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Hawaii Senate Adjourns 2017 Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate adjourned the 2017 regular session today taking action on a number of priority areas including homelessness, healthcare, education, and the environment.  These priorities align with the Senate’s commitment to the Legislative Program set forth at the start of the 2017 session.

Members of the Senate, along with their House counterparts, approved the allocation of about $40 million over the next two years on homeless programs, a top priority of the Legislative Program, including $500,000 each year for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges; $800,000 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individual families with severe substance use disorders and $300,000 each year for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless individuals.

Investing in our children, from preschool to college, reflects the Senate’s priority in education.  $90 million was allocated to address conditions for school facilities statewide. The Legislature passed SB423 which ensures that public school students will receive a school meal, even if the student’s meal fund account balance is zero. $1 million in general funds was appropriated in each fiscal year for the Early College High School Initiative.

Lawmakers passed measures to address our environment including funding to fight invasive species such as the Coffee Berry Borer and to provide support in the Rapid Ohia Death response.  They also passed SB559 which ensures statewide support for Hawai‘i’s green initiatives and measure the efforts being made to mitigate the effects of climate change throughout the state.

By passing HB607, Hawai‘i becomes the first state in the nation to pass legislation which authorizes a program to support those who provide care for the elderly.  In addressing a disease making headlines locally and nationally, $1 million was appropriated to address Rat Lungworm disease.

In his closing remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 -Kaua’i, Ni’ihau) said despite trying and difficult times during the Session, he was grateful and proud of his colleagues and Senate staff for “working as professionals each and every day.”

“I’m pleased with the work done over the last 60 days,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe).  “There were certainly challenges throughout this session, particularly in the area of the budget, where tough choices had to be made.  However, my Senate colleagues always kept in mind the best interest of the people of Hawai‘i. I’m hopeful that what issues remain unresolved at the end of this session, we can work together to find solutions and move forward.”

On the stalemate over funding for the rail project, the Senate remains open to negotiate an agreement with the House to ensure adequate financing to complete the project, yet minimize the impact on the most vulnerable citizens of the community.

Under Senate Rules and Senate Resolution 96, during the interim, the membership of each Standing Committee can be appointed by the President subject to action by the Senate. Should there be changes to a Standing Committee, the new assignments will be announced.

To view all the bills passed in the 2017 Legislative Session, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii House Bills Passed on Final Reading

On the eve of the close of the 2017 legislative session, the House today approved 194 bills that address a wide range of issues, including the state budget, affordable housing, homelessness, kupuna care, taxation, agriculture, invasive species, and the environment. 

The House also approved the State Budget which now goes to Governor David Ige for his signature.

HB100 HD1SD1 CD1, the State Budget appropriates $14.1 billion in total operating funds for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. The budget includes $2.9 billion for capital improvement projects (CIP) over the biennium which starts July 1.

The budget funds all state department’s programs and services; CIP includes renovations, repairs, and major maintenance to existing facilities and infrastructure; and grants in aid support worthy nonprofit organizations.

Major items include $77 million for a new East Kapolei Middle School and $63 million for a new Kihei High School; $1.8 million for the Hawaii Promise Program to help cover the unmet financial needs of community college students; and $23 million to acquire 500 acres of agriculture land in Central Oahu.

Among the bills passed to support our low-income families is HB209 HC1 SD1 CD1, which establishes a state earned income tax credit mirroring the federal earned income tax credit. This will help low-income workers to keep more of what they earn.

The bill permanently extends the higher rates of the refundable food/excise tax credit which makes it less costly for those in need to afford necessities like food. The bill balances the increase in tax credits by restoring a higher income tax rate on those making more than $300,000 per year.

Highlights of the measures passed today include:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

HB1179 HD2 SD2 CD1, allows the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation to exempt certain affordable rental housing projects from general excise tax and use tax costs.

HB83 HD1 SD2 CD1, requires the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness, in conjunction with the Department of Human Services and Department of Land and Natural Resources to establish a working group to examine and develop recommendations to the establish safe zones for persons experiencing homelessness.

HB375 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates a $1 million matching fund for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, working in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association for projects to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

EDUCATION

HB916 HD1 SD2 CD1, makes an appropriation for the health care provider loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

SB423 SD1 HD1 CD1, prohibits denying a student a meal for failure to pay within: (1) The first 21 days of the first semester of a school year while the student’s application for free or reduced lunch is being processed; or (2) seven days after the student’s meal fund account balance is zero or negative.

