East Hawaii News

Senate, House Pass Bills in Final Crossover

April 15, 2015, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated April 15, 8:57 AM
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Tuesday was a busy day for the Hawai’i State Senate as 135 House bills addressing areas such as domestic violence, beach protection, education, public safety, energy, and a variety of other measures that cover the health and well-being of residents in Hawai’i were passed.

Senate representatives say 197 total bills have passed the third reading by the Senate and will return to the House. Many of them will go into conference committees and undergo a settlement of differences between the House and Senate drafts before being negotiated to a final amended version.

“The Senate was prudent in passing out responsible House bills,” said Senator J. Kalani English, Senate Majority Leader. “These are reasonable proposals and we’re looking forward to conference to work out the details.”

Four of the bills passed by the Senate Tuesday include: HB321, HD1, SD, that establishes a system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; HB134, HD1, SD2, which extends county surcharge on State tax from half a percent for two, ten-year extensions to fund additional Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation transit routes; HB290, HD2, SD1, that appropriates funding for the construction of the Kona Judiciary Complex; and HB365, HD1, SD1 which appropriates money for body cameras for police officers.

Additional House measures that were passed by the Senate and hold significance include:

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HB124, HD2, SD2: Elections. Requires the office of election to implement elections by mail in a county with a population of less than 100,000, beginning with the 2016 primary election, and in each county with a population of less than 500,000, beginning with the 2018 primary election. Beginning in 2020, the measure would require all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail.

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HB58, HD1, SD2: Protective orders. Establishes a protective order card pilot program within the Honolulu family justice center to issue protective order cards upon request of individuals holding a long-term protective order issued by a court of the first circuit of the State.

HB464, HD1, SD1: Health. Appropriates funds for the purchase of an additional ambulance unit for the Kakaako community, HB1063, HD2, SD1, which provides funding for an additional ambulance for the Moanalua, Aliamanu, Red Hill, Salt Lake, and Foster Village community, and HB481, HD1, SD1 that makes an appropriation for an ambulance based in Makalei.

HB444, HD3, SD2: Beach Protection. Authorizes the use of certain transient accommodations tax revenues for beach restoration and conservation.

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HB1042, SD1: Agricultural lands. Appropriates funds for grants-in-aid to the counties for identifying and mapping important agricultural lands, preparing the finals submission package to the land use commission, and assistance with exploring county incentives for important agricultural lands.

HB1489, HD1, SD2: Special licenses plates for national parks. Authorizes the issuance of special license plates for Haleakala National Park and Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park.

HB858, HD2, SD2. Domestic violence. Permits the termination of residential rental agreements in cases of domestic violence.

HB538, HD2, SD2. Domestic violence. Requires wireless telecommunication service provides to release individuals from shares or family wireless plans, without charge, upon written request in documented instances of domestic violence.

HB1112, HD2, SD2. Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation. Requires the auditor to conduct a financial and management audit of HHSC every five years. Authorizes HHSC to negotiate master collective bargaining agreements for its employees. Authorizes a regional system of the Hawai’i health systems corporation, in collaboration with a private entity, to transition any one or more of its facilities to management and operation by a new nonprofit management entity. Appropriates an unspecified amount to the Department of Budget and Finance for an unspecified number of positions to coordinate the review of documents and examine the fiscal implications posted by a transition of any Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation facility to management and operation by a nonprofit management entity.

HB1354, HD1, SD2: Housing. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to several state agencies for the purposes of improving and increasing the existing public and affordable housing stock in the State. Requires a report to the 2016 and 2017 legislature on the set-aside plan for upkeep and maintenance of the housing facilities to be constructed.

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