Hawai‘i Senate Moves on Landmark Measures

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The Hawai‘i State Senate passed several bills during final reading on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, that position the Legislature to be a national leader in environment and health.

In passing Senate Bill 2571 SD2 HD2 CD1, Hawai‘i is the first state in the nation to ban the sale of all sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, chemicals that scientific research has found to be toxic to coral.  The bill delays the effective date of the ban until January 1, 2021 to allow for the reformulation of sunscreen to prevent further increase of skin cancer in Hawai‘i. This measure is a step towards preserving the state’s marine ecosystem which is both an important cultural foundation and an economic asset.

Senate Bill 3095 SD1 HD1 CD1 restricts pesticide use within 100 feet of a school during instructional hours and it bans the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Hawai‘i is the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos. The measure protects the State’s children, elderly, and vulnerable individuals from the unintended impacts of large-scale agricultural pesticide use.

These, along with the other important measures that passed final reading this Legislative Session, align with the Senate Legislative Program that was consigned to at the beginning of the 2018 Legislative Session. The program is made up of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that provide a framework for improving the quality of life for all people of Hawai‘i.

“What we’ve been able to accomplish this Session is a template for the planet,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountyr Maui, Moloka‘i Lanai‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “The world is watching how Hawai‘i is taking the lead in ensuring the protection and sustainability of our people, communities and natural resources while remaining economically prosperous on a global scale. The Senate worked tirelessly to introduce and pass measures that would improve the quality of life for our people and the world.”


The Senate passed a number of significant measures that address other priorities in the Senate Legislative Program, including Ending Poverty, Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

In addressing homelessness and affordable housing, the State Budget, HB1900 HD1 SD1 CD1, provides $15 million to fund homeless programs and services such as Housing First, Rapid Re-Housing, and Family Assessment Centers.  HB2748 HD2 SD2 CD1 provides an unprecedented total of $200 million into the Rental Housing Trust Fund (RHTF), to generate approximately 1,600 affordable rental housing units for families at or below 80 percent AMI; appropriates $10 million into the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund (DURF) for interim construction financing of affordable housing project; and appropriates $50,000 to prepare an assessment of housing needs for persons with low or no income.  Additionally, HB2748 expands the general excise tax exemption for construction of 24,000 affordable rental units for families at or below 140 percent AMI. The exemption will increase from $7 million (enacted in 2017) to $30 million per year and will be extended from 2022 to 2030. This exemption is valued at $360 million over 12 years. SB2401 SD2 HD1 CD1 and SB2027 SD2 HD1 CD1 provide a total of $34.7 million to fund Ohana Zones and support medical services for the homeless statewide.

SB2351 SD1 HD1 CD1  addresses gender discrimination by prohibiting employers from requesting or considering a job applicant’s wage or salary history as part of an employment application process or compensation offer. 

SB2990 SD2 HD1 CD1 establishes the Paid Family Leave Implementation Board to assist the Department of Human Services in establishing paid family leave for all workers in the State.


HB1489 HD1 SD2 CD1 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation, in any state educational program or activity, or in any educational program or activity that receives state financial assistance.

SB2046 SD1 HD1 prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer, and possession of bump fire stocks, multi-burst trigger activators, and trigger cranks.

HB2071 HD2 SD2 CD1 establishes a statewide standards board to recommend certification and de-certification requirements for state and county law enforcement officers who carry firearms and badges and have arrest authority.

Voters will decide in November how to support public education with SB2922 SD1 HD1 which proposes amendments to the Constitution of the State of Hawai‘i to authorize the Legislature to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on investment real property to support public education.


Hawai‘i also joined six other states to allow a mentally capable, terminally ill adult with six months or less to live, the freedom to make their own end-of-life decisions, with the earlier passage of HB2739, that was signed into law (Act 002) on April 5, 2018.

In an effort to provide immediate funding for those impacted by the recent flooding, SB192 SD1 HD1 CD1 provides $125 million in aid for the communities on Kaua‘i, East O‘ahu and Waimānalo.

With the exception of SB2922 and HB2739, these bills are now enrolled to the Governor for his approval or veto.

A complete list of the bills that passed in final reading is available at

To view the 2018 Senate Legislative Program, visit

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