THE ENVIRONMENT AND INVASIVE SPECIES

HB655 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to assist and provide supplemental funds to the National Wildlife Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research the adverse effects of the rose-ringed parakeet on Kauai and develop and begin implementation of a control plan to reduce the negative impacts.

HB606 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the counties, through their employees or authorized agents, to enter private property to control or eradicate invasive species and pests.

SB1240 SD2 HD1 CD1, requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to submit proposed legislation with a definition of sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, a process for determining limits on collection practices of near shore aquatic life, and any additional resources required by the department. Prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits. Prohibits transfer of current permits subject to certain provisions. Prohibits renewal of permits that have not been renewed for five or more years.

PUBLIC SAFETY

HB 459 HD1 SD1 CD1, in the event an application for a firearm is rejected because the applicant is prohibited from owning a firearm or subject to a restraining order, the police department is required to notify the court, prosecutor and director of public safety.

HB478 HD1 SD1 CD1, enables the expansion of successful inmate-operated farms at the Kulani (Hawaii Island) and Waiawa (Oahu) correctional facilities.  Provides $50,000 for hiring a farm manager and $50,000 for farming equipment at each facility.

HB845 HD2 SD2 CD1, requires the Department of Public Safety to offer inmates the opportunity to obtain identification information, such as Social Security cards and birth certificates, at least 90 days prior to their release on furlough. This will enable them to more easily apply for employment.  Allots $25,000 for costs.

HB1135 HD1 SD2 CD1, enables crime victims to more easily obtain court-ordered restitution from offenders by allowing judges to order the forfeiture of cash deposited for bail or bonds, or the withholding of state income tax refunds. The measure also makes permanent several Justice Reinvestment Act initiatives to reduce recidivism and promote public safety.

SB718 SD1 HD1 CD1, enacts the Community Court Outreach Project to help deal with nonviolent, non-felony offenders by sentencing them to community service or directing them to drug abuse or mental health programs.

SB655 SD2 HD1 CD1, allows news media access into emergency zones with approval of emergency management authorities.

HB1501 HD2 SD1 CD1, reclassifies drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to violations subject to a fine of no more than $500.

HB1246 HD2SD2 CD1, authorizes electronic monitoring and surveillance of offenders in programs that offer alternatives to incarceration.

SB895 SD1 HD2 CD1, establishes the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code. Amends the offense of criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed, or otherwise secure.

HB554 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes and establishes criteria for administrative orders to provide inpatient psychiatric treatment to an involuntarily committed patient over the patient’s objection. Requires Department of Health and Department of Public Safety to make recommendations for an administrative process applicable to persons subject to DPS jurisdiction.

HB306 HD2 SD2 CD1, authorizes the fitting of a continuous alcohol monitoring device on persons charged for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant if the person: (1) Is a repeat intoxicated driver; or (2) Is currently awaiting a 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.

KUPUNA

HB1396 HD2 SD2 CD1, known as the “Kawamoto Bill,” authorizes the Department of Health, working in consultation with the Department of Human Services, to allow two private-pay individuals to be cared for in the same community care foster family home after consideration of specified relevant factor.

HB615 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawaii’s kupuna

HB607 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes 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. Hawaii is the only state to offer this program.

HEALTH

HB213 HD1 SD1 CD1, permits an employee to take family leave in order to care for the employee’s sibling with a serious health condition.

HB561 HD2 SD1 CD1, known as “Finley’s Law,” this bill requires dentists who administer anesthesia or sedation to post contact information to verify licensure and authorization to administer anesthesia and sedation. Specifies requirements, including inspections, for written authorization or permit to administer anesthesia or sedation.

SB505 SD1 HD2 CD1, requires prescribing healthcare providers to adopt and maintain policies for informed consent to opioid therapy in circumstances that carry elevated risk of dependency. Establishes limits for concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions. Clarifies Board of Nursing authority to enforce compliance with Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

SB513 SD1 HD2 CD1, 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. Enables pharmacists to be reimbursed for prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies.

HB552 HD1 SD2 CD2, establishes the Affordable Health Insurance Working Group to plan for and mitigate adverse effects of the potential repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act by Congress.

