agricultural learning opportunities on the island of Hawai‘i. Requires the Hawai‘i community college to submit a report to the legislature.

Homelessness

HB527 HD1 SD2 appropriates funds to purchase, staff, and operate two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

HB1195 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Health and Department of Human Services, including the Office of Youth Services, to provide homeless outreach services and rental subsidies to reduce and prevent homelessness.

HB530 HD2 SD2 updates the Downpayment Loan Program under the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Social Services

HB615 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawai‘i’s kupuna.

HB607 HD1 SD2 requires the Executive Office on Aging to establish the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Clarifies the kupuna service and support options provided by area agencies on aging within the program. Makes establishment of the kupuna care program mandatory rather than discretionary.

HB674 HD2 SD2 requires all child care providers subject to regulation by the Department of Human Services to obtain and maintain liability insurance as a condition of licensure, temporary permission, or registration and disclose insurance-related information to certain parents or guardians. Requires the Department of Human Services to submit a report to the legislature prior to the 2018 regular session.

HB4 HD1 SD1 requires certain employers to provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave to employees to be used to care for themselves or a family member who is ill or needs medical care.

Health Care

HB672 HD2 SD2 formally establishes the Hawai‘i Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn Program within the Department of Education. Establishes a dedicated special fund and positions within the Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services to support the program.

HB552 HD1 SD2 ensures that benefits of the Affordable Care Act are preserved under state law in the case of repeal of the ACA by Congress. Preserves the individual mandate, minimum essential benefit requirements, extended dependent coverage, and prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions and gender discrimination in premiums and costs. Establishes a trust fund and procedures to reimburse insurers for unrecouped costs of providing minimum essential insurance benefits.

HB1272 HD1 SD1 specifies that coverage for telehealth under the State’s medicaid managed care and fee-for-service programs includes psychiatric services delivered via telehealth through a behavioral health care manager who is present in a primary health care provider’s office.

Food Security

HB1475 HD2 SD2 Permits farmers’ markets and food hubs on lands in an agricultural district. Requires that value-added products displayed and sold by agricultural-based commercial operations in agricultural districts contain an unspecified per cent of Hawai‘i-grown content.

Aloha Kaiāulu Ho‘oulu – Preparedness

Government Services

HB1401 HD1 SD1 enacts voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2020, and allows any election to be conducted by mail prior to the 2020 primary election, in whole or in part, as determined by the chief election officer or county clerk, as appropriate.

HB206 HD2 SD2 establishes a prepaid wireless E911 surcharge of 1.5 per cent of prepaid wireless service purchased at the point of sale. Allows sellers to deduct and retain 3 per cent of the surcharges collected to offset administrative expenses, but requires sellers to remit the balance of surcharges collected to the Enhanced 911 fund on a specified periodic basis.

Community Development

HB1327 HD1 SD1 Appropriates funds for the Manufacturing Development Program.

Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy

Environment

HB1339 HD1 SD2 restructures the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council as the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Authority to coordinate implementation of the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan and related duties.

HB904 HD1 SD1 establishes the invasive species rapid response special fund within DLNR. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures.

Pono Kaulike – Transforming Justice

HB930 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.

Hawaii Representative to Host Internet Personal Security Teach-In

Expert panel to discuss online privacy following loss of federal protections

Rep. Matt LoPresti will host a teach-in to discuss personal internet privacy on both the federal and state levels following the recent loss of government protections by the Trump Administration.

The Teach-in will be held on Sunday, April 30 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Box Jelly, 301 A Kamani Street in Honolulu.

With internet protections rules repealed, internet service providers are now allowed to track, package and sell your personal internet browsing history without your knowledge or consent.

Rep. LoPresti and a panel of internet security experts will explain attempts during the current legislative session to protect personal privacy, what steps are now being planned and, most importantly, what residents can do now to protect themselves.

Todd Nacapuy, Chief Information Officer of the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services will attend the event along with internet security experts.

Residents can bring their laptops to learn how to install a VPN (virtual private network) and ‘HTTPS everywhere’ add ons to their browsers.

The gap in privacy protections left by the federal actions require individual states to take action to protect consumers’ data. One of the most troubling aspects is that telecom companies are no longer responsible for protecting your data, even though they will be collecting it, according to Rep. LoPresti.

“The problem is multi-faceted and there are currently no government protections from companies selling your personal data to the highest bidder,” said LoPresti. “You need to know how to protect yourself until we can create state laws to make this kind of abuse illegal.”

LoPresti said it is now clear from the large amount of money donated to Congress members who voted to repeal these rules, that internet service providers have a huge invested interest in our private data including Social Security numbers, geo-locations, and browsing history.

“Even if telecom companies do not actually package and sell the browsing histories for individuals, they are compiling and packaging that data for sale as part of larger aggregates, and – thanks to Congress and President Trump signing the bill – these companies are not even incentivized to legally protect this data,” he said.

LoPresti said that everyone is vulnerable and should take action on their own to protect internet privacy.

Seating is limited. Call 808 769-6921 to RSVP for the event.

A Message From Senator Kahele – Rat Lungworm Disease

Aloha,

For this week’s legislative update, I want to focus on Senate Bill 272, Senate Draft 2, House Draft 1 (SB272 SD2 HD1), Relating to Rat Lungworm Disease. With the recent flurry of news stories covering Rat Lungworm Disease in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Civil Beat and even the Atlantic, I feel it particularly important to update you on what the legislature is doing to address the situation.

SB272 SD2 HD1 appropriates an unspecified amount of funds to the University of Hawai`i at Hilo for programs, studies, and activities related to the prevention and eradication of rat lungworm disease. We know that we have to appropriately fund these efforts to put an end to this menace.

Currently, SB272 SD2 HD1 has passed third reading in the House. The Senate has already communicated its disagreement to the HD1 version because it changes the effective date to July 31, 2150. This strategy is known as “defecting the effective date” and either kills the bill or forces it into conference since it is a forgone conclusion that neither house will pass a bill with such an unrealistic implementation date.

Hopefully, this bill will go to conference. If it does, Representative Richard Creagan and I will likely be the lead-chairs for the conference committee and we’ll be able to work with our colleagues to put out a draft both houses can support.

As we move forward, stay up-to-date on this effort by following its progress on our capitol website or our weekly updates. Mahalo for all your support!

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii House Approves Bills on Master Plan to Build a New Stadium and Other Bills

With just about a month left in the 2017 legislative session, the House passed 35 Senate bills today.

The bills passed head back to the Senate for their consideration. If the Senate does not agree with the House amendments, the bills will be negotiated in conference committees.

Key measures passed by the House today include:

Public Education

SB 683 SD2 HD1 proposes amendments to Articles VII and X of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to authorize the Legislature to establish a surcharge on residential investment property and visitor accommodations to increase funding for public education.

Aloha Stadium

SB 1200 SD2 HD1 appropriates funds to create a master plan and environmental impact statement for the construction of a new Aloha Stadium.

Red Light Photo Detector

SB 221 SD2 HD1 establishes a Photo Red Light Imaging Detector Systems Program to improve enforcement of traffic signal laws and requires the DOT to establish a Red Light Running Committee to review the program and make further recommendations.

Child Care Facilities

SB 511 SD2 HD1 requires the DHS to post reports of all child care facility inspections on its website, include all actions that involve complaints of suspected or actual violations, and appropriates funds to implement and comply with the reporting requirements for child care facilities.

Maui Hospitals

SB 944 SD1 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Budget and Finance for collective bargaining cost items to facilitate the transition of the affected Maui region hospital employees to employment with Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC.

Aquatic Life

SB 1240 SD2 HD1 requires the DLNR to submit their proposed legislation by 2019 including that a definition of “sustainable”, a policy for sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, limits on collection, and any additional resources required by the apartment. It also prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits and transfer of existing aquarium permits.

A complete list of Senate bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&rpt_type=secondCross_ammend&measuretype=SB&title=Second Crossover.

Commentary – Good Citizen or “Vexatious Requester”?

