Legislatively Speaking: 03-18-19

The legislative session is now at “cross-over,” which is when bills that have passed the House are sent to the Senate for consideration, and bills that have passed the Senate are sent to the House. Today’s article will highlight some of the House bills I introduced that have crossed over to the Senate. There are many other important House bills and Senate bills that are being considered that aren’t included here. For further information on any of these bills, please check out the legislature’s website www.capitol.hawaii.gov or contact our House District 7 office at 808-586-8510 or by email at reptarnas@capitol.hawaii.gov. Mahalo!

Government Efficiency:

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Living in rural Hawaii, many of us feel that the long distance from our homes to the Capitol and other centers of government makes it difficult for us to participate effectively. That is why I introduced two measures that expand the allowable means of communication for citizens to take part in government procedures, specifically in the legislative process and in the judicial process.

• HB 1153 requires that the State House and State Senate establish procedures for the public to present oral testimony at legislative committee hearings via the Internet, telephone, or other telecommunications technology.

• HB 766 creates a task force to review allowing service of notice by email in civil and administrative proceedings.

Disaster Relief for Puna:

• HB 1180 appropriates funds for disaster relief to the County of Hawaii to help Puna recover from damages caused by the lava flow.

Education:

• HB 247 appropriates funds to the DOE to install air conditioning in public schools throughout the state.

• HB 330 appropriates funds for youth suicide early intervention, prevention and education.

• HB 615 adds a nonvoting public-school teacher to the Board of Education.

• HB 813 extends the Hawaii Promise Program to four-year degrees if the applicant received support from the Hawaii Promise Program during Community College.

• HB 1143 ensures higher pay for teachers who accept long term assignments at hard-to-staff schools.

Agriculture:

• HB 144 requires Kona coffee blend to contain at least 51% Kona Coffee, and requires coffee blend labels to disclose regional origins.

• HB 616 exempts locally grown produce and meat from the general excise tax.

• HB 451 appropriates funds to the Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts to support their work with farmers and ranchers to develop soil conservation plans.

Environmental Protection:

• HB 297 directs the Department of Agriculture to review the possibility of importing sterile male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria to release into the wild, which would reduce the population of this mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito can carry dengue fever.

• HB 1460 allows DLNR to use the boating special fund to support the day-use mooring buoy system throughout the state.

• HB 425 appropriates funds for an additional full-time Environmental Health Specialist position on Hawaii Island.

• HB 549 requires new developments to plan for the impacts of projected sea level rise.

• HB 558 appropriates funds for lifeguards and equipment at Kua Bay.

• HB 562 creates a construction waste reuse and recycling group.

Health:

• HB 467 strengthens the Kupuna Caregivers Program.

• HB 468 appropriates funds for the healthy aging partnership program.

• HB 469 requires health insurance policies to provide coverage for hearing aids.

• HB 1272 authorizes pharmacies to accept the return of prescription drugs for disposal.

• HB 295 amends the definition of domestic abuse to include emotional abuse.

Consumer Protection:

• HB 314 requires issuers of gift certificates to redeem the remaining value of a gift certificate for cash if the gift certificate has a value of less than $5.

• HB 488 prohibits written nondisclosure agreements involving sexual assault as part of an employee’s condition of employment.

• HB 1217 makes voter registration a mandatory part of all driver’s license applications.

Housing and Homelessness:

• HB 419 allows counties to receive state funding to enforce transient accommodations laws.

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• HB 1451 extends until June 30, 2022 several programs to assist those who are homeless including the Ohana Zones Pilot Program, the Emergency Department Homelessness Assessment Pilot Program and the Medical Respite Pilot Program.

• HB 257 authorizes the use of private lands for the Ohana Zones Pilot Program.

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