SB501 SD1 HD2 CD1, requires all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services.

HB1488 HD1 SD1 CD1, adds additional qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana patients and permits possession of additional plants. Amends requirements for and access to testing. Extends deadlines related to implementation of the dispensary system. Amends security, information tracking, and access requirements for licensed facilities. Clarifies DOH regulatory authority. Authorizes additional retail dispensing locations and plants for existing licensees. Requires DOH to report to Legislative Oversight Working Group.

AGRICULTURE

HB2 HD2 SD1 CD1, 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. County councils may adopt ordinances for the oversight of tiny homes, as defined in this act.

HB453 HD1 SD1 CD1, requires the Department of Agriculture to provide grants to farmers to assist them in paying for the costs of compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA regulations, and state food safety laws.

HB186 HD1 SD2 CD1, extends the subsidy offered to coffee farmers who purchase Beauveria bassiana products to combat the Coffee Berry Borer Beetle. This will support greater yields and a higher-quality, more valuable product.

HB1475 HD2 SD2 CD1, will broaden commercial operations permitted on agricultural land and allow farmers markets and food hubs on ag land. The bill will allow on-farm sales of produce and value-added products, a critical source of additional income for farmers.

SB773 SD2 HD1 CD1, amends the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program by restricting cultivation of industrial hemp under the pilot project to agricultural lands and requires counties to recognize it as an agricultural product, use, or activity. Allows license applications year-round.

TRANSPORTATION

HB727 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Department of Transportation to allow motorcycles and motor scooters on shoulder lanes, as determined by the department, in times of traffic congestion.

HB115 HD1 SD1 CD1, Requires each county with a population of more than 500,000 to take ownership and jurisdiction over all disputed roads under certain circumstances. Defines disputed roads.

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS

HB451 HD1 SD2 CD1, reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second. Requires Congressional approval.

ENERGY

HB957 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Department of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Loan Program for heat abatement measures at public schools.

MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

HB942 HD1 SD1 CD1, authorizes the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to commission an artist to design and build a monument to honor and commemorate Filipino veterans of World War II, with all costs to be expended from the Works of Art Special Fund.

HB1420 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds for burial grants for qualifying Filipino-American veterans to provide funeral and burial services and transportation of their remains to the Philippines.

OTHERS

HB1516 HD1 SD1 CD1, permits duly incorporated humane societies and duly incorporated societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals to petition for full custody of an impounded pet animal or equine animal prior to the filing of certain criminal charges against the owner or custodian of the animal. Allows a pet or equine animal to be destroyed by the petitioner prior to final disposition of certain criminal charges if the pet or equine animal is a danger to itself or others. Clarifies that an acquittal or dismissal in a criminal proceeding does not preclude civil proceedings under animal cruelty offenses.

SB119 SD1 HD1 CD1, establishes a cap of 8 percent on late rent payment fees, applicable to all new rental agreements and rental agreement renewals entered into on or after the effective date of this measure. Effective November 1, 2017.

SB369 SD1 HD1 CD1, prohibits associations of apartment owners, boards of directors, managing agents, resident managers, unit owners, and persons acting on behalf of associations or unit owners from retaliating against a unit owner, board member, managing agent, resident manager, or association employee who files a complaint; acts in furtherance of a complaint, report, or investigation of an alleged violation of the state’s condominium laws or a condominium’s governing documents; or exercises or attempts to exercise any right as a unit owner.

SB207 SD2 HD2 CD1, authorizes the expenditure of general funds for a one-time lump sum cash bonus severance benefit to affected Maui region hospital employees.

Here are all bills passed by the Legislature this session (this report will be complete after all bills are sent to the governor).

Hawaii House Sends 137 Bills to Senate

The Hawaii House or Representatives today passed 137 bills including measures relating to helping homeless people, fighting invasive species, protecting health care and flood insurance coverage, and reducing the blood quantum requirement in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

HB83 HD1 Homelessness: Allows the Department of Human Services to establish puuhonua safe zones where homeless persons may reside.

HB453 HD1 Agriculture Grant: Requires the Department of Agriculture to provide grants to farmers to assist them in paying for the costs of compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and state food safety laws.

HB527 HD1 Homelessness: Appropriates funds to purchase, staff, and operate two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

HB552 HD1 Health Insurance: Ensures that benefits of the Affordable Care Act are preserved under state law in the case of repeal of the ACA by Congress.