Dear Damon,

When it comes to transparency in government, both the requesters and requestees would do well to remember Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to (what we’ll diplomatically call) misunderstanding, negligence, or incompetence. To do otherwise risks the kind of policy that threatens the foundations of transparent government … as the debate over HB1518 demonstrates.

When first introduced, HB1518 put forth a very worrisome proposal: state agencies could petition the Office of Information Practices to declare someone a “vexatious requester” based on the subjective determination that the requester was a nuisance who made excessive, repetitive records requests. Having been deemed an official irritant by the state, the vexatious person would have their rights to make records requests severely limited.

The problem, of course, is that what a state employee finds annoying, an ordinary citizen can view as “just doing their job.”

And the testimony on the bill made it clear that this ambiguity about what it means to be vexing was at the heart of the controversy over the bill.

While various state agencies attested that they had been subject to serious annoyance by repetitive and “harassing” requesters, defenders of transparency attempted to put the complaints in perspective.

Brian Black of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest showed that despite claims by UH and the Department of Agriculture that they had been “inundated” with requests that made it impossible for them to keep up with their workload (prompting the need for this law), both agencies were anything but overwhelmed. Black pointed out that of the approximately 18,000 requests fielded by all state agencies over the last three fiscal years, UH only had to deal with 42 non-routine (i.e. other than a transcript) requests and the Department of Agriculture had only 220 non-routine requests.

In other words, certain agencies seem to be vexed by any request at all.

Both Civil Beat and the Grassroot Institute pointed out that the law could be used to target the most common requesters–reporters, think tanks, researchers, and others working in the public interest. Not coincidentally, these are the people most likely to be critical of government. They’re also the ones most familiar with the ways in which agencies–whether through bureaucracy or inefficiency–can stall or obstruct a response, leading to the need for multiple requests. What an agency might call “vexatious,” an experienced researcher could simply call “trying to get the government to release the right information.”

There is good news, however, and a victory to announce. Many watchdog organizations urged the legislature to amend the bill to include due process for anyone in danger of losing their rights under the “vexatious requester” label. The committee listened, and the most current version of the bill requires the agency to plead its case for vexation to a circuit court. The burden is then on the agency to establish that the requester has abused the process established by the Uniform Information Practices Act before the court can limit the requester’s rights.

All of which means that government watchdogs can safely conduct their research of waste and corruption without worrying about being labeled “vexatious.” Though it’s no guarantee that the agencies involved won’t have plenty of other names for us.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.
President/CEO
Grassroot Institute

Hawaii House Approves Bills on Medical Marijuana, Criminal Trespass, Coral Reef Preservation, Birth Control, Rat Lungworm Disease and Student Meals

With about a month left in the 2017 Legislative Session, the House today passed 64 Senate bills.

They now head back to the Senate for their consideration. The majority of the bills 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.

Key measures passed by the House today include:

Medical Marijuana

SB 174 SD2 HD2 amends the definition of debilitating medical condition to include lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis as conditions that qualify for the legal use of medical marijuana.

Criminal Trespass

SB 895 SD1 HD 2 establishes the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code. It also amends the offenses of criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property.

Coral Reefs Preservation

SB 1150 SD2 HD3 appropriates funds and requires the University of Hawaii to conduct a study on the effects of sunscreen on Hawaii’s coral reefs and report to the Legislature.

Birth Control

SB 513 SD1 HD2 authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptive supplies to patients regardless of a previous prescription, subject to specified education and procedural requirements.

Rat Lungworm Disease

SB 272 SD2 HD1 appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii at Hilo for programs, studies, and activities related to the prevention and eradication of rat lungworm disease.

Student Meals

SB 423 SD1 HD1 prohibits public schools from denying a student a meal solely for the failure to pay.

A complete list of Senate bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&rpt_type=secondCross_ammend&measuretype=SB&title=Second Crossover.

University of Hawaii Volleyball Coach Dave Shoji to be Honored at the Capitol

In recognition of his years of dedication and devotion to the State of Hawai‘i and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Wahine Volleyball program, the Senate and House will celebrate “Dave Shoji Day” at the State Capitol on Thursday, April 13.

@DaveShoji on Twitter

“It is an honor to recognize Coach Shoji in the Senate,” said Sen. Kaiali`i Kahele, Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education and a former UH men’s volleyball player.

“His legacy and remarkable career is undeniable. As a member of the UH Menʻs Volleyball team from 1994-1997, I will always remember how kind he treated me as well as the advice and mentorship he gave me as a student athlete. I am honored to know him and wish him the very best in retirement. My appreciation for Coach Shoji is also extended to his wife Mary and children Cobey, Kawika and Erik for sharing Coach Dave with all of Hawaiʻi.”

“Coach Dave Shoji not only made Hawai‘i proud of the outstanding accomplishments of the University of Hawai‘i Wahine Volleyball team, he taught his players valuable life lessons in leadership, camaraderie and honor,” said Rep. Angus McKelvey, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee. “He brought the UH into the national spotlight as a program to be reckoned with, and gave us all tremendous pride in the talent of the young athletes he mentored.”

The floor presentation recognitions will be held at the beginning of the Senate and House regular sessions.

  • WHO: Members of State Senate and House, Retired UH Wahine Volleyball Coach Dave Shoji
  • WHAT: Floor presentations for Dave Shoji
  • WHEN: Thursday, April 13, 2017, 11:30 a.m.  Senate Session, 12 noon House Session
  • WHERE: Senate and House chambers, Hawai‘i State Capitol

TODAY – Meeting Regarding Commercial Air Tour Noise Issues in East Hawaii

A meeting regarding commercial air tour noise issues in East Hawaii is being held today, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 1:00 – 3:30 pm at the Hilo Airport Conference Room 216 (above Blue Hawaiian offices, main terminal).

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Park Service (NPS) work together to address noise associated with air tours operations over national parks, including Haleakala National Park and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Recently, concerns have been raised about noise from helicopter operations in Hawai’i outside of park boundaries, particularly on the Big Island. FAA and NPS are visiting Hawai’i to better identify specific concerns with helicopter operations within and outside of national parks.

These meetings are an informal opportunity to share information and perspectives on helicopter operations, including safety, economic and noise impacts. Please note that these are not public hearings and are not associated with previous planning exercises for air tour management plans at national parks.

Following a welcome and introductions by FAA & NPS and comments from representatives of the Hawaii congressional delegation, state and local governments, other participants will be invited to share their concerns and views with the federal agencies.

We ask that all participants afford one another respect and the opportunity to be heard without interruption or debate. In order to make sure that each interested attendee has an opportunity to be heard, we may need to establish a designated time allotment that will be determined based on the number of participants in attendance.

While the agencies may have follow up questions for stakeholders regarding their specific comments or concerns, the main purpose of the meetings is to allow the agencies to listen to the views of different stakeholders.

Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee Approves State Budget Amendment

The Senate committee on Ways and Means today approved an amended state budget which proposes a financially prudent six-year plan to provide funding for core services and priority issues of the community while taking into account declining state revenues, rising fixed costs, and the uncertainty of the federal funding climate.

HB100 HD1 SD1 proposes reducing the Governor’s budget request by $114 million in general funds over the biennium, which includes fiscal years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.  However, the WAM committee was able to provide funding for recurring program needs and essential social services along with appropriating funding for addressing infrastructure and facilities needs in critical areas.  WAM members were able to do this by reviewing the details of every budget request as well as each departments’ existing base budget to consider all possible ways to reduce costs without jeopardizing services or core functions of the State.

“With the downgraded report from the Council of Revenues in March, it is daunting to be looking at a deficit of some $31 million for this fiscal year and some $220 million over the next three fiscal years,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 – Kaua’i, Ni’ihau). “While there are programs and areas that we would like to have funded but are unable to because of fiscal constraints, the Senate budget is at least able to address the basic needs of our most vulnerable citizens.”

“What we’re presenting is a balanced approach to ensure funding for priority community needs while appropriating funds for increasing costs in retirement benefits and other fixed costs. This is the result of digging deep into the base budgets of each state department and thoroughly examining how to make cuts without impacting the basic, essential needs of our community: keeping the lights on in our schools, provide housing, protecting our natural resources, and ensuring health care services are available to keiki and kupuna,” said Senate WAM Chair, Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 – Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘‘Āhuimanu).

