Women’s marches in Hawaii and around the world show solidarity for women’s rights
The health and safety of children, access to healthcare, and protecting women from violence 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.
Members of the Women’s Legislative Caucus seek to promote sound legislation that represent the diverse interests of women across the state and improve the well-being of women, children and families.
“I want all women in Hawaii to know that they have rights and that those rights will be protected under the law,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa). “I was proud to take part in the Women’s March in Honolulu to show that we stand together and will be heard.”
“By coming together as the Women’s Legislative Caucus, we’re able to focus on measures that make positive changes in our communities,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui). “When we create equal access to healthcare and opportunities for the women and children of Hawaii, we create healthier and safer communities for everyone.”
“This package of bills covers two main areas that continue to be important to all women in the State of Hawaii including access to health care and decreasing violence against women,” said Representative Lauren Matsumoto (Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, Mililani). “We continue to propose legislation that will protect and make life better for women.”
Many of the issues addressed within the caucus package reflect the concerns of women nationwide. Several state legislators joined in the Women’s March held in cities across Hawaii, the nation and around the world, in support of gender equality and civil.
“It was empowering and gratifying to be a part of the historic Women’s March in Washington D.C.,” said Senator Laura Thielen (Waimanalo, Hawaii Kai). “The work we do at the state level to ensure that women’s rights are not diminished will be an important step in taking action on the message of unity and solidarity demonstrated over the weekend.”
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://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=package&pkey=12&year=2017&name=Women%27s%20Legislative%20Caucus .
The House and Senate bills submitted by the Women’s Legislative Caucus for the 2017 session include:
ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE
Requires all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services. Establishes privacy and disclosure requirements for individual records and information. Authorizes civil penalties and civil actions for enforcement and remedy.
Removes discriminatory requirements for mandatory insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization procedures to create parity of coverage for same-sex couples, unmarried women, and male-female couples for whom male infertility is the relevant factor.
Requires health insurance coverage for case management services by licensed mental health providers for victims of sexual violence.
Limits initial prescriptions for opioids and benzodiazepines to a maximum of seven consecutive days.
Requires an opioid therapy informed consent process agreement to be executed between a patient and any prescriber of opioids within the State under certain conditions. Requires the administrator of the narcotics enforcement division to develop and make available a template of an opioid therapy informed consent process agreement for use in the State. Specifies the contents of the template. Limits initial prescriptions for opioids and benzodiazepines to a maximum of seven consecutive days.
ADDRESSING AND REDUCING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Requires annual reporting to the legislature by the AG of statistical data pertaining to the testing of sexual assault evidence collection kits. Provides certain rights to sexual assault survivors. Institutes mandatory testing requirements in accordance with AG guidelines. Requires AG to report to 2018 legislature on the progress of implementing AG guidelines.
Removes redundant investigating and reporting requirements of the Department of Human Services and the family courts 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.
Creates the Hawaii Working Family Tax Credit, a refundable credit capped at 10 percent of the federal earned income tax credit.
Prohibits enforced wage secrecy and retaliation or discrimination against employees who disclose, discuss, or inquire about their own or co-workers’ wages.
CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND SAFETY
Formally establishes the Hawaii keiki: healthy and ready to learn program within the department of education. Establishes a special fund and appropriates $4,000,000 to expand and sustain the program.
Requires DHS to publish reports of child care facility inspections 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.
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.
Authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptive supplies to patients, regardless of a previous prescription from an authorized prescriber. Specifies requirements pharmacists must meet prior to prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies.
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.
Amends insurance coverage requirements for in vitro fertilization to allow for expanded applicability.
Allows an employee to take family leave in addition to victim leave when the leave is related to domestic or sexual violence against the employee or the employee’s minor child. Requires an employee to submit certification related to domestic or sexual violence of the employee or the employee’s minor child. Requires employer confidentiality of information related to domestic or sexual violence against the employee or the employee’s minor child.
Requires any state or county agency to provide domestic abuse intervention training to their personnel whose job duties require or may require intervention in a domestic abuse situation.
Requires licensees under the board of barbering and cosmetology to complete a one-time, one-hour training program on intimate partner violence awareness and education.
Specifies that citizen complaints against a police officer that involve allegations of domestic abuse against a family or household member on the part of the police officer shall not be required to be in writing or sworn to by the complainant.
Amends the composition of the county police commissions to require that three commissioners on each police commission have backgrounds, including equality for women, civil rights, and law enforcement, for the benefit of the public.
Establishes a 6-week paid maternity and paternity leave policy for government employees to ensure that Hawaii’s working families are adequately supported during times of needing to provide care to a newborn or bond with a new child.
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 such a child to DHS.
Allows a civil action for recovery of damages to be brought by persons subjected to sexual offenses as a minor against the person who committed the act at any time by repealing the statute of limitations. Repeals the period during which a victim of child sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against the victim’s abuser or an entity with a duty of care, including the State and counties.