HB1418 Flood Insurance: Amends the county exemptions from building permit and building code requirements to ensure that Hawaii’s communities are not suspended from participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

HB1339 HD1 Invasive Species: Restructures the Hawaii Invasive Species Council as the Hawaii Invasive Species Authority to coordinate implementation of the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan and related duties.

HB904 HD1 Invasive Species: Establishes the invasive species rapid response special fund within DLNR. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures.

HB1300 HD1 Coral Reefs: Requires UH Environmental Center to conduct ongoing studies of the environmental impacts of sewage spills on affected coral reefs.

HB450 HD1 Coral Reefs: Requires UH to conduct a study on the effects of sunscreen on Hawaii’s coral reefs and report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds.

HB451 HD1 Blood Quantum: Reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second.

Other bills that passed third reading by the House today include measures that relate to identification for prisoners, heat abatement in our public schools, biosecurity in agriculture, vehicle tax, and pesticides.

HB386 HD1 Environment: Appropriates funds for the two-year extension of the Post-Bypass Beach Monitoring Program of the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor Sand Bypass Operation at Waimea, Kauai.

HB844 HD1 At-Risk Youth: Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a two-year Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program in partnership with private organizations to coordinate a network that youth can access for safety and where youth can obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services.

HB845 HD2 Prisoner ID: Requires the Department of Public Safety in collaboration with county and state agencies and, upon request of the inmate, to issue civil identification cards to inmates and to assist inmate in obtaining the inmate’s birth certificate, social security card, and other relevant identification necessary for successful reentry into society.

HB848 HD2 Microgrids: Exempt microgrids that promote and serve public higher education institutions from regulation as a public utility by the Public Utilities Commission.

HB889 HD1 Pesticides: Increases the pesticide licensing fee and requires annual renewal of the license.

HB916 HD1 Loan Repayment: Makes an appropriation for the health care professionals loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

HB957 HD1 Heat Abatement: Authorizes the Department of Education and Budget and Finance to borrow moneys from the Hawaii green infrastructure loan program for heat abatement measures at public schools.

HB1244 HD1 Cesspool Tax Credit: Amends the cesspool upgrade, conversion, or connection income tax credit to make it assignable and refundable, applicable to more cesspools, and applicable through 12/31/2022.

HB1325 HD1 Biosecurity: Requires the Department of Agriculture to establish parameters and construction requirements for biosecurity facilities that provide for and ensure the safety of agricultural and food commodities.

HB1378 HD1 Access Road: Requires the Department of Transportation to develop plans for the construction of secondary access roads for the Waianae district of leeward Oahu. Appropriates funds.

HB1587 HD1 Vehicle Tax: Replaces the state vehicle weight tax with a tax based on the assessed value of a vehicle.

Today marks the first decking deadline in the legislative process, when all measures must pass out of its final committee to be considered for a vote by the full House or Senate.  Each chamber has until next Thursday, March 9, to vote on all remaining measures that have made it out of their respective committees.

Following next Thursday’s crossover deadline, the House will focus its attention on HB100 relating to the state budget, which must be passed out of the committee on Finance by March 13 and voted on by the full body by March 15.

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

Hawaii House Passes Bills Supporting College Scholarships, Green Energy and Kupuna Care

Other measures include paid sick leave, honoring veterans and voting by mail

With the Legislature’s crossover deadline just one week away, the House today passed more than 60 bills, sending them to the Senate for its consideration.  Among the House bills passing third reading by the full House were measures that provide for paid sick leave for employees, create a green energy fund at the University of Hawaii and funding for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program for Hawaii’s kupuna. Representatives also passed bills on honoring veterans, voting by mail and the UH Promise Program to support students.

HB4 HD1 Paid sick leave: Requires 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.

HB615 HD1 Kupuna Care: Appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawaii’s kupuna.

HB794 HD1 Green energy: Establishes the University of Hawaii Green Special Fund to fund energy conservation measures to reduce the University’s energy consumption and costs.

HB1401 HD1 Elections: Enacts voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2020.

HB1438 World War I Centennial: Appropriates moneys for the commemoration of the centennial anniversary of World War I.

HB1594 HD1 UH Promise Program: Establishes the University of Hawaii Promise Program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any campus of the University of Hawaii system.