Many of the significant appropriations in education, environment, homelessness, and health care reflect the Senate’s commitment to the Legislative Program set forth at the start of the 2017 session.  The Legislative Program are the priority issues which embrace Hawaiian values and aim to improve the quality of life for the residents of Hawai‘i.

In the area of education, the Senate draft of the executive budget adjusts the Department of Education’s appropriation by adding $52.1 million in general funds in FY2017-18 and $57.2 million in general funds in FY 2018-19.  Although $12 million less than the Administration’s request, $2.8 million in general funds and $2.8 million in federal funds for each fiscal year will continue and expand school-based health services in Hawai‘i’s public schools. $1 million in general funds was approved for each fiscal year for the Early College High School program to support the success of the initiative and encourage more opportunities for Hawai‘i’s public high school students to earn college credits before graduating high school.

At the University of Hawai‘i, $3 million in general funds was appropriated for the Cancer Center clinical trials and operational support.  $1.8 million in general funds was allocated for the Hawai‘i Promise Program that allows more students to afford community college.

In terms of the homeless effort, $3 million in general funds was appropriated for each fiscal year for the Housing First Program, $2.1 million in general funds in each fiscal year for operation of State Family and Elderly Housing Facility. The committee also provided $500,000 for each fiscal year in general funds that will allow for the continuation of outreach and interim case management for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges.

In the area of environment, $750,000 in general funds for each fiscal year was allocated for Rapid ‘Ō‘hia Death Response, $400,000 in general funds for each fiscal year for Fire Protection Programs, and $250,000 in general funds for each fiscal year for protection of watershed forests.

To ensure Hawai‘i’s seniors are able to continue leading healthy, independent, meaningful and dignified lives, $3.9 million in general funds for each fiscal year was allocated for Kupuna Care.  $600,000 for fiscal year 2017-18 in general funds was provided to support family caregivers and $1.7 million in general funds for each fiscal year is appropriated for the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

HB100 HD1 SD1 also includes funding for capital improvement projects (CIP) which reflects the Senate Legislative priorities and supports many of the initiatives the Administration has been pledging such as doubling food production, addressing jail overcrowding, attending to capacity issues and new schools for growing communities, and addressing affordable housing, particularly for seniors. $35 million was allocated to address the backlog of repairs and new units for senior housing. Currently, there are over 4,100 seniors on the waitlist for senior housing.

OPERATING FUNDING HIGHLIGHTS

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

  • Add (2) positions and $226,134 in FY18 and (3) positions and $200,000 in FY19 in general funds for the Agricultural Food Safety Certification Program
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for pesticide regulation expenses and studies
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $79,236 in FY18 and $158,472 in FY19 in general funds for pesticides compliance

DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES

  • Add $2,185,567 in FY18 and $2,210,913 in FY19 in general funds for New Payroll System and Time and Attendance System
  • Add $937,024 in FY18 and $922,326 in FY19 in general funds for integration of Human Resources System with Payroll and Time and Attendance System
  • Add $3,175,000 in general funds in each FY for Carrier Circuit and Collocation Costs for the Office of Enterprise Technology Services
  • Change means of financing for (5) permanent positions and $505,585 from trust funds to general funds in each FY for Campaign Spending Commission

DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

  • Add $38,000 in general funds in each FY for Criminal Justice Division Rent, Family Law Division Rent, Tax and Charities Division Rent
  • Add $110,000 in general funds in each FY for Criminal Justice Information Systems Hawai‘i software licenses/renewals for the State Criminal Justice Information and ID Program
  • Add (1) position and $50,000 in general funds in each FY for Police Review Board

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

  • Add (1) permanent position and $25,386 in FY18 and $50,772 in FY19 in general funds for compliance with decisions and orders of Land Use Commission
  • Add (1) temporary position and $27,618 in FY18 and $55,236 in FY19 in general funds for Special Action Team on Affordable Rental Housing
  • Add (1) permanent positon and $29,868 in FY18 and $59,736 in FY19 in general funds for Transit-Oriented Development Projects and Interagency Transit-Oriented Development Council/Support
  • Add (0.5) temporary position and $23,750 in FY18 and $47,500 in FY19 in special funds for Chief Operating Officer/Industry Specialist for Hi Technology Development Corporation
  • Add (0.5) temporary position and $16,250 in FY18 and $32,500 in FY19 in special funds for Special Projects Coordinator for Hi Technology Development Corporation

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND FINANCE

  • Add $30,637,298 in general funds in FY18 for severance pay and social security and Medicare payments for employees to be separated from state employment due to the upcoming transfer of the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation’s (HHSC) Maui Region to Kaiser Permanente management
  • Add $4,493,450 in general funds in each FY for Centralized Vacation Payout for various departments
  • Add $34,625,428 in FY18 and $70,673,178 in FY19 in general funds for additional retirement benefit payments funding for the State to reflect phase-in of employer contribution rate increases.
  • Add (1) permanent position and $2,018,171 in FY18 and $107,552 in FY19 in other funds for Hawai‘i Domestic Relations Orders Implementation for the Employee Retirement System

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

  • Add (1) staff attorney and $68,145 in FY18 and $130,180 in FY19 in special funds for unfair and deceptive trade practices enforcement for Office of Consumer Protection
  • Add $200,000 in special funds in FY18 for consultant services and training
  • Add $303,949 in special funds in FY18 for other current expenditures for Public Utilities Commission equipment, renovation, and moving costs

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • Add $90,000 in general funds in each FY for State Active Duty continuing operations
  • Add $768,000 in FY18 and $464,000 in FY19 in general funds for tree trimming and removal at Hawai‘i State Veterans Cemetery
  • Add (1) permanent position and $50,772 in each FY for Veteran Services Counselor

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Early College High School Initiative
  • Add $2,800,000 in general funds and $2,800,000 in federal funds in each FY for Hawai‘i Keiki Program
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $91,909 in FY18 and $183,818 in FY19 in general funds for School Based Behavioral Health Services for Maui and Hawai‘i Island
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $183,818 in general funds in each FY for Hawai‘i Teachers Standards Board
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $779,310 in FY18 and $1,434,885 in FY19 in general funds for Civil Rights Compliance Capacity
  • Add $1,100,000 in general funds in each FY for Student Information System Enhancement and Expansion
  • Add $670,000 in general funds in each FY for Alternative Teacher Route Programs
  • Add $2,500,000 in FY18 and $4,000,000 in FY19 in general funds for School Service and Maintenance
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for Utilities
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $1,755,525 in FY18 and $3,711,835 in FY19 in general funds for Student Transportation Services Statewide

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

  • Add (6.5) permanent positions and $50,799 in FY18 and $203,196 in FY19 in general funds for Nanakuli Public Library
  • Add (1) permanent position and $23,466 in FY18 and $46,932 in FY19 in general funds for Office of the State Librarian
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for Repair and Maintenance Backlog

CHARTER SCHOOLS

  • Add $9,651,776 in FY18 and $9,944,866 in FY19 in general funds for Per Pupil Adjustment

EARLY LEARNING

  • Add (10) permanent positions and $136,688 in FY18 and $556,842 in FY19 in general funds for Pre-Kindergarten and Induction Program
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $53,733 in FY18 and $82,317 in FY19 in general funds for Executive Office on Early Learning

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

  • Add $117,167 in general funds in each FY for membership fees for national and regional chief executive organizations

DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS

  • Add $6,865,887 in general funds in each FY for fringe benefits for general funded positions

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

  • Add $2,100,000 in general funds in each FY for operation of State Family and Elderly Housing Facility
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Housing First Program
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for homeless outreach services
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Rapid Re-Housing Program
  • Add $300,000 in general funds and $100,000 in federal funds in each FY for services for child victims of sex trafficking
  • Add $4,558,858 in general funds and $2,454,770 in federal funds in FY18 and $4,634,292 in general funds and $2,495,388 in federal funds in FY19 for settlement for foster care board rates
  • Add $2,500,000 in general funds and $7,056,720 in federal funds in FY18 and $5,000,000 in general funds and $14,113,440 in federal funds in FY19 for adult dental benefits
  • Add $1,886,205 in general funds and $2,309,090 in federal funds in FY18 and $4,052,472 in general funds and $4,961,033 in federal funds in FY19 for nursing facility inflation factor
  • Add $2,947,556 in general funds and $2,691,040 in federal funds in each FY for Medicare Part B Premiums
  • Transfer $500,000 in general funds in each FY from Office of Youth Services to School Community Services for Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health (REACH) Program.

