Hawaii State Senate Introduces More Than One Thousand Bills

This year, the Hawaii State Legislature introduced 2,894 bills. The Hawaii State Senate introduced 1,379 bills on this first year of the 28th Legislative biennium. The House introduced 1,515 bills.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 was the deadline for bill introductions. The measures were sent to their respective committees for consideration. The measures that are passed out of the committee(s) are sent to the Senate Floor to be voted on by the entire Senate body.

The First Crossover deadline is on Thursday, March 12, 2015. This is the last day for a final vote on a bill to occur in its originating chamber before it is passed on to the other chamber for further consideration. During First Crossover, all Senate bills that pass Third Reading must crossover to the House and all House bills that pass Third Reading must crossover to the Senate.

To see the current list of all Senate Bills introduced this Session, click on the link to the website report: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2015&report=deadline&active=true&rpt_type=&measuretype=sb&title=Senate%20Bills%20Introduced.

You can also access that list and other lists of current legislation by going to the Legislature’s website, www.capitol.hawaii.gov, by clicking on the “Reports and Lists” button on the home page, and selecting one of the many lists and reports available. The reports are easily downloadable. On these reports, you can also find specific bills; just enter (Ctrl-F) and type in keywords to search through the titles, descriptions and report titles in the list.

Sen. Russell Ruderman Introduces Bills Addressing Big Island Issues

Sen. Russell Ruderman has introduced a number of bills this session to address Puna/Big Island’s unique issues.

“These bills need your support,” said Ruderman.  “Big Island endured serious damage from a tropical storm last year and faces uncertainty due to the impending lava flow.  Many of the bills I have introduced could help our district to be better prepared for disasters in the future.  I am also committed to focusing on food and agricultural sustainability this session.”

Several of the bills have already been scheduled for hearing. It is hoped that constituents in the Puna area begin tracking the bills on their individual Capitol webpage and submit testimony in support when a Bill is scheduled.

Below is a list of bills that Ruderman has introduced that relate to Puna and/or Big Island issues:

Conservation; Department of Land and Natural Resources; Sandalwood; Penalties; Fees
Prohibits the sale, export, and possession with intent to sell or export raw or unprocessed sandalwood timber, including whole or partial raw logs. Establishes penalties for the sale, export, or possession with the intent to sell or export raw or unprocessed sandalwood timber and establishes a violation as a misdemeanor.

Aquatic Life; Aquarium Permits; Fish; Sale of Aquatic Life for Aquarium Use Prohibited
Criminalizes the sale of aquatic life for aquarium use and establishes the penalties for first and subsequent violations. Amends existing aquarium fish permit law to conform to the ban. Takes effect on 1/1/2016.

Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation
Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

Elections; Voting; Elections by Mail; Absentee Voting; Appropriation
Enable the office of elections to implement elections by mail in any interested county, beginning with the 2016 primary election. By 2018, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail. Enables absentee walk-in voting to continue prior to election day. Ensures limited polling sites in each county remain open on election day for absentee walk-in voting and to receive mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

Puna Community Medical Center; Mobile Health Unit; Annex Medical Clinic; Emergency Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds as an emergency appropriation to the Puna Community Medical Center for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

Rat Lungworm Disease; Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii at Hilo for programs and studies related to rat lung worm disease.

Property Insurance; Hawaii Property Insurance Association; Renewal
Requires the renewal of property insurance, but permits insurers to deny renewal for nonpayment of an undisputed premium by a policyholder.

Invasive Species; Albizia Trees; Appropriation ($)
Makes an appropriation to the Hawaii invasive species council for the coordinated management of albizia trees on Hawaii island and throughout the State.

Coffee; Labeling; Geographic or Regional Origins; Percentage of Content Requirement; Hawaii-grown Coffee
Requires a specific listing of the geographic origins of various Hawaii-grown coffees and the geographic or regional origins of the various coffees not grown in Hawaii that are included in a coffee blend to be listed on the front panel of a label. Increases the minimum percentage requirement for coffee blends to use geographic origin in labeling or advertising to 80 per cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin. Effective January 1, 2016.

