As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the lives of women, children, and families in Hawaiʻi, members of the bipartisan Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus led a panel discussion on Thursday, January 27 in partnership with the YWCA of Oʻahu to announce their 2022 legislative package.
“As a co-convener of the Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus, I am proud to support this package to improve the health and safety of women and children in Hawaiʻi. Throughout this pandemic, we have seen the importance of access to quality health care, including for new mothers and their babies,” said Senator Michelle Kidani.
The package includes eight bills including measures to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months following the end of pregnancy; require insurers to cover mammography services at least as favorably as coverage for other radiological examinations; update and clarify duties of educational programs under state version of Title IX; require a community-based work furlough program for all eligible women; require annual reports on commercial sexual exploitation of children; develop a risk assessment tool specifically for female offenders; appropriate funds to train incarcerated women to be peer tutors, and appropriate funds to integrate children of incarcerated women into treatment programs.
“I look forward to engaging my colleagues on these measures, especially those to expand transparency and data collection on gender equity and commercial sexual exploitation of children. This information will give us a clearer picture of what is happening in our schools, colleges, and in the community,” said Representative Linda Ichiyama.
The caucus is dedicating its 2022 efforts to the 50th anniversary of Title IX, or the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, and to the late Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink. Congresswoman Mink co-authored Title IX in 1972, to ensure that future generations of women would not have to face the same barriers that she overcame in her career.
Congresswoman Mink was the first Japanese American woman admitted to practice law in Hawaii and the first woman of color in the United States Congress. “Congresswoman Mink was a trailblazer for women nationally, not just in Hawaiʻi," said Senator Rosalyn Baker.
"She was also a tireless advocate for gender equity in education and access to quality childcare for all families." “The Women’s Legislative Caucus will continue to work hard and engage stakeholders on issues that are important to women,” said Representative Lauren Matsumoto.
“Several of the bills in the package seek to address the challenges facing incarcerated women and how to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.” The Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus co-conveners for 2021-2022 are Senators Rosalyn Baker (D-6, South and West Maui) and Michelle Kidani (D-18, Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia) and Representatives Lauren Matsumoto (D-45, Schofield, Mokulē‘ia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, and Mililani) and Linda Ichiyama (D-32, Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake, and Āliamanu).
The Women's Legislative Caucus includes 10 women Senators 16 women Representatives in the House.