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

  • Add $2,396,000 in general funds in FY18 for worker’s compensation claims

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • Add (2) temporary positions and $144,054 in FY18 and $208,143 in FY19 in special funds for Medical Marijuana Registry Program
  • Add (5) temporary positions and $890,000 in non-recurring special funds in each FY for medical marijuana dispensary licensing program
  • Add $6,507,305 in general funds in each FY for base budget funding of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Administration, Primary Prevention, and Chronic Disease Management per funding in Act 118, SLH 2015.
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in each FY for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individuals and families with severe substance abuse disorders
  • Add $300,000 in general funds in each FY for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless individuals with severe substance use disorders
  • Add $1,340,000 in FY18 and $1,613,000 in FY19 in general funds for purchase of service contracts for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Add $2,754,980 in FY18 and $7,118,914 in FY19 in general funds for rebased provider payment rates for Development Disabilities
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in each FY for maintenance of effort for Healthy Start
  • Add $799,833 in FY18 and $742,034 in FY19 in general funds for statewide emergency ambulance services
  • Add (1) permanent position and $60,629 in FY18 and $121,259 in FY19 in general funds for investigation of suspected health clusters from environmental sources
  • Add $3,976,435 in general funds in each FY for Kupuna Care
  • Add $1,700,000 in general funds in each FY for Aging and DisabilityResourceCenter
  • Add $600,000 in general funds in FY18 for Kupuna Caregiver Program
  • Add $150,000 in general funds in each FY for purchase of services contract for statewide telehealth pilot project
  • Transfer $942,000 in general funds in each FY as subsidy to Wahiawa General Hospital to Subsidies

HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION

  • Add $300,000 in general funds in each FY for operations subsidy for KahukuHospital
  • Add $36,486,000 in FY18 and $34,686,000 in FY19 in general funds for operations subsidy for the regions
  • Add $5,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation – Regions or Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospital LLC.
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in each FY for operations subsidy for Maui Health System

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

  • Add (1) permanent position and $19,746 in FY18 and $39,492 in FY19 in general funds for Legal Support
  • Add (1) permanent position and $515,386 in FY18 and $2,810,772 in FY19 in general funds for Disability Compensation Division Modernization

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

  • Add $14,047,588 in general funds in each FY for various programs’ base budgets per funding in Act 84, SLH 2015.
  • Add $2,228,250 in special funds in FY18 for re-appropriation of lapsed Land Conservation funds
  • Add $1,700,000 in special funds in each FY for increased Conveyance Tax revenues for Land Conservation Fund
  • Add $4,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for Rapid ‘Ō‘hia Death Response
  • Add $400,000 in general funds in each FY for Fire Protection Program
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for protection of watershed forests
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $1,065,147 in FY18 and $1,097,047 in FY19 in general funds for personnel and operating funds for management and restoration of Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Add $165,000 in general funds in each FY for Malpractice Insurance. Add $3,334,801 in general funds in FY18 for Housing Inmates in Non-State Facility during Renovation of Halawa Correctional Facility
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for Lease Rent for Department of Public Safety Administration Building and Moving Costs

DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

  • Add $59,000 in general funds in each FY for Medical Marijuana Tax Collections

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • Add (7) permanent positions and $157,939 in FY18 and $303,878 in FY19 for Airside Operations Section Security Unit Pass and Identification Office
  • Reduce $123,787 in FY19 for contracted employees in the Pass and Identification Office.  Similar adjustments were made for other airports’ Pass and ID Offices.
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $162,752 in FY18 and $293,004 in FY19 for Federal Inspection Station
  • Add (10) permanent positions and $679,152 in special funds in FY18 and $1,243,998 in special funds and $216,000 in federal funds in FY19 for Intelligent Technology Systems Branch
  • Reduce (32) positions and $1,461,444 in special funds in both FY for long-standing and lower priority vacancies on O‘ahu in various Highways programs.
  • Add $3,514,950 in FY18 and $1,242,000 in FY19 in special funds for information technology projects.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I

  • Add (4) permanent positions and $3,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Cancer Center clinical trials and operational support
  • Add $350,000 in general funds in each FY for Concussion Awareness
  • Add $1,829,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawai‘i Promise Program
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $820,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX program for the Community Colleges

Add (3) permanent positions and $470,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX program for UH System-wide Support

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (CIP) HIGHLIGHTS

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

  • $20,000,000 to purchase over 500 acres of agricultural land to lease to local farmers, decreasing dependence on imported agriculture products
  • $25,000,000 in upgrades and improvements to critical water infrastructure systems and agricultural facilities, statewide

DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES

  • $20,000,000 for the maintenance of existing statewide facilities for the Public Works Division

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM

  • $25,000,000 for an infusion to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund, and $25,000,000 for an infusion to the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to address infrastructure, construction and development needs of affordable housing across the State

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • $16,000,00 for upgrades and improvements to National Guard readiness centers and facilities, statewide
  • $6,000,00 to retrofit public buildings with hurricane protective measures

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • $168,000,000 for growing student populations on both O‘ahu and Maui for new school and classroom projects
  • $437,965,000 in total to the Department of Education; 44% of the entire general obligation bond amount awarded statewide

DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOMELANDS

  • $15,000,000 for various improvements to existing infrastructure on Hawaiian home lands, statewide
  • $30,000,000 for NAHASDA development projects statewide

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

  • $51,500,000 to Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority for the renovations of their public housing facilities, statewide
  • $35,000,000 for a senior housing project on O‘ahu that will provide an additional 200 to 250 units for senior living public housing facilities to accommodate an underserved elderly population

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • $20,000,000 for improvements and renovations to existing facilities within the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation
  • $10,000,000 for an infusion to the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund.
  • $15,000,000 for an infusion to the Wastewater Treatment Revolving Fund

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

  • $9,000,000 for Kaanapali Beach restoration and berm enhancement
  • $15,000,000 for watershed protection, management and administration
  • $10,000,000 for State parks infrastructure and facility improvements, statewide

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • $60,000,000 to end the search and debate of a prospective jail site by solidifying a Halawa location and allowing the Department of Public Safety to begin the process to design a new jail.
  • $6,000,000 to begin the process of adding beds to the current Halawa prison site to bring home prisoners from the mainland

SUBSIDIES

  • $13,000,000 for the design and construction of pedestrian walkways for the City and County of Honolulu
  • $2,500,000 for site improvements to the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex on Kauai County.

DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

  • $500,000 for infrastructure and equipment for the safety and security of Department of Taxation facilities, statewide

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • $150,000,000 for ticket lobby improvements to the Honolulu International Airport, O‘ahu.
  • $50,000,000 for the construction of a new federal inspection station at the Kona International Airport at Keahole, Hawai‘i
  • $75,000,000 for an extension of the Lahaina Bypass Road on Maui
  • $22,000,000 for various programs and projects to facilitate highway planning, statewide
  • $47,000,000 for shoreline protection improvements of existing state highway facilities

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I

  • $6,000,000 for site improvements and repairs to Hawai‘i Hall on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus
  • $6,000,000 for site and infrastructure improvements to research stations, statewide

Hemp Day at the Capitol

State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 – Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, will lead a day focused on the production and uses of industrial hemp at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 29th.

Waimanalo, Oahu Hemp field blessing on April 15, 2015

“Hemp is an incredible crop that has big potential in our islands”, said Senator Gabbard. “This is an opportunity to bring some attention to what kind of exciting opportunities are just around the corner as our state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is rolled out. I’m confident hemp will be a niche crop for our farmers that will make good use of the Hawai‘i brand.”