Emergencies and Disasters; Postponed Elections; Distribution of Voting Results
Requires the chief election officer or county clerk to exercise existing powers to postpone an election in affected precincts when the right to vote is substantially impaired due to an emergency or natural disaster. Prohibits the distribution of results from any precinct, whether or not designated for postponement, until after the final closing of the polls for an election postponed due to an emergency or disaster.

Hooulu Lahui; Appropriation; Grant ($)
Appropriates funds to Hooulu Lahui to complete construction of a community certified kitchen in lower Puna.

Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance; Puna; Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii, including the acquisition of a vehicle and equipment and personnel costs for state-certified emergency medical services personnel.

Puna Small Boat Harbor; General Obligation Bonds; Appropriation ($)
Authorizes the director of finance to issue general obligation bonds to finance the design and construction of a small boat harbor in South Puna.

Airport; Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds for construction of a small airport in South Puna due to the threat of inaccessibility from lava flow.

For assistance in submitting testimony online or for outer island residents who want to testify by video, contact the Public Access Room at: http://lrbhawaii.org/par/

A complete list of bills Introduced by Senator Ruderman can be found here:


All bills introduced this session here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/main.aspx

Senator Josh Green schedules hearing on Health Insurance Coverage for Autistic Children

State Senator Josh Green M.D. (D – Kona, Kau), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, has scheduled a hearing on SB 791, RELATING TO AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS, which would require health insurers to provide coverage for autism diagnosis and treatment.

The hearing will be held on Friday, February 6 at 1:15 PM in Room 414 of the State Capitol.

“The autism rate has soared to as high as 1 in 68 children,” Green said, “and families across Hawaii are struggling with the enormous costs of the treatment they need to give their kids the best chance to lead healthy, productive lives.”

Green fought to pass similar legislation during the 2014 legislative session, and introduced SB 791 for the 2015 session on January 23 of this year. Experts on autism and affected families from Hawaii and across the country and are expected to offer testimony before the Senate Health Committee on February 6.

“Over 38 states have passed legislation to ensure that treatment for autism is covered by health insurance,” Green said, “because they know the huge financial costs of leaving autism left untreated, both to families and to the state.”

“It’s time for us to do the right thing for Hawaii’s kids and families struggling with autism,” Green said.

Green is an Emergency Room doctor with 15 years of experience caring for Hawaii’s families on Big Island.


For more information, contact Senator Josh Green at (808) 937-0991 or at sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov

$4 million Released for Waimea District/Regional Park

Sen. Lorraine Inouye (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) today announced Governor David Ige’s release of $4 million in general obligation bond funds appropriated by the Legislature to finance construction of various improvements to the Waimea District/ Regional Park. The administration notified stakeholders last month of the release of funds.

With matching funds from the County of Hawaii, the monies will implement Phase 1 of the master-planned 50-acre park that will offer diversified types of recreational activities including active play areas such as fields for soccer, baseball, and football, a community gymnasium, a multi-purpose community

Photo from pbrhawaii.com (PBR Hawaii & Associates, Inc.)

Photo from pbrhawaii.com (PBR Hawaii & Associates, Inc.)

building, a multi-use walkway and trail system, and other passive recreational areas.

The first phase is slated to cover 24 acres and includes work on a covered play court, multi-use community building, pavilion, two football/rugby/soccer fields, one youth baseball/softball field, and a multi-use walkway and trail. The second phase would add 26 acres and thus convert the facility to a regional park.

“I’m pleased that the governor released the much-needed and long-overdue funding for plans, designs and construction for this valued recreational facility in West Hawaii,” said Inouye. “Once the work is completed, it will benefit our community members by filling a void in both indoor and outdoor athletic and recreational activities. Everyone is excited about it and we’re looking forward to thrilling sporting events in the future.”


Women’s Legislative Caucus’ Package Focuses on Safety and Well-Being of Women

DSC_0626The Women’s Legislative Caucus, consisting of members from both the state Senate and House, today announced a joint package of measures for the 2015 legislative session.

The package of bills cover five areas of concern to women of all ages and economic background, including improving reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assaults, reducing violence and sexual assaults on college campuses, ensuring women’s access to healthcare, addressing Hawaii’s high cost of living faced by working families, and restoring public trust of Hawaii’s law enforcement community.

