Access to healthcare and violence against women is the focus of a House-Senate joint package of bills submitted this session by the Women’s Legislative Caucus. The caucus consists of women members from the state Senate and House and county councils. In addition, six additional bills and five resolutions were submitted by individual members as a result of their involvement with the women’s caucus.
“Women’s issues have historically taken a backseat to other legislative priorities even though women in Hawai`i make up nearly half the population,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui). “That’s why there has always been a critical need for such a focus—especially in the areas of healthcare and violence against women, where government has been so slow in addressing their particular concerns.”
Violence against women has been making national headlines both in the sports world and in the home recently and has been a steadfast focal point for the caucus since its inception.
“While violence against women has come to the forefront in recent years, the problem persists across the entire spectrum of society and, clearly, more needs to be done to protect women in the workplace, in our schools and in their homes,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa).
Women’s health has been another major focus of concern in past sessions for the caucus and the 2016 legislative session will be no different.
“In Hawai`i where our families have always required two incomes to make ends meet, women in the workforce is not a new phenomenon,” said Senator Laura Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay). “In fact, Hawai`i’s landmark legislation on healthcare was specifically created to address the needs of working women and families. Today, we need to continue to build on that foundation to address the changing needs of women in today’s world.”
“Today women face the same issues that their mothers and grandmothers faced,” said Representative Lauren Matsumoto (Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, Mililani). “Yet the world has changed dramatically and so have women’s roles in society. Our laws and protections need to change to meet their changing needs and to reflect the world in which we live today.”
A full list of official measures in the Women’s Legislative Caucus’s package for the current biennium is available on the Capitol website at http://ow.ly/XCh5h.
The House and Senate bills submitted by the Women’s Legislative Caucus for the 2016 session include:
ENSURING ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
HB1895/SB2319, relates to prescription contraceptives, contraceptive services and supplies, and reimbursement. Requires insurers to cover a three-month period for the first dispensing of prescription contraceptive supplies to the insured. Requires insurers to cover a twelve-month period for the subsequent dispensing of the same contraceptive supply to the insured.
HB1896/SB2320, relates to prescriptive authority and contraceptive supplies. Authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense contraceptive supplies to persons eighteen years of age or older. Specifies requirements pharmacists must meet prior to prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies. Requires all insurers in the State, including health benefits plan under chapter 87A, Hawai’i Revised Statutes, and Medicaid managed care programs, to reimburse pharmacists who prescribe and dispense contraceptive supplies.
HB1897/SB2323, relates to health insurance coverage, sexually transmitted diseases. Ensures insurance coverage for sexually transmitted disease screenings, including screenings for human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, during a female insured’s annual pelvic exam.
HB1898/SB2317, relates to maternal mortality review panel and the Department of Health. Creates Maternal Mortality Review Panel for Hawai’i that conducts comprehensive, multidisciplinary reviews of maternal deaths with the purpose of identifying factors associated with those deaths to highlight system changes needed to improve services for all women.
HB1899/SB2326, relate to licensure for midwives. Establishes licensure requirements for the practice of midwifery. Requires the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to adopt rules regulating the practices of midwifery.
ELIMINATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
HB1900/SB2318, relate to address confidentiality program, domestic violence, sexual offense and stalking. Develops a mechanism to keep addresses confidential for domestic violence/sex assault survivors. Establishes an address confidentiality programs that will give victims a substitute legal address to use in place of their physical address and can be used whenever an address is required for public records, such as voter or drivers’ license registries. Requires courts to find, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that the disclosure of a victim’s address is required in the interests of justice.
HB1901/SB2321, relates to domestic violence intervention training of first responders. Requires any state or county agency who employs personnel whose job duties require or may require intervention in a domestic violence situation to provide such employees with a minimum of fifteen hours of domestic violence intervention training.