The day begins with a floor presentation in the State Senate Chambers at 11:30 a.m. as Senator Gabbard honors Dr. Harry Ako, Principal Investigator of the Industrial Hemp Research Project, and his team for their efforts in proving industrial hemp can grow well in Hawai‘i. In December 2015, the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources released a report on a successful, two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research project that was conducted in Waimanalo in compliance with Act 56 (2014): https://www.hawaii.edu/offices/eaur/govrel/reports/2016/act56-slh2014_2016_industrial-hemp_report.pdf

The Senate floor presentation will be followed by a joint Informational Briefing at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 224 to provide an update about industrial hemp research, the current status of the state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, and the future of hemp development in Hawai‘i.

The informational briefing will include presentations by the following:

The hearing notice can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_AEN-AGR_03-29-17_INFO_.HTM

For questions about the informational briefing, contact the office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 586-6830.

Hawaii Death With Dignity Bill Killed

The House Health Committee today deferred Senate Bill 1129, the medical aid in dying bill, effectively killing the measure for this session.

In announcing the decision, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Chair of the House Health Committee, said this was not the time to move the “aid in dying” bill forward.

“Our community is divided on this issue. Our job is to consider a full range of policy options and consequences, and base our decisions on data and evidence,” Belatti said. “We must balance the right to choose with protecting those who are most vulnerable. There must be a broader discussion about safeguards and oversight to this ‘aid in dying’ proposal.”

SB 1129 SD2 would establish a medical aid in dying act that establishes a regulatory process under which an adult resident of the State with a medically confirmed terminal disease may obtain a prescription for medication to be self-administered to end the patient’s life.

Dozens of community members on both sides of the issues testified before the committee.

Several committee members said there were problems with the details in Senate Bill 1129 and the issues needs more discussion and input from healthcare providers and government regulators.

Currently, six states have legalized aid in dying — Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, Montana, and Vermont.

“Dear Republican Leaders” – Hawaii Representative Explains Why She Quits the Republican Party

Dear Republican Leaders,

Since becoming a member eight years ago, I’ve suggested our local party should reflect our uniquely diverse community. And I believed that if I was committed to this cause, I could help attract more people to the party.

But, a little more than a year ago, a fellow caucus member told me “We are the party of middle America.  I don’t care if the demographics don’t fit.” He declared that Republicans are the national majority and that it is our responsibility to represent “middle American” values here in Hawaii.

It was in that moment that I was finally able to identify the colonial mindset I’d unknowingly run up against for years. No ethnic group in our state is a majority, and more than 70 percent of the population isn’t white. But our Hawaii Republican Party leaders wanted us to adopt “middle American” values instead of holding on to Republican principles that also reflect our own local values, such as responsible stewardship over things like wealth and power.

This election, I saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women. So, when I listened as our now top office holder refused to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, speaking out didn’t seem like a choice.

A little over a year ago, I was in Washington, D.C. with a group of Republican friends talking about my concerns with Donald Trump’s candidacy and, more specifically, his suggestion about a Muslim registry. They told me it was just rhetoric. I reminded them that a registry was only one step away from internment camps. Less than an hour later, we saw the breaking news headline, “Trump says he may have supported Japanese Internment.” As a woman and the only Japanese-American in our (then) seven-member caucus, I had something valuable to add about why our party continues to lose.

My Japanese-American grandparents owned a small grocery store in Hawaii during World War II with a small house attached to the back where my father’s family all lived in cramped space. When word spread through the community that the government was placing Japanese-Americans in internment camps, my grandpa destroyed everything written in Japanese, smashed my family’s beautiful Japanese dolls, and buried everything else that would make them look “less American” in the backyard.

Despite his devastatingly heroic actions, they took my grandpa anyway. He was fortunate enough to be detained for only a few hours, however, thousands of families across the United States weren’t so lucky.

Every immigrant group has a story of hardship and suffering. Every woman has a story about sexism or inequality. Most people’s stories are worse than mine. I’ve had a lot of opportunities in life, and I truly believed that the Republican Party was a group that believed in creating more opportunities for everyone.

President Trump’s meteoric success and his unabashed prejudices should have forced our party to address the elements of racism and sexism within the base. But for years, the party allowed it, fearing Democrats, primaries and third-party challenges. With electoral successes across the nation, concerns about disenfranchising minority voters are being buried. The party has ended conversations about how Republican rhetoric and actions threaten any ability to win amongst an increasingly diverse electorate.

So, I continued to speak out. The day after the inauguration, I spoke at the Hawaii’s Women’s March. I said we should all agree that the campaign remarks made by our president about women and minorities were unacceptable, and that it was our responsibility, regardless of who we voted for, to show our kids that everyone should be treated with respect.

A call for kindness and respect should have been a non-partisan message, but it was controversial within the party. Within 24 hours, calls for my resignation or censure abounded. My caucus told me that they would remove me from leadership unless I promised to not criticize the president for the remainder of his term. That was a promise I simply could not make.

Since I became a Republican eight years ago, I’ve served the party at every level from envelope stuffer to party chair. And, I’ve served our Republican legislators as a file clerk, an office manager, a research director and eventually, the Minority Leader. I dedicated myself to making the Republican party a viable, relevant party in Hawaii. But, what I’ve experienced over the last eight years is that the GOP doesn’t want to change.

The leaders that remain in the party either condone the problems I’ve identified or they agree with me but are unwilling to stand up and fight. For those reasons, I am resigning from the Republican party.

If I chose to stay, I would simply become an obstructionist in a political party that doesn’t want to hear my voice or my message. I don’t believe that I can make a difference in the Hawaii Republican Party, but I still believe there’s hope for other Republicans in other states.

I want to see all Americans fight for diversity of opinion, moderation, minorities, women, and ultimately, a better party system. Without confronting this problem, Republicans across the country will inevitably discover what it’s like to be a super minority, or a Republican in Hawaii. No matter how many walls are built and travel bans enacted, America’s demographics will keep changing, and the Republican party can’t keep marginalizing voices like mine and the people that care about what I’m saying.

Thank you,

Representative Beth Fukumoto

Hawaii House Budget Includes $360.8 Million for Big Island Capital Improvement Projects

Big Island legislators secured more than $360.8 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the recently passed House proposed budget.

The two largest single amounts were in transportation: $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension and $64.8 million for projects at the Kona International Airport.

The budget includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects throughout the state.

The budget bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

These numbers do not reflect numerous statewide projects, which includes work in all counties.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

GENERAL

  • $4.3 million for a new maintenance shop for the Hawaii Army National Guard at Keaukaha Mililtary Reservation
  • $5.5 million for Hawaiian Home Lands to build a Kau water system
  • $4.5 million to renovate the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $2 million to create a telehealth unit at Hilo Medical Center
  • $850,000 to build a West Hawaii Vet’s Center
  • $500,000 for Hawaiian Home Land for development of Kaumana subdivision
  • $300,000 for repairs to state-owned roads to benefit agricultural producers
  • $300,000 to build a throw away ditch and drainage area at Puupulehu Reservoir
  • $250,000 to build a swimming are at Pohoiki

SCHOOLS

  • $7.2 million for Hilo High School to upgrade the track and field and renovate building B
  • $6 million for Waikeawaena Elementary School to renovate and expand the cafeteria
  • $3.6 million for Kealakehe High School to build a synthetic track and plan a performing arts center
  • $3.4 million for Kohala Middle School to build a play court/assembly area
  • $1.2 million for Naalehu Elementary School for covered walkways $950,000 for Hilo Intermediate School to renovate the locker rooms
  • $700,000 for Hawaii Community College, Palamanui campus for improvements for the trade and apprenticeship program and to convert a classroom to a physics lab
  • $500,000 for Pahoa Elementary School to plan a new cafeteria and administration building
  • $450,000 for Hawaii Community College, Hilo campus to reroof the automotive building
  • $400,000 for Paauilo Elementary School to renovate a the home economics classroom to meet state health standards for a certified kitchen
  • $186,000 for Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino for campus-wide repair work