“Domestic violence, campus assaults, perceived unsympathetic law enforcement officials—all of these issues remain ongoing concerns for women of all ages from all backgrounds,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa). “Whenever we think we are making progress, reports like the recent Star Advertiser article on the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of 55 college campuses across the nation punctures that balloon.”

“It shows we need to continue to press our case for better reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assault on our schools campuses, for greater transparency and accountability from our law enforcement entities, for better access to health care for women, and for greater support for women who are often more vulnerable to the high cost of living in Hawaii.”

“This year’s caucus package represents the collaborative work of women legislators and the Women’s Coalition, the community counterpart to the Women’s Legislative Caucus,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui). “These bills address some of the important societal issues facing women and girls – security in home, workplace and community.

“In the package we also highlight our concern for women’s health.  Breast and cervical cancer still goes undetected for too many women in Hawaii.  One of our bills will provide funding to expand screening and treatment services to underserved, at-risk women.  These cancers can be successfully treated and cured, if found early.  This bill’s modest investment will save suffering, healthcare costs and lives.  Together, our package will help to create a safer and healthier environment and contribute to a better quality of life for Hawaii’s women and their families.”

“Our state has the highest cost of living in the nation and we are in dire need of affordable housing,” added Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland (Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown).  “A 2011 housing study informed the state that we will be 50,000 housing units short by 2016.  This creates a perfect storm for many low-income earners, many of whom are women supporting their families, who are trying to get by paycheck to paycheck and keep a roof over their heads. Amending the income tax credit for low-income renters is one strategic component that will put more money in their pockets to support their families.”

“Different decades of women banding together can make a powerful sisterhood which will make our communities, state and world a safer and better place,” said Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay).

This year’s package is dedicated to the Women’s Coalition in recognition of their commitment and advocacy for women and girls.

The Women’s Coalition, established in 1990 by former State Representative Annelle Amaral, is a coalition of community organizations and volunteers from across the state that raise awareness and advocate for important issues to women and families.  Through its own collaborative processes, the Women’s Coalition assists the Caucus in creating its legislative practice.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is made up of all the female members of the state House and Senate.  Each year the caucus presents a package of bills relevant to the well-being of women and families and supports the bills throughout the legislative session. Belatti, Baker, Chun Oakland and Thielen serve as co-chairs of the Caucus.


HB446/SB384, relating to the Confidentiality Program, Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund and Confidentiality Program Grant Fund

Establishes the Address Confidentiality Program to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault relocate and keep their addresses confidential.  Creates the Address Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund.

HB447/SB390, relating to domestic abuse, Department of Human Services and Family Court

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.

HB448/SB386, relating to domestic violence fatality reviews and Department of Health

Requires the Department of Health to conduct reviews of domestic violence fatalities, near-deaths, and suicides.  Requires the DOH to enter into a memorandum of understanding to develop procedures for obtaining information relating to near-deaths resulting from intimate partner assaults.  Requires reviews to commence within one year following the death, near-death, or suicide.  Requires information and recommendations from the review process to be compiled for system reform efforts.

HB453/SB391, relating to psychologists continuing education, ethics and domestic violence

Amends the continuing education requirement for psychologists to include at least three credit hours of ethics training and at least two credit hours of domestic violence training.

HB452/SB393, relating to statewide sexual assault services, the Attorney General, base budget and appropriations

Appropriates funds to increase the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services for fiscal biennium 2016-2017 to $2,380,000 per fiscal year. Beginning with the 2017-2018 fiscal year, requires the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services to be at least $2,380,000 per fiscal year.


HB451/SB387, relating to affirmative consent and the University of Hawaii system

Requires the University of Hawaii system to establish and enforce an affirmative consent standard for all policies and protocols relating to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as a condition of receiving state funds for student assistance.


HB455/SB385, relating to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, the Department of Health and appropriations

Appropriates funds to the Department of Health for the breast and cervical cancer control program.


HB454/SB392, relating to the income tax credit and low-income household renters

Amends income tax credit for low-income household renters to adjust for inflation.  Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015.


HB449/SB388, relating to county police departments, domestic violence policies and standards of conduct

Requires each county police department to post its policies relating to domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct on its official website.

HB450/SB389, relating to police commissioners, county police commissions, composition and requirements

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.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=package&pkey=12&year=2015&name=Women%27s+Legislative+Caucus

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