Hawai'i State News

House Majority introduces bill package for 2024 Hawaiʻi Legislative Session

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The majority caucus of the Hawaiʻi House of Representatives has introduced nine bills aimed at addressing several critical issues throughout the state as part of its bill package for the 2024 Hawaiʻi Legislative Session.

The nine bills are:

HB1833 – Relating to the rental housing revolving fund

  • This measure would appropriate funds in and out of the state’s rental housing revolving fund to provide loans or grants for mixed-income rental projects or units in mixed-income rental projects for qualifying individuals and families. It also would appropriate funds for an unspecified number of finance specialist positions to assist with the loans and grants.

HB1834 – Relating to the Hawaiʻi Department of Human Services

  • This bill would appropriate funds to increase the department’s homeless programs office budget: “Tackling homelessness remains a top priority of the House Majority,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti. “Recognizing that Hawaiʻi’s homeless service providers have not received an increase in their state contracts for over a decade, House Bill 1834 seeks to shore up resources for the much-needed outreach, coordination, treatment, and supportive housing services that are needed to help individuals move from the streets to more stable housing in our communities.”

HB1831 – Relating to crisis prevention

  • The measure would establish a behavioral health crisis center pilot program and appropriate funds for it.

HB1830 – Relating to mental health

  • This bill would establish provisional or associate-level licensure requirements for marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors and psychologists and authorize insurance reimbursements in certain circumstances. It also would require psychologist license applicants to possess a doctoral degree and complete certain supervised experience requirements before sitting for the licensing examination. Furthermore, it would authorize insurance reimbursements for services provided by a supervised social work intern in certain circumstances and appropriate the necessary funds.

“Mental health continues to have a major impact on our communities at a time when we are facing a shortage of mental health professionals,” said Rep. Cory M. Chun. “The purpose of House Bill 1830 is to address this shortage by encouraging our future mental health professionals including psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and social workers to remain in Hawaiʻi while actively pursuing their professional licensing.”

HB1832 – Relating to hiring

  • This measure would authorize a state department, division or agency, rather than the Hawaiʻi Department of Human Resources Development, to conduct a minimum qualification review of applicants for vacant positions. It also would require the Department of Human Resources Development to provide state departments, divisions and agencies the applications received for vacancies under certain circumstances.

“A quarter of state positions are currently vacant, and that number is set to rise in the next five years. The state needs to do a better job of hiring state workers to keep essential government services functioning. One of the barriers to hiring is that it takes three to six months to call an applicant back,” said Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi. “This bill will allow government departments to review their own applications for job postings, bypassing DHRD, and allowing quick responses to jobseekers.”


HB1828 – Relating to energy-efficiency portfolio standards

  • This bill would extend the state’s energy-efficiency portfolio standards from 2030 to 2045 and authorize the state Public Utilities Commission to establish interim goals.

HB1829 – Relating to electric vehicle charging infrastructure

  • This bill would require that if parking is to be included in any new state building construction, the design provide that at least 25% of parking stalls be electric vehicle charger-ready. It also would require the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office, in consultation with the Hawaiʻi Department of Accounting and General Services and Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, to conduct a survey to identify certain high-priority state facilities. Furthermore, the bill would establish a goal to retrofit state facilities to be electric vehicle charger-ready, require a report to the Legislature and appropriate necessary funds.

“EV sales have risen 30% in the past year and are expected to continue to increase with the availability of more affordable and convenient EV models. Providing workplace charging has multiple benefits—it shifts demand for energy to daytime hours when electricity is cheaper and cleaner and provides a charging option for potential EV drivers who may live in condos, rent or are unable to charge at home for other reasons, bringing equity to the clean transportation transition,” said Big Island state Rep. Nicole Lowen. “HB 1829 will direct the state to lead by example by facilitating more EV charging at state workplaces.”

HB1827 – Relating to health care workforce development

  • This measure would appropriate funds to the Hawaiʻi Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and Hawaiʻi Department of Education to support health care workforce development programs, specifically the public high school health care workforce certificate program and glidepath program for certified nurse aides. It also would require these appropriations to be matched using a state-to-private-funds ratio of 3:1. Furthermore, it would appropriate money to renovate and equip certain public high school classrooms to be used for health care training and declare that the appropriations exceed the state general fund expenditure ceiling for 2024-25.

HB1826 – Relating to education for mental health professionals

  • This bill would appropriate funds for temporary positions to support the statewide expansion of the University of Hawaiʻi Windward Community College’s mental health-related programs: “This cost-effective solution to our shortage of mental health care providers grows our workforce from the bottom up, by providing entry level workers with opportunities to build skills and credentials through our existing community college network,” said Rep. Lisa Marten.

“As we embark on the second year of the 32nd Legislature, the House Majority Caucus will continue to address key community issues, including affordable housing and homelessness, renewable energy, mental health needs in our community and the shortage of healthcare workers across our state,” said House Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura of Kaua‘i. “Additionally, we remain committed to addressing the impacts of the Maui wildfires and helping all of Hawaiʻi’s residents thrive.”

To track the status of the nine bills in the majority’s package, click here.

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