Bill Related to Sex Trafficking Officially Vetoed
Eight bills that Governor David Ige announced he would veto on June 29 have been sent, along with his statement of objections to House and Senate leadership on Tuesday.
Among the bills was SB265, relating to sex trafficking, which would have changed the way sex trafficking is charged, providing a more victim-centered approach to combating the issue.
In June, Governor Ige explained his reason for the veto as stemming from the advice of Attorney General Doug Chin and three out of four of the county prosecutors who believe the bill could lead to fewer prosecutions for the crimes.
Governor Ige said during a June veto intention meeting that he understood the concerns of advocates.
“I understand the concerns raised about exploitation of women that have driven advocates to seek strong penalties for sex trafficking. Unfortunately, this measure creates a special crime that eliminates the opportunity for prosecution of lesser related offenses,” Ige explained.
Shortly after Governor Ige’s announcement to veto the bill relating to sex trafficking, Attorney General Chin released a statement in support.
“I support the intent of this important legislation. The final version of the bill, unfortunately, contains provisions which might actually impair law enforcement’s ability to address crimes involving prostitution and sex trafficking,” said Chin. “If passed in its final version, the bill might even prevent law enforcement from successfully prosecuting certain crimes involving sex trafficking of some juveniles or profiting from the acts of another who forced a victim to engage in prostitution.
“In addition to myself, the prosecuting attorneys from Hawaiʻi, Honolulu, and Maui counties all asked Governor Ige to veto the final version of this bill. The Legislature has called for a penal code review committee to meet this year to review all criminal laws and make recommendations for legislation in 2016. Improving human trafficking laws will be part of that discussion.”
Governor Ige says he encouraged the Attorney General and county prosecutors to come up with a bill that would allow a full range of prosecution and sex trafficking offenses.
Hawai’i is the last state to implement a law that is specific to sex trafficking, although human trafficking is banned under law.
In addition to SB265, Governor Ige officially vetoed the following bills:
HB540 – Relating to the UH Accounting and Financial Management System
Extends authority of UH to maintain separate accounting and financial management system.
HB553 – Relating to Collective Bargaining
Allows UH graduate student assistants employed by UH to collectively bargain their wages, hours, and other terms.
SB105 – Relating to the Budget
Requires estimate of future debt service for proposed CIP projects to be included in the budget documents submitted to the legislature.
SB218 – Relating to the Officer of Succession
Clarifies the order of succession to the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
SB265 – Relating to Sex Trafficking
Changes wording in statute from “promoting prostitution in the first degree” to “sex trafficking.”
SB349 – Relating to Taxation
Repeals ethanol facility tax credit; establishes a 5-year renewable fuels production tax credit.