Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Legislature 2008 - Day 19 Highlights

This morning, the Health Committee voted to defer HB2680, the measure banning aspartame. Chair Green stated that he was not convinced by the testimony that there is a direct link between the artificial sweetener and medical ailments or death. Instead, he will introduce a resolution requesting the Department of Health to form a work group, including representatives who oppose aspartame, to study the issue and get back to the legislature with their findings and recommendations.

The Health Committee voted to pass the medical marijuana bill, HB2675, as amended in a House Draft 1. The bill advances to the joint Public Safety & Military Affairs/Judiciary committees.

The Transportation Committee passed a bill, HB2860 HD1, which exempts from the general excise and use taxes, fuel sold from a foreign trade zone for intrastate air transportation by common carriers.

The Water, Land, Ocean Resources & Hawaiian Affairs committee passed out HB3260 as an HD1. This bill establishes a fishing bag limit for uhu and goatfish. The limit proposes is no more than two kumu, two moano ukali, two munu, and two uhu per person, per day, for recreational, subsistence, or commercial purposes.

The joint Water, Land, Ocean Resources & Hawaiian Affairs/Agriculture committees passed out three Important Agricultural Lands bills, all with amendments. HB2807 provides incentives to landowners who designate their land as important agricultural lands, HB2357 establishes new policies for the districting and protection of land in agricultural districts designated as IAL, and HB2361 defines agricultural lands and designates ag lands as IAL.

In the noon hour floor session, the House stood for a moment of silence to remember Robert C. Oshiro, father of Representative Marcus Oshiro, who passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 12th from a sudden aortic aneurysm.

This afternoon, the Consumer Protection and Commerce committee advanced a medical liability bill, HB1992, HD1 with amendments. The HD2 includes changes to limit the bill to neighbor islands only, and to cap non-economic damages at $250,000 for low risk practices, and at $500,000 for high-risk practices (surgical practices). The bill, HB2001 HD1 to permit remote dispensing pharmacies was also passed out of committee with amendments.

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