TRANSPORTATION

  • $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $64.8 million for the Kona International Airport for a new agriculture inspection station, an aircraft rescue and fire fighting center, install an emergency generator, build a federal inspection station, replace the perimeter fence, renovate the restrooms
  • $55.3 million for the Hawaii Belt Road for improvements to drainage, rockfall protection, repairs to the Umauma Stream Bridge, replace an arch-deck bridge near Papaikou, and replace Wailuku Bridge
  • $40 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements and widening
  • $16.6 million for Hilo International Airport to reconstruct the aircraft aprons, improve the Arcade building, build noise attenuation dwelling at the Keaukaha subdivision, improve the ticket lobby, holdrooms, and restrooms
  • $14.3 million for Mamalahoa Highway drainage improvements, replacing Hilea Stream Bridge, replacing Ninole Bridge and guardrail and shoulder work
  • $13 million to replace the one-lane 4 mile Creek Bridge for commuters between Hilo and Puna
  • $8 million for Kawaihae Road to replace Waiaka Stream Bridge and realign the approaches
  • $3 million for Akoni Pule Highway for widening and guardrails on the Pololu Valley side of Aamakao Gulch
  • $2 million to build acceleration lanes on Highway 11
  • $2 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways
  • $1.1 million for Kawaihae North and South Small Boat Harbor for paving and drainage improvements
  • $1 million for Upolu Airport to install a security system and replace a storage shed
  • $600,000 for traffic operational improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Contact Information:

Representative Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) (808) 586-9605 repcreagan@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) (808) 586-8510 repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) (808) 586-6530 repsanbuenaventura@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) (808) 586-8400 replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) (808) 586-6680 repnakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano) (808) 586-6120 reponishi@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Chris Todd (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) (808) 586-8480 reptodd@capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii Senate Forwards 384 Bills Pass on Third Reading

Hawai‘i State Senators today approved 318 bills on third reading. Sixty-six bills were approved earlier on third reading for a total of 384 measures that have been transmitted to the House for consideration.

The bills align with the 2017 Senate Legislative Program the Senate Majority recognized as priorities ahead of session convening.

“Before the start of the legislative session, Senators worked collaboratively to set out and establish the top concerns for each of our districts and for the State.  The Legislative Program provides a directive of how to move forward to achieve our initiatives that will improve the quality of life in our communities and our state,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English. “Many of these principals are embedded in the bills being transmitted to the House.”

The following are a few of the measures to pass on third reading:

Ola Lehulehu (People and Communities)

Affordability

S.B. No. 964, S.D. 1 Establishes that emergency shelters may provide partitioned space for homeless persons or families based upon guidelines determined by the department of human services. Extends the effective date for Act 234, Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2016, by one year.

S.B. No. 1244, S.D. 2  Authorizes qualified nonprofit housing trusts to repurchase affordable units developed with government assistance when a government entity waives its first right of refusal to repurchase the unit. Authorizes counties to waive a first right of refusal to repurchase a privately-developed affordable housing unit built pursuant to a unilateral agreement or similar instrument.

S.B. No. 912, S.D. 2 Expands the Down Payment Loan Program to provide greater assistance for eligible borrowers to become first-time homebuyers.

S.B. No. 2, S.D. 2 Requires the auditor to conduct a study to assess the impact of using medicaid funds to provide coverage for the treatment for homelessness. Requires the auditor to submit a report to the legislature.

Education

S.B. No. 683, S.D. 2 Proposes amendments to the Constitution of the State of Hawai‘i to advance the State’s goal of providing a public education for the children of Hawai‘i by authorizing the legislature to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on residential investment property and visitor accommodations.

S.B. No. 686, S.D. 2  Establishes an education surcharge on residential investment properties and visitor accommodations for the purpose of funding public education.

S.B. No. 500, S.D. 2 Establishes the R.E.A.C.H (resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health) program in the Department of Education’s community engagement office to provide a standardized framework and funding for after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools. Requires the community engagement office to report to the legislature. Establishes that the R.E.A.C.H. program will be run by a program specialist to be appointed by the governor. Establishes a special fund to receive fees and other moneys to supplement the costs of administering and operating the R.E.A.C.H. program.

Social Services

S.B. No. 534, S.D. 2  Requires the executive office on aging to establish the kupuna caregivers program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Makes establishment of the kupuna care program mandatory rather than discretionary. Clarifies the kupuna service and support options provided by area agencies on aging within the kupuna care program. Appropriates funds for establishing and implementing the kupuna caregivers program.

Health Care

S.B. No. 1129, S.D. 2 Establishes a medical aid in dying act that establishes a regulatory process under which an adult resident of the State with a medically confirmed terminal disease may obtain a prescription for medication to be self-administered to end the patient’s life.

S.B. No. 384, S.D. 2 Authorizes and establishes procedures and criteria for prescriptive authority for clinical psychologists who meet specific education, training, and registration requirements, including requiring prescribing psychologists to adhere to all applicable statutory regulations. Requires the board of psychology to report to the legislature prior to the regular session of 2021.

S.B. No. 347, S.D. 1 Appropriates funds for establishing, staffing, and operating two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

S.B. No. 1312, S.D. 2  Establishes the board of midwifery to regulate the practice of midwifery by certified midwives and certified professional midwives. Requires licensing of certified midwives and certified professional midwives to commence beginning on July 1, 2020. Requires the department of commerce and consumer affairs to convene a working group of interested stakeholders and submit a report to the legislature.

S.B. No. 380 Permits licensed dental hygienists in the State to operate under general, rather than direct, supervision of a licensed dentist.

S.B. No. 510, S.D. 2  Formally establishes the Hawai‘i keiki healthy and ready to learn program within the Department of Education. Establishes a special fund and appropriates moneys to expand and sustain the program and for an evidence-based vision screening tool. Appropriates funds to establish school health service coordinator positions in DOH and DHS.

Food Security

S.B. No. 624, SD2  Requires the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the office of the Governor, to develop a strategic plan to double local food production and exports by 2020. Requires the Department of Agriculture to submit the strategic plan to the legislature prior to the regular session of 2018 in order to codify the strategic plan and benchmarks. Makes an appropriation.

Aloha Kaiāulu Ho‘oulu (Preparedness)

Community Development

S.B. No. 640, S.D. 2  Establishes a model project at a location selected by DLNR to designate areas for planting and growing coconut trees for Hawaiian traditional and customary gathering practices. Appropriates funds for the model project.

S.B. No. 1200, S.D. 2  Appropriates funds to the department of accounting and general services to create a master plan and environmental impact statement for the construction of a new Aloha Stadium.

S.B. No. 1148, S.D. 2  Appropriates moneys for the executive director of the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority to conduct a feasibility study regarding: (1) the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority assuming the role of planning, developing, and redeveloping all state-owned lands, except lands administered by the Hawai‘i public housing authority, within one mile of the Honolulu rail transit system; and (2) creating a new community development district along the Honolulu rail corridor. Requires report to legislature.

S.B. No. 1183, S.D. 2  Repeals the requirement that 10% of revenues from the county surcharge on state tax be withheld to reimburse the State for administrative costs. Sunsets if an ordinance that allows the capital costs of a rapid transportation system to be paid from county funds is not enacted before December 31, 2017. Requires the mayor of the county to submit certain plans with respect to the rapid transportation system.

S.B. No. 767, S.D. 2  Establishes the high-growth grant program and special fund to provide grants to qualified businesses for certain business development activities. Makes appropriations.

Government Services

S.B. No. 334, S.D. 2 Enacts voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2020. Establishes a limited number of voter service centers that would remain open from the tenth business day preceding an election through the day of the election to receive personal delivery of mail-in ballots, accommodate voters with special needs, offer same day registration and voting, and provide other election services. Allows for additional places of deposit for personal delivery of mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

S.B. No. 655, S.D. 2  Allows the news media, under certain conditions, to access areas that are closed pursuant to emergency management powers of the governor and mayor. Limits the liability of the State and counties. Specifies that the State, counties, and emergency management authority are not responsible for providing logistical support to media accessing emergency areas.

