KAILUA-KONA — West Hawaii Today’s been following a lot of bills in the state House of Representatives and Senate this legislative session, from funding to widen Kuakini Highway and acquire ambulance for Makalei to protecting sharks and rays and prohibiting commercial aquarium fishing.
The following is the first of two lists providing an update on those measures as of Friday evening. To submit testimony on any of the bills, visit capitol.hawaii.gov and enter the bill number in the bill status/measure status box. From there, select submit testimony.
• Kona Jet Center funding request making headway
The House is set to take up a bill to authorize the state to issue up to $50 million in special purpose revenue bonds to assist in developing the Kona Jet Center at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.
Senate Bill 652 passed a third vote on the full Senate floor Tuesday and was sent to the House for further consideration. It was referred to hearings before the Committee on Transportation and the Committee on Finance after passing first reading.
A companion bill, House Bill 203, failed to secure any committee hearings, effectively leaving it dead on arrival.
• Airports authority change effort continues
Senate Bill 666, which would shift authority over the state’s airports from the Department of Transportation to an independent airports corporation, has been transmitted to the House for further consideration.
That follows the measure passing third reading on the Senate floor Tuesday. After passing first reading in the House Thursday, it was referred for hearings before the Committee on Transportation, a Joint Committee on Labor and Judiciary and Committee on Finance.
• Water desalination plant bill moving along
House representatives are set to consider a bill authorizing issuing special purpose revenue bonds to build and operate solar-powered saltwater desalination plants on Hawaii Island.
The measure, Senate Bill 1440, would allow the state to issue $100 million in bonds to assist Trevi Systems Inc. and Kona Coast Water in bringing operational two or more plants to desalinate water using 100 percent renewable solar energy and supply it to customers on Hawaii Island, and potentially other islands as well.
After passing through a third reading in the Senate, the bill was transmitted to the House where it passed first reading. It’s now awaiting hearings before the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection and the Committee on Finance.
• Consideration of TNC rules continues
A pair of bills that would codify the state’s management of ride-sharing networks, such as Uber and Lyft, continue to move through the Legislature.
Senate Bill 1161 and its companion, House Bill 1093 would establish a series of rules for “transportation network companies” that would include requiring companies to obtain a permit from the Department of Transportation to operate and maintain records of driver applicants’ criminal history, among other things. Hawaii County Code does not address TNCs.
SB 1161 passed a Senate floor vote and was sent to the House for further consideration. After passage on first reading, it’s now awaiting hearings before the Committee on Transportation, Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, and Committee on Finance.
HB 1093 also succeeded on a floor vote to cross over to the Senate. The bill passed its first reading in the chamber and was referred for hearings before a Joint Committee on Transportation and Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health followed by the Committee on Ways and Means.
• Measure to protect sharks, rays alive
Measures to make it a misdemeanor to knowingly kill, capture or abuse any variety of shark or ray in state waters continue to make their way through the Legislature.
Senate Bill 489 passed a floor vote Tuesday after successful making its way through the Senate. After first reading, it was assigned for hearings before the Committee on Water, Land and Hawaiian Affairs and Judiciary.
Meanwhile, House Bill 808 passed a third reading in the House and was transmitted to the Senate. Following first reading, the bill’s awaiting hearings before the Senate Committee on Water and Land and then a Joint Committee on Judiciary and Ways and Means.
• More disclosure on coffee labeling crosses over
A House bill that would require coffee blend labels to disclose more details about origins and limit the use of a geographic origin in labeling and advertising passed a third reading in the chamber Tuesday and was transmitted to the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 144 is now awaiting hearings before the Committee on Agriculture and Environment and Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health after passing first reading in the Senate.
A companion bill, Senate Bill 888, failed to secure any committee hearings, effectively leaving it dead on arrival.
• Expanding access to address invasive species continues
House Bill 201, which would change language to allow access to private property to address invasive species, will be heard Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment after crossing over from the House and passing first reading in the Senate. After that committee, the bill needs to secure a hearing before the Committee on Judiciary.
The measure would expand existing law allowing access to private property to include private lands on which invasive species can be “reasonably suspected” to exist “based on the results of systematic surveys or reports or proximity to known populations.”
• Alcohol ban for DUI offenders heads to Senate
Legislation that would prohibit anyone convicted of DUI or habitual DUI from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol for a period of three years following conviction or administrative license revocation has crossed over to the Senate.
House Bill 703 also seeks to lower the threshold for the offense of habitual DUI from three or more convictions in 10 years to two or more convictions in a decade. The bill passed a third reading in the House and was sent to the Senate. Senators voted to pass the bill on first reading Tuesday, and referred it to a Joint Committee on Transportation and Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, and a Joint Committee on Judiciary and Ways and Means.
• No change to R-T-D coffee labeling
Senate Bill 894 and House Bill 143, which would have the applied current labeling regulations, as well as any subsequently passed changes to those regulations, to ready-to-drink coffee products died this session, died after not securing hearings before the second committees to which they were referred.
• Effort to curtail counterfeit coffee stalls
Senate Bill 869, which would require the Department of Agriculture inspect and certify all Hawaii-grown green coffee beans for grade and origin if shipped out of the district of origin, except for shipments of 100 pounds or less is dead after failing to secure a hearing before the second committees to which it was referred.