Other important bills passed today by the House include:

HB115 HD1  Road ownership: Requires each county with a population of 500,000 or more to take ownership and jurisdiction over all roads over which there is a dispute over ownership between the State or any of its political subdivisions and a private party.

HB646 HD1 Visually handicap parking: Allows individuals who are blind or visually handicapped to apply for and obtain a removable windshield placard to use a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities

HB942 HD1 Filipino veterans: Authorizes the State to commission an artist to design and build a monument to honor and commemorate Filipino veterans of World War II.

HB1195 HD1 Homelessness: Appropriates funds to the Department of Health and Department of Human Services, including the Office of Youth Services, to provide homeless outreach services.

HB1276 HD1 Student tax deduction: Provides an additional state income tax deduction for student loan interest paid on qualified education loans.

HB1281 HD1 Homelessness: Establishes a three-year Work-for-a-Day Pilot Program that provides homeless individuals with work opportunities and connects them with service providers

Tomorrow marks the first decking deadline in the legislative process, when all measures must pass out of its final committee to be considered for a vote by the full House or Senate. Each chamber has until next Thursday, March 9, to vote on all remaining measures that have made it out of their respective committees.

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

Hawaii Keiki Caucus Sets Priorities in 2017 Legislative Package

Expanding the eligibility age for children to attend the preschool open doors program, support for teacher training on social and emotional learning, and funding to establish an after-school program for public middle and intermediate schools are just some of the measures included in this year’s Keiki Caucus Legislative Package.

Photo courtesy: House Communications

“These bills and resolutions address a variety of issues that assure Hawai‘i’s children and their families are happy, healthy and ready to learn and to succeed,” said Sen. Karl Rhoads (S Dist. 13 – Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Palama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown). “The work we do together as a caucus is an investment in our future.”

Sen. Rhoads and Rep. Matt LoPresti are this year’s co-conveners of the Keiki Caucus. Keiki Caucus is a bipartisan group of House and Senate members and is supported by dozens of community advocates. Since 1994, the Keiki Caucus has been working with the community to develop proposals and initiatives that address the health and well-being of Hawai‘i’s youth.

“There is nothing more important in Hawaii than our keiki. As lawmakers, we need to do everything we can to protect and educate them,” said Rep. LoPresti (H Dist. 41 -‘Ewa, ‘Ewa Beach, ‘Ewa Gentry, ‘Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe). “This proposed legislation is thoughtful and proactive in reaching that goal. It’s never too early for social and emotional learning and anti-bullying education for our keiki – especially when children may be confused by current online rhetoric. They need better role models and we in the legislature can provide support to provide anti-bullying education this legislative session.

The Senate and House bills and resolutions submitted by the Keiki Caucus for the 2017 session include:

SB497/HB578  RELATING TO PRESCHOOL OPEN DOORS PROGRAM

Expands the qualifying age for the preschool open doors program to children four years old and younger.

SB 498/HB580  RELATING TO EDUCATION

Appropriates funds for the P4C Program of the University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education and for teachers of the Department of Education to train with the P4C Program.

SB496/HB579  RELATING TO SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Requires the Department of Education to provide training on social and emotional learning to all youth-serving educators, health care professionals and counselors, and agencies and programs, as well as parents of students enrolled in public schools or public charter schools.  Appropriates funds to the Department of Education to conduct training on social and emotional learning.

SB499/HB581  RELATING TO THE ZERO TO THREE COURT

Appropriates funds for staff positions and various services to support the Hawai‘i zero to three court.

SB500  RELATING TO AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS

Establishes the R.E.A.C.H (resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health) program in the office of youth services to provide a standardized framework and funding for after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools. 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. Requires the office of youth services to report to the legislature.

HB577  RELATING TO A NON-BINDING REFERENDUM ON STATEWIDE COMMUNITY WATER FLUORIDATION

Proposes a non-binding, statewide referendum on whether the State should pursue policies and programs for community water fluoridation in order to improve the overall dental health of Hawaii’s children and adults.

SCR8/HCR11  ENCOURAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES MED-QUEST DIVISION TO IMPLEMENT AN INCOME DISREGARD PROGRAM FOR WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES

The Med-QUEST Division of the Department of Human Services is encouraged to implement an income disregard program that will enable workers with disabilities to seek or maintain employment, while also retaining necessary Medicaid benefits and supports.