S.B. No. 511, S.D. 2  Requires DHS to publish reports of child care facility inspections beginning on 1/1/2018, and complaint investigations on DHS’s website. Creates an oversight committee for implementation of and compliance with publication requirements. Requires annual reporting to the Legislature. Makes an appropriation.

S.B. No. 21, S.D. 2  Increases monetary penalties for violating the laws relating to child care facilities. Authorizes the Department of Human Services to refer to the attorney general or respective county prosecutor any intentional, knowing, or reckless violation of the laws relating to child care facilities or certain criminal offenses.

S.B. No. 522, S.D. 1 Strengthens the safe sleep policy for child care facilities for children less than one year of age, including requiring placement of children on their backs for sleeping and establishing notice and annual training requirements; requires such facilities to report death of a child, employee, or household member, within one day of occurrence, to DHS.

Financial Analysis

S.B. No. 1290, S.D. 2  Repeals the requirement that a certain amount of the allocation of transient accommodations tax revenues to the tourism special fund be used for the development and implementation of initiatives to take advantage of expanded visa programs and increased travel opportunities for international visitors to Hawai‘i. Increases the allocation to the counties from $93,000,000 to $108,000,000 for fiscal years beginning after 6/30/2017.

S.B. No. 382, S.D. 2 Makes various updates to the structure and operations of the public utilities commission to increase efficiency and effectiveness, including: establishing guiding principles; establishing docket review and decision-making processes; permitting teleconference and videoconference abilities; specifying senior staff members who must file public financial disclosures; beginning 01/01/18, increasing the number of commissioners to five; updating the composition of the commission; specifying training requirements; clarifying commissioners’ ability to appoint and employ staff; clarifying the roles of the executive officer and chief counsel; permitting neighbor island members to receive per diem compensation and compensation for travel expenses; requiring the commission to report to the legislature regarding certain staff duties; and requiring a management audit of the commission.

Aloha Honua (Climate Change and Energy)

Environment

S.B. No. 1150, S.D. 2 Prohibits the use or application of sunscreen, sunblock, or cosmetic containing oxybenzone while on a beach or in the ocean unless the sunscreen, sunblock, or cosmetic is a prescription drug.

S.B. No. 700, S.D. 1 Amends the offense of cruelty to animals in the first degree to include indigenous birds.

S.B. No. 1239, S.D. 1 Appropriates funds for research on prevention and mitigation of Rapid Ohia Death.

Sustainability

S.B. No. 352, S.D. 1 Appropriates moneys to and from the agricultural loan revolving fund.

S.B. No. 803, S.D. 2 Establishes an income tax credit to assist farmers with expenses associated with compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act. Establishes the Food Safety Modernization Act special fund.

S.B. No. 612, S.D. 2 Repeals language requiring documentation of animal feed development costs to be effective for feed development costs incurred after July 1, 2016. Appropriates unspecified funds to the Department of Agriculture for the feed developer grant program and reimbursements to qualified producers for feed costs.

S.B. No. 559, S.D. 1 Enacts relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement as Hawai‘i state law. Requires annual reports. Makes an appropriation.

Pono Kaulike (Transforming Justice)

Rehabilitation

S.B. No. 1039, S.D. 2  Requires PSD to work with the Social Security Administration to enter into an agreement to obtain replacement social security cards for inmates. Requires PSD, in conjunction with DOH, DOT, and the examiner of drivers of each county, to provide Hawaii-born inmates with copies of birth certificates and driver’s licenses or civil ID cards free of charge. Requires PSD to assist inmates born outside of Hawai‘i to obtain birth certificates and photo IDs. Requires PSD to initiate the process of obtaining social security cards, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and civil ID cards at least ninety days prior to release for inmates released to work furlough, extended furlough, or community placement programs.

Public safety

S.B. No. 221, S.D. 2 Establishes the photo red light imaging detector systems program. Authorizes counties to administer the program. Requires proceeds of fines to be expended in the county from which they were collected for operation of the program. Makes an appropriation. Establishes Red Light Running Committee.

S.B. No. 518, S.D. 2 Requires barber, beauty operator, and instructor licensees under the board of barbering and cosmetology to complete a one-time, three-hour training program on intimate partner violence awareness and education.

S.B. No. 664 Increases fines for persons who commit the offense of driving a motor vehicle at an excessive speed.

S.B. No. 421, S.D. 2  Establishes requirements for body-worn cameras for law enforcement officers. Establishes policy guidelines for the use and discontinuance of use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers. Establishes certain restrictions on the use of body-worn cameras by on-duty law enforcement officers. Adds retention and deletion requirements for body-worn camera footage. Prohibits certain uses of body-worn camera video footage. Establishes violations of recording and retention requirements. Appropriates funds as a grant-in-aid to each county for the purchase of body-worn video cameras; provided that no funds appropriated to a county shall be expended unless matched dollar-for-dollar by the county. Requires the county police departments to report costs of implementing and maintaining the body-worn camera program to the legislature.

S.B. No. 424, S.D. 1 Requires police departments to disclose to the Legislature the identity of an officer upon the officer’s discharge or second suspension in a five-year period. Requires disclosure of certain information under the Uniform Information Practices Act after a police officer’s second suspension in a five-year period.

S.B. No. 261, S.D. 1  Prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle in which a person under the age of eighteen is present. Requires the Department of Health to report on the enforceability of this Act and coordination of related data collection activities of the respective law enforcement agencies.

S.B. No. 494, S.D. 2  Requires persons charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant to be fitted with a continuous alcohol monitoring device if the person: (1) has a prior conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant within the past five years; or (2) is currently pending criminal investigation or prosecution for one or more prior charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. Establishes a process for certain persons to receive financial relief for the cost of the monitoring devices.

S.B. No. 898, S.D. 2  Allows law enforcement to seize and retain firearms or ammunition owned, possessed, or controlled by a person who poses a serious risk of violence or harm to public safety, pursuant to court order.

A complete list of bills passed by the Senate to date is available at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii House and Senate Become First in Nation to Pass Bills Requiring Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

PRESS CONFERENCE: On passage of bills requiring presidential candidates to release

  • WHO:  REP. CHRIS LEE, SEN. KARL RHOADS WITH COMMON CAUSE AND THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
  • WHAT:  Press conference to discuss HB1581 HD1 and SB150 SD1 requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the Hawaii ballot
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, March 8 10 a.m.
  • WHERE:  At the Eternal Flame Memorial across Beretania Street from the Hawaii State Capitol

State Representative Chris Lee and State Senator Karl Rhoads join Common Cause the League of Women Voters, and other stakeholders to announce the passage of HB1581 out of the House and SB150 out of the Senate. Both bills require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot or secure the vote of Hawaii electors.

“The president and vice president are the only federal offices exempt from conflict of interest laws, so the only way to be sure the president is making decisions in the nation’s interest rather than his own businesses is to transparently disclose his financial interests,” said Rep. Lee.

“For decades presidential candidates have publically released their tax returns.  The information is valuable to voters when they decide who to vote for President and Vice President.  That’s why I introduced the Senate bill.” said Sen. Rhoads.

Examples of potential conflicts of interest have already been widely reported in the media, such as President Trump’s partial investment in the parent companies of the firm building the Dakota Access pipeline, a situation in which the president intervened upon taking office. However, other conflicts that could compromise decision-making may not be as apparent unless additional information from the president’s tax returns is made public.

According to President Trump’s financial disclosure, he has investments in or owns companies in at least 20 different countries. Unlike his domestic business, President Trump could run afoul of the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution by continuing to profit off these deals. In addition to emoluments, the president’s foreign policy decisions could be called into question in any country in which the Trump Organization does business, for example by exempting countries with Trump Organization presence from a travel ban executive order.

Hawaii House Sends 159 More Bills to Senate

As the Thursday deadline to crossover bills to the Senate approaches, the House passed bills to alleviate prison crowding, support affordable housing initiatives, protect kupuna from physical and financial exploitation, and fighting invasive species.