HB1902/SB2322, relates to sex trafficking. Replaces the offense of Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree with Sex Trafficking to be classified as a violent crime. Makes Sex Trafficking a class A felony and a strict liability offense if a minor is the victim of sex trafficking. Provides that the offense of prostitution for a younger than eighteen years of age is a violation. Expands the Department of the Attorney General’s Statewide Witness Program to include sex trafficking; provides victims with access to criminal injury compensation; and amends laws relating to civil liability for cases of coercion into prostitution. Makes amendments to strengthen enforcement of laws and increase penalties against the sex trafficker.
HB1903/SB2325, relates to establishing law enforcement standards boards. Establishes a law enforcement standards board for the certification of county police officers, state public safety officers, and employees of the departments of transportation and land and natural resources with police powers. Establishes a special fund. Appropriates funds.
HB1904/SB2324, relates to the composition of the county police commissions. Amends the composition of the county police commissions to require that there are commissioners on each police commission that have experience or backgrounds in women’s issues, civil rights, and law enforcement.
Additional bills resulting from the Women’s Legislative Caucus include:
HB1905/SB2310, relates to domestic abuse protective orders. Prohibits the court from granting mutual protective orders unless separate petitions are filed.
HB1906/SB2311, relates to Domestic Violence. Removes certain unnecessary and redundant reporting responsibilities of the family courts and the department of human services in cases where temporary restraining orders are sought for alleged domestic abuse involving a family or household member who is a minor or incapacitated person.
HB1907/SB2309, relates to Sexual Assault. Establishes the sexual assault kit tracking program. Requires a law enforcement agency to submit sexual assault kits obtained in connection to a criminal investigation to an authorized laboratory within 10 days, the laboratory to complete analysis within 6 months, and results to be uploaded to the state DNA database and data bank identification program and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Combined DNA Index System. Requires each law enforcement agency that obtains a sexual assault kit in connection to a criminal investigation to report to the department of the attorney general annually on the number of sexual assault kits in its possession. Requires the police department of each county, the department of public safety, and the division of conservation and resources enforcement to submit a report to the legislature prior to the convening of the regular session 2017 on the number of kits in its possession and progress on any backlog. Requires the legislative reports to be made available to the public.
HB1908/SB2312, relates to the Penal Code. Redefines “sexual conduct” as that term is used in the offense of promotion of child abuse in the first, second, and third degrees.
HB1909/SB2313, relates to Equal Pay. Amends the provisions for equal pay and sex discrimination for substantially similar work, clarifies the employer defenses. Prohibits employer action regarding wage disclosure.
HB1910/SB2316, relates to Health and Health Insurance. Requires a child to receive at least one dosage of the human papillomavirus vaccine prior to attending seventh grade, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and administer the human papillomavirus vaccine to persons between eleven and seventeen years of age. Specifies requirements pharmacists must meet prior to administering the human papillomavirus vaccine. Requires all insurers in the State, including health benefits plans under chapter 87A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and Medicaid managed care programs, to reimburse the costs of human papillomavirus vaccination services.
CAUCUS PACKAGE RESOLUTIONS
(To Be Introduced)
EXPANDING COMMUNITY-BASED WORK FURLOUGH PROGRAMS FOR FEMALE OFFENDERS
Encourages the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to continue and expand its community-based work furlough programs to assist in transitioning formerly incarcerated female inmates back into society.
REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO AFFIRM ITS COMMITMENT TO TITLE IX
Requests a report from the Department of Education regarding its compliance with the requirements of Title IX, including the status of its Title IX policies, procedures, staffing and statistics to the Legislature not later than 20 days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2017.
Creating paid family leave task force
Creates a task force to examine the costs, benefits, and challenges of instituting a paid family leave system in the state.
AFFIRMING THE STATE OF HAWAI’I’S SUPPORT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Recognizes and affirms the State of Hawai’i’s gratitude to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands for providing vital health care services to women and families statewide.
URGING U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) TO RESTART BASIC IMMIGRATION SERVICES VIA MOBILE ROUTE TO NEIGHBOR ISLANDS Applicants with immigration applications adjudicated by USCIS must travel to Honolulu for fingerprinting and interviews, which presents a substantial barrier to the immigration process for non-Oahu residents. Women are disproportionally impacted because one out of five women on neighbor islands are foreign-born, as compared to 14.9 percent of men
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