SCR9/HCR9  URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO CARRY ON ITS WORK TO BETTER ENGAGE COMMUNITY GROUPS IN THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN HAWAI‘I’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Department of Education is urged to carry on its work to better engage community groups in the education of children and youth in Hawai‘i’s public schools.

SCR10/HCR8  REQUESTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION EDUCATION TASK FORCE

The Department of Education is requested to establish a Sexual Abuse Prevention Education Task Force.

SCR11/HCR10  ENCOURAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, AND JUDICIARY TO PERMANENTLY ESTABLISH AND ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION IN THE HAWAI‘I INTERAGENCY STATE YOUTH NETWORK OF CARE TO BETTER SERVE YOUTH AND FAMILIES WITH COMPLEX NEEDS IN THE STATE

The Department of Education, Department of Health and Department of Human Services are encouraged to form the Hawai‘i Interagency State Youth Network of Care (HISYNC) to increase collaboration among state agencies and to develop a system of care for children, youth and families.

SCR12/HCR7  URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO EXAMINE THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR THE PRESCHOOL OPEN DOORS PROGRAM TO ENSURE ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL FAMILIES

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is urged to examine the application process for the preschool open doors program to ensure accessibility for all families. DHS is also encouraged to consider a paperless or other, cost-free application process that is accessible for all families.

Hawaii State Senate Unveils 2017 Legislative Program

Our communities, environment, sustainability and public safety are areas of which the Hawai‘i State Senate will focus in the 29th Legislative Biennium.

The areas are incorporated under four over-arching themes that embrace Hawaiian values and collectively form the Legislative Program the Hawai‘i State Senate will use as a guide throughout the Regular Session of 2017.   

“On many of these issues, we’re continuing the work that had begun in the previous legislative sessions,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English. “We recognize the importance to be self-reliant and take care of our island home. There’s also a responsibility to be prepared for the future, ensuring that the next generation is not saddled with problems we can do our best to address right now.”

The 2017 Legislative Program for the Hawai‘i State Senate is as follows:

Ola Lehulehu – People and Communities

  • Education – We will collaborate with educational leaders and interested stakeholders to identify and focus on priority educational needs and opportunities. We will strive to produce workforce-ready graduates to provide opportunities to cultivate and diversify the workforce and economy of Hawai‘i.
  • Affordability – We acknowledge Hawai‘i’s extremely high cost of living and the financial stress this places on many individuals and families. We will therefore explore options to increase affordability for residents, including avenues to better support low-income wage earners in Hawai‘i.
  • Social Services – We will support the State’s core functions, including strengthening our social safety net to ensure our keiki, kūpuna, families, and individuals are protected. We will also continue to support the creative coordination of social service and educational strategies that address the multi-faceted nature of homelessness.
  • Health Care – We will support collaborative efforts to ensure that funding for Native Hawaiian health care continues. We will further support Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders by focusing on essential social and cultural determinants that improve health outcomes amongst our indigenous population. We will also encourage options to improve health care for our keiki and our residents in rural areas and will support collaborative efforts to provide better dental care for keiki and adults throughout our communities.
  • Food Security – We will further explore opportunities and policies that support our local farmers, encourage good agricultural practices, and increase our local food production. Efforts that support food self-sufficiency will have positive effects on our local job market and economy.

 Aloha Kaiāulu Ho‘oulu – Preparedness

  • Community Development – We will work diligently to understand and promote smart community development, in particular transit-oriented development. We recognize transit-oriented development as a unique opportunity to address many socio-economic challenges. Because land along public transportation corridors presents an opportunity for the State to maximize land development, we support collaboration with interested stakeholders, including private businesses and non-profit organizations. We are also committed to supporting affordable housing and necessary infrastructure to strengthen our community.
  • Government Services – We will focus on improving the efficiency and modernization of government services, including election participation. We will continue to encourage the enhancement of the State’s information technology systems and incentivize the use of technology. We will also support efforts to advance innovation-oriented projects that improve living standards in Hawai‘i, while streamlining resources to most efficiently and effectively promote innovation and economic growth.
  • Financial Analysis – The Hawai‘i State Senate is committed to analyzing tax credit cost information provided by state agencies; assessing the viability of existing tax credits, exemptions, and exclusions; and determining whether each tax credit, exemption, or exclusion continues to be useful and beneficial to the State.

 Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy

  • Environment – We will protect and preserve Hawai‘i’s natural resources by exploring ways to improve agricultural practices and mitigate climate change impacts. We are committed to supporting the preservation of Hawai‘i’s unique geographical features, including coastlines and watersheds. In addition to supporting existing conservation and enforcement efforts, we will encourage the use of innovative technologies to combat invasive species, address biosecurity risks, conserve the State’s water resources, address changing sea levels, and protect the State’s fragile marine ecosystem.
  • Sustainability – We will continue our commitment to renewable energy alternatives that are practical and economical for the State and take into account Hawai‘i’s natural environment and terrain. With recent progress and clean energy goals in mind, we will further encourage the availability of renewable energy and advance projects to improve energy efficiencies.

 Pono Kaulike – Transforming Justice

  • Rehabilitation – We will explore alternatives to incarceration and options to reduce the recidivism rate amongst our incarcerated population, through means such as strengthening community ties. We will support efforts that enable incarcerated individuals to develop useable skills that will help in their transition back into their communities.
  • Public Safety – In an effort to promote continued public safety, we will encourage effectiveness, transparency, and interagency collaboration, and insist on higher standards of conduct and appropriate training.

It is the Hawai‘i State Senate’s sincere hope that we can work collaboratively with the House of Representatives, the Governor, and the Judiciary to achieve all the goals outlined in this Program.

Hawaii House of Representatives Names 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

The House of Representatives Majority named its 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs during a caucus meeting today.

capitalA new committee, Intrastate Commerce, will focus on regulations and licensing of Hawaii businesses such as banking, telecommunications and property insurance.

House Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are:

  • Speaker: Joseph M. Souki
  • Speaker Emeritus: Calvin K.Y. Say
  • Vice Speaker: John M. Mizuno
  • Majority Leader: Scott K. Saiki
  • Majority Floor Leader: Cindy Evans
  • Majority Policy Leader: Marcus R. Oshiro
  • Majority Whip: Ken Ito

Assistant Majority Leaders:

  • Chris Lee
  • Dee Morikawa
  • Roy M. Takumi

Agriculture (AGR)

  • Chair: Richard Creagan
  • Vice Chair: Lynn DeCoite

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)

  • Chair: Angus L.K. McKelvey
  • Vice Chair: Linda Ichiyama

Economic Development & Business (EDB)

  • Chair: Mark M. Nakashima
  • Vice Chair: Jarrett Keohokalole

Education (EDN)

  • Chair: Roy M. Takumi
  • Vice Chair: Sharon E. Har

Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)

  • Chair: Chris Lee
  • Vice Chair: Nicole Lowen

Finance (FIN)

  • Chair: Sylvia Luke
  • Vice Chair: Ty J.K. Cullen

Health (HLT)

  • Chair: Della Au Belatti
  • Vice Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi

Higher Education (HED)

  • Chair: Justin H. Woodson
  • Vice Chair: Mark J. Hashem

Housing (HSG)

  • Chair: Tom Brower
  • Vice Chair: Nadine Nakamura

Human Services (HUS)

  • Chair: Dee Morikawa
  • Vice Chair: To be announced

Intrastate Commerce (IAC)

  • Chair: Takashi Ohno
  • Vice Chair: Isaac W. Choy

Judiciary (JUD)

  • Chair: Scott Y. Nishimoto
  • Vice Chair: Joy San Buenaventura

Labor & Public Employment (LAB)

  • Chair: Aaron Ling Johanson
  • Vice Chair: Daniel Holt

Legislative Management (LMG)

  • Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi
  • Vice Chair: John M. Mizuno

Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)

  • Chair: Kaniela Ing
  • Vice Chair: Cedric Gates

Public Safety (PBS)

  • Chair: Gregg Takayama
  • Vice Chair: Matthew S. LoPresti

Tourism (TOU)

  • Chair: Richard H.K. Onishi
  • Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Transportation (TRN)

  • Chair: Henry J.C. Aquino
  • Vice Chair: Sean Quinlan

Veterans, Military & International Affairs & Culture and the Arts (VMI)

  • Chair: Ken Ito
  • Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Water and Land (WAL)

  • Chair: Ryan I. Yamane
  • Vice Chair: Sam Satoru Kong