The House voted to pass on to the Senate today another 159 bills including measures addressing the state’s goals on cyber security, crime, homeless support and tax relief.  These measures reflect the focus of the House majority on improving the lives of the people in Hawaii.

“Among the many needs that we are addressing this session is helping our low- and middle-income families ease their financial burden and increase rental and affordable housing support for them,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “We have passed bills to expand the renters income and food tax credit for low-income households, authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds for rental housing and mixed use affordable rental housing, updated the loan program to assist low- and moderate-income households to become first-time homebuyers, and established a loan fund for developers to finance infrastructure costs of affordable rentals and fee simple housing developments.”

The House now stands in recess and will reconvene to take action on any remaining final measures for third reading on Thursday, March 19 at noon. To date, the House has approved more than 360 bills this session.

Key measures passed by the House today include:

Prison Crowding

HB1246 HD2 authorizes electronic monitoring and surveillance of offenders in programs that offer alternatives to incarceration.

HB462 HD2 requires the Department of Public Safety to solicit proposals for a new correctional facility.

Housing Support

HB488 HD2 authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for rental housing, mixed-use affordable rental housing, a multi-use juvenile services and shelter center, and public housing. Appropriates funds for public housing security improvements, renovation, and repairs.

HB207 HD2 expands the low-income household renters’ income tax credit based on adjusted gross income and filing status.

HB530 HD2 updates and expands the Downpayment Loan Program under the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation and establishes the Downpayment Loan Loss Reserve Program to assist low- and moderate-income households to become first-time homebuyers.

HB660 HD2 establishes the Infrastructure Development Loan Revolving Fund to make loans to developers to finance the costs of the infrastructure of affordable rental and fee simple housing developments, and appropriates funds for this purpose.

Kupuna Protection

HB199 HD2  authorizes the Department of Human Services to investigate allegations of the physical isolation of vulnerable adults and take corrective action including obtaining judicial relief.

HB432 HD2 makes financial exploitation of an elder by a caregiver a felony.

Invasive Species

HB655 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to assist the National Wildlife Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research the negative impacts of the rose-ringed parakeet on Kauai and develop and implement a control plan to reduce the negative impacts.

HB1006 HD1 appropriates funds to the Hawaii ant lab for personnel and equipment to support mitigation of the little fire ant.

HB1301 HD2 provides that a person or entity that is determined by the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to have introduced an invasive species into the state may be strictly liable for all or part of the expenses to eradicate the invasive species from the state.

HB606 HD2 authorizes the counties to enter private property to control or eradicate invasive species and pests.

Other important bills passing the House today and moving to the Senate include:

Homeless Support

HB1240 HD2 appropriates funds to the Department of Human Services for the coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative to prevent homelessness and rehouse individuals in the State.

Taxes

HB209 HD1 HB209 HD1 expands the low-income household renters income tax credit based on adjusted gross income and filing status. Establishes a state earned income tax credit.  Restores the tax rates for high income brackets that were repealed in 2015.  Removes the sunset date for the refundable food/excise tax credit.

HB932 HD1 Gradually increases the credit amounts and amends the income brackets of the refundable food/excise tax credit.

HB1012 HD2  temporarily disallows the deduction for dividends paid by real estate investment trusts for a period of 15 years, but with an exception for dividends generated from trust-owned housing that is affordable to households with incomes at or below 140 percent of the median family income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HB1471 HD3 requires transient accommodations 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. Ensures that the subject property is in compliance with applicable land use laws. Allocates $1 million of TAT revenues to each county for FY 2017-2018 to comply and enforce county ordinances regulating transient vacation rentals. Creates a surcharge tax on transient accommodations brokers.

HB263 HD2 amends provisions related to licensed medical marijuana dispensaries by imposing general excise tax on a percentage of dispensaries’ gross proceeds or gross income and allocating a portion of GET revenues received from dispensaries to the Medical Marijuana Registry and Regulation Special Fund.

Agriculture

HB961 HD2 excludes for income tax purposes a portion of income earned by farmers who grow or raise food or value–added food products within the state and whose annual gross income does not exceed a certain amount.

HB2 HD2 authorizes tiny homes of less than 500 square feet for farm workers in agricultural districts in a county with a population of more than 180,000 but less than 250,000.

Veterans

HB168 HD1 appropriates funds for the planning and design of a memorial to honor service members of the recent conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the various theaters of the Global War on Terrorism, to be located at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe and replicas to be located at state veterans cemeteries statewide.

Cyber Security

HB 598 HD2 authorizes and provides funding for the University of Hawaii to participate in and contribute funding for the development of a Hawaii cyber ecosystem and related aspects of cyber security.

HB814 HD2 adopts uniform laws on protecting the online accounts of employees and students from employers and educational institutions, respectively.

UH Promise Program

HB1591 HD2 establishes the Hawaii Promise Program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at a University of Hawaii community college.

Crime

HB1501 HD2 reclassifies drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to violations subject to a fine of $100.

HB1172 HD2 allows probable cause for fireworks offenses to be established from statements from witnesses and photographs, video, and other recordings authenticated by witnesses.

HB680 HD2 Requires licensees under the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to complete a one-time awareness education program on intimate partner violence awareness and education

Police disclosure

HB456 HD1 requires police departments to disclose to the Legislature the identity of an officer upon the officer’s second suspension in a five-year period or discharge, as well as certain employment misconduct related information upon an officer’s second suspension in a five year period.

Transportation

HB727 HD1 Allows motorcycles and motor scooters to pass between two same-bound lanes when traffic is stopped.

Civil Rights

HB1489 HD1 prohibits a state agency or program or activity receiving state financial assistance from excluding from participation, denying benefits to, or discriminating against a qualified individual by reason of disability, sex, including gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

Quiet Title

HB860 HD1  provides that: (1) actions for quiet title of kuleana lands shall be subject to mandatory mediation; (2) court cases by the same plaintiff that seeks quiet title for separate kuleana lands within the same court circuit shall be consolidated; (3) defendant’s access for cultural and traditional practices shall not be alienated or extinguished; and (4) plaintiff shall not recover costs, expenses, or attorney’s fees from the defendant.

Finley’s Law

HB561 HD2 called “Finley’s Law,” this bill requires dentists who administer general anesthesia, deep sedation, or moderate (conscious) sedation to post notice of contact information for verification of the dentist’s licensure and authorization or permit to administer anesthesia and perform sedation.

Sex Abuse Prevention

HB 930 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.

Elections

HB1581 HD1 requires candidates for President and Vice President of the United States to disclose their federal income tax returns in order for their names to appear on a Hawaii ballot and prohibits Hawaii’s electoral college electors from voting for a candidate who has not disclosed this information.

Landlord-Tenant Code

HB223 HD2 allows a landlord or landlord’s agent to charge an application screening fee as part of the applicant screening process for renting residential property. Sets limits on the amount of the application screening fee and requires the landlord or agent to return any unauthorized fee amounts to the applicant.

Reef Fish Collecting

HB1457 HD2 Places a temporary moratorium on the issuance of new aquarium fish collecting permits until the Department of Land and Natural Resources has developed a comprehensive plan for the sustainable management of nearshore reef wildlife.

Drones

HB314 HD1 establishes prohibited uses of unmanned aerial vehicles for individuals, law enforcement agencies, and public agencies. Provides certain exceptions for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Makes certain uses of an unmanned aerial vehicle a petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor and Class C felony for a second of subsequent violations.

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

http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&active=true&rpt_type=firstCross&measuretype=HB&title=House%20Bills%20Crossed%20Over%20to%20the%20Senate

Legislative “Crossover” Update From Senator Kai Kahele

Aloha!

We are a third of the way through the 2017 Legislative Session and just six days out from First Crossover. Now that the Senate Committees on Ways and Means; Judiciary and Labor; and Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health have completed their deliberations, bills that are still alive will make their way to third reading next week Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Thanks to you, many of our priority bills are still alive:

If these bills are approved next week, they’ll crossover to the State House for further deliberations by our colleagues. In turn, House approved bills will crossover for further deliberation by the Senate. As we move forward, be sure to stay tuned for our weekly updates.

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele