The state House of Representatives passed today nearly 150 Senate measures dealing with education, housing and homelessness, health, seniors, agriculture, invasive species and the environment, public safety and improving the quality of life for Hawaii residents.
Among the most significant bills passed by the House were SB1028 that attempts to harmonize the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with those of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care; SB1291 that establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; SB284 that sets up a funding mechanism for the purchase of the Turtle Bay conservation easement; SB287 that mandates and establishes a timetable for voting by mail for all Hawaii elections; SB1280 that requires the PUC to regulate transportation network companies such as Uber; SB387 that creates an affirmative consent task force on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking at the University of Hawaii; and SB265 that makes sex trafficking a Class A felony.
The majority of the bills, along with the nearly 140 House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.
Other notable Senate measures passed by the House included:
SB64, SD3, HD1, relating to the Preschool Open Doors Program. Makes appropriations for positions and the continued implementation of the Preschool Open Doors Program and for subsidies for the program.
SB822, SD1, HD2, relating to education and student hours. Clarifies the implementation schedule and calculation method for minimum number of days and student hours required for Department of Education schools in each school year. Applies the requirement for a 180 day, 1,080 hour school year to all school years beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.
SB1345, HD2, relating to multi-track schools. Requires the Department of Education to develop a transition plan to end multi-track schedules in public schools and report to the Legislature regarding the plan and any proposed legislation. Requires the DOE to give priority to overpopulated schools in making its annual capital improvement budget request to the Director of Finance.
SB854, SD2, HD2, relating to public school lands. Requires public school lands that are leased to benefit public educational purposes rather than simply to be used for public purposes. Authorizes the Department of Education to enter into leaseback agreements.
SB374, SD2, HD2, relating to UH/DOE dual credit education programs. Renames the "Running Start Program" as the "Dual Credit Program." Broadens participation to include public and home-schooled ninth and tenth graders. Replaces a standardized test with an assessment. Repeals tuition and fees requirement. Requires that all additional qualifications be uniform across all campuses. Appropriates moneys to the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii for positions.
HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SB273, SD2, HD2, relating to identification cards for the homeless. Requires the examiner of drivers to accept a sworn statement from a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, correctional institution staff, a medical or health professional, or a verification letter from a homeless service provider as documentary evidence of a homeless person's address; requires the Director of Transportation's rules to direct the examiner of drivers to waive all fees for homeless individuals; and establishes a working group to enable homeless individuals in the State to obtain necessary documentary evidence.
SB964, SD2, HD1, relating to aging. Appropriates funds for the Kupuna Care Program and the Aging and Disability Resource Center. Requires appointment of an Alzheimer's disease and related dementia services coordinator no later than July 1, 2017. Appropriates funds for the Alzheimer's disease and related dementia services coordinator, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, and an Alzheimer's disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.
HEALTH AND HEALTH CONNECTOR
SB1028, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector. Attempts to harmonize requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act with the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act by implementing federal requirements for provider network adequacy through requiring that insurer contracts with federally-qualified health centers. Authorizes other means of generating revenue through provision of benefits administration services.
SB1338, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector. Authorizes large group insurance coverage under the Connector. Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, ends authorization to renew or issue transitional renewal policies. Requires notice to group health plans that offer continuation of coverage about options for affordable coverage under the Connector, in addition to the requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).
SB1228, SD2, HD3 establishes a process for special innovative procurement and generates a framework for public-private partnership in Hawaii. Appropriates funds for a temporary position to assist the Procurement Policy Board. Appropriates funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to procure services to develop a master plan for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.
SB1117, SD2, HD1, relating to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Makes an emergency appropriation to support the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.
SB682, SD2, HD1, relating to medical marijuana. Establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers. Specifies that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period. Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations or rules that prohibit the use of land for licensed dispensaries and production centers.
SB1291, SD2, HD2, relating to medical marijuana. Prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by schools, landlords, courts with regard to medical care or parental rights, employers, planned community associations, condominium property regimes, and condominiums.
SB1095, SD1, HD1, relating to health insurance. Defines the term "habilitative services" to be included in health care services, including but not limited to physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, applied behavior analysis, medical equipment, orthotics, and prosthetics, that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.
SB791, SD1, HD2, relating to autism spectrum disorders. Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.
SB1036, SD2, HD1, relating to substance abuse treatment. Establishes within the Department of Health a working group to address publicly-funded substance abuse treatment services. Appropriates funds.
SB768, SD1, HD1, relating to in vitro fertilization insurance coverage. Provides in vitro fertilization insurance coverage equality for women who are diagnosed with infertility by making available to them expanded treatment options, ensuring adequate and affordable health care services.
SB1032, SD2, HD2, relating to tobacco products. Expands the definition of "tobacco products" to include tobacco-free products containing nicotine that are intended for human consumption. Increases the license fee for wholesalers or dealers of cigarettes or tobacco products. Increases the retail tobacco permit fee for retailers engaged in the retail sale of cigarettes and tobacco products.
SB1030, SD1, HD2, relating to health. Increases the minimum age for the sale or possession of a tobacco product in a public place, and the sale or furnishing of a tobacco product, from 18 to 21. Defines "tobacco products" to include electronic smoking devices.
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
SB387, SD2, HD3, relating to affirmative consent. Establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii's executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
SB1146, SD1, HD1 requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to submit to the Legislature a program performance report for each fiscal quarter showing a comparison of actual revenues and expenditures versus budgeted revenues and expenditures. Extends the University of Hawaii's authority for independent fiscal management and oversight for one additional year.
SB325, SD1, HD2 makes comprehensive omnibus changes affecting the University of Hawaii System. Appropriates funds.
SB265, SD1, HD1, relating to sex trafficking. Replaces the term "promoting prostitution" with the term "sex trafficking," a Class A felony. Includes the offense of sex trafficking in the Department of the Attorney General's statewide witness program.
SB1211, SD1, HD1, relating to the Major Disaster Fund. Intends to increase the expenditure ceiling on Major Disaster Fund moneys. Requires the Adjutant General to report any allotment of fund moneys or any expenditure of Fund moneys to the Legislature within one month of the allotment or expenditure.
SB871, SD1, HD3, relating to highway safety. Authorizes the director of transportation to establish reciprocal licensing privileges to any person eighteen years of age or older who holds a license from another jurisdiction, under certain conditions. Authorizes the examiner of drivers to waive the demonstration of the ability to operate a motor vehicle for individuals with licenses from other jurisdictions who receive reciprocal licensing privileges.
SB979, SD2, HD1, relating to youth. Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program until June 30, 2021. Establishes the Safe Places for Youth Program Coordinator position. Allows youth in crisis who are at least 14 but under 18 years of age to consent to accept services in the Pilot Program under certain circumstances. Appropriates funds.
THE ENVIRONMENT AND INVASIVE SPECIES
SB284, SD2, HD2, relating to the Transient Accommodations Tax and Turtle Bay. Allocates monies to the Turtle Bay conservation easement special fund. Authorizes B&F to issue reimbursable general obligation bonds and to use the proceeds to acquire a conservation easement in Turtle Bay, Oahu. Requires B&F to transfer the conservation easement to DLNR. Allocates monies to B&F to reimburse to the state general fund the debt service on the reimbursement general obligation bonds and ongoing expenses related to the bonds. Requires the Office of Planning to investigate acquiring lands owned by Dole Food Company, Inc.
SB1260, HD1, relating to recycling. Mandates the recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor to the Department of Health regarding advance disposal fee glass containers and glass recycling. Requires the Department of Health to report on its implementation of the recommendations to the Legislature.
SB359, SD1, HD1, relating to the environmental response energy and food security tax. Removes the revenue distribution from the barrel tax to the environmental response revolving fund beginning July 1, 2015. Removes the sunset of the various funds related to the barrel tax. Appropriates funds.
SB1059, SD2, HD2, relating to invasive species. Mandates the Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to perform specified tasks to address the spread of invasive species, particularly between islands. Mandates the Department of Agriculture to establish a little fire ant pesticide treatment coupon pilot project and site map. Appropriates funds.
SB1060, SD2, HD1, allows for agricultural loans to be administered for livestock biosecurity projects to assist the livestock industry by establishing a low-interest biosecurity loan program within the Department of Agriculture for construction, improvements, purchase of equipment and other costs related to biosecurity projects.
SB376, SD2, HD1 establishes the Hawaii Farm to School Program and an unspecified number of Farm to School Coordinator positions.
SB512, SD2, HD1, relating to agriculture. Establishes the Hawaii One Plan Steering Committee to provide Hawaii farmers access to the Hawaii One Plan, an online interface to develop and obtain conservation plans that are necessary to seek Federal Farm Bill funding and comply with county grading and grubbing ordinances. Appropriates funds.
SB382, SD2, HD2, establishes within the Livestock Revitalization Program a grant program for Qualified Feed Developers. Appropriates funds for the grant program, reimbursements to Qualified Producers for feed cost, and a survey of local feed ingredient sources. Appropriates funds for the Future Farmers of America Program.
SB1122, HD1, relating to wage and hour law. Increases the amount of guaranteed monthly compensation required to exempt an individual from minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements under the Hawaii Wage and Hour Law.
SB555, SD1, HD1, relating to tax credits. Increases the refundable food/excise tax credit. Repeals credit for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $30,000 or above. Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM
SB1280, SD2, HD2, relating to transportation network companies. Requires the public utilities commission to regulate transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers. Requires drivers to register as business entities with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Establishes insurance requirements and qualifications for persons who operate or serve as drivers for transportation network companies.
SB1001, SD2, HD1, relating to manufacturing. Establishes a temporary, nonrefundable income tax credit for taxpayers who incur certain expenses for manufacturing products in Hawaii. Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015. Sunsets Jan. 1, 2023.
SB519, SD2, HD3, relating to vacation rentals. Extends Act 326, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, for one year and requires the Department of Taxation to submit an annual report to the Legislature on the implementation of the law. Authorizes DOTAX to enforce civil penalties for operators and plan managers who fail to display the certificate of registration and registration ID numbers for transient accommodations. Authorizes fines to be deposited into the Tax Administration Special Fund. Amends the definition of "transient accommodations."
SB892, SD2, HD3, relating to omnibus Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy. Makes various appropriations for the Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.
SB717, SD2, HD1, relating to ethanol. Adds two individuals from the biotech and biofuel industries to the Petroleum Advisory Council. Requires the Petroleum Advisory Council to study the effects that repealing the requirement that gasoline sold in the state for use in motor vehicles be composed of ten percent ethanol would have on Hawaii.
SB1050, SD2, HD3, relating to energy. Requires electric utilities to file proposed community-based renewable energy tariffs with the public utilities commission by Oct. 1, 2015. Authorizes ratepayer participation in eligible community-based renewable energy projects.
SB1316, SD2, HD2, relating to electric vehicles. Establishes a working group to examine the issues regarding requests to the board of directors of an association of apartment owners, condominium association, cooperative housing corporation, or planned community association regarding the installation of electric vehicle charging systems.
SB1047, SD1, HD1, relating to waste to energy. Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Pelatron Q, LLC, with the development of waste-to-energy power plants in Hawaii.
SB349, SD2, HD2, relating to renewable energy tax credits. Establishes a renewable fuels production tax credit and repeals the ethanol facility tax credit. Allows qualifying taxpayers to claim an income tax credit for qualifying renewable fuel. Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.
SB1214, HD1, relating to the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds. Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Maui Electric Company, Limited, and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. Requires electric utilities to unbundle customer rates and charges to be eligible to receive financing assistance through SPRBs.
SB464, SD1, HD2, relating to consumer protection. Requires disclosure in a form that may be retained by a consumer of terms, conditions, and cancellation procedures for automatic and continuous service offer contracts. Requires a means for cancelling a contract prior to the expiration of a free trial period.
SB737, SD1, HD2, relating to check cashing. Creates standards, including authorization for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to adopt rules, for check cashing businesses, including requirements for registration, surety, recordkeeping, examinations, and confidentiality. Sets new penalties for check cashing businesses that violate the established standards.
MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS
SB181, SD1, HD1, relating to veterans. Allows the Department of Education to continue awarding (until June 30, 2020) high school diplomas to qualified veterans who did not receive a high school diploma as a result of compulsory induction into active service in the Armed Services of the United States or any person whose high school education was interrupted due to wartime practices such as internment during World War II.
SB559, SD2, HD2, relating to the military. Establishes and funds a Military Affairs Advisor position and an Assistant Military Affairs Advisor position in the Office of the Governor, with the Military Affairs Advisor reporting directly to the Governor.
TRANSPARENCY AND GOOD GOVERNMENT
SB286, SD2, HD1, relating to the Office of the State Inspector General. Establishes the Office of the State Inspector General, to be headed by the State Inspector General, to investigate complaints alleging fraud, waste, abuse, or corruption by a state agency or quasi-public agency, or by the officers or employees of a state agency or quasi-public agency. Appropriates funds.
SB140, HD2, relating to government records. Requires agencies to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of all government records under its control that are required to be made available for public inspection under Hawaii’s Uniform Information Practices Act.
SB996, SD2, HD2, relating to ethics. Appropriates funds to the State Ethics Commission to design and develop a system that allows filers to electronically file required statements and reports with the State Ethics Commission.
SB475, SD1, HD2, relating to open government. Allows the electronic mailing of meeting notices; requires the posting of the notice on the state or appropriate county's electronic calendar; and clarifies potential posting disputes. Adds emergency meetings to the public meeting notice requirements.
SB652, SD1, HD2, relating to public agency meetings. Requires a public agency board to report any discussion or final action taken during an executive meeting; provided that such disclosure is not inconsistent with the purpose of convening the executive meeting, but giving the board discretion to maintain confidentiality.
ELECTIONS AND CAMPAIGN SPENDING
SB287, SD2, HD2, Beginning with the primary election in 2016, requires the office of elections to implement election by mail in a county with a population of fewer than 100,000. Beginning with the 2018 primary election, implement election by mail in each county with a population of fewer than 500,000. Thereafter, election by mail is required for all elections. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.
SB654, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign contributions. Reduces from less than $500 to less than $100, the aggregate contribution amount a candidate may receive from ten or more anonymous persons at the same political function.
SB452, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign spending. Requires that supplemental campaign spending reports be filed annually on January 31.
SB364, SD2, HD1, relating to elections. Establishes a process for the recounting of ballots cast in a contest. Authorizes that contests for cause challenging a contest result may also be based upon unlawful activity or force majeure.
SB254, SD1, HD1, relating to the state’s CIP operating and deferred maintenance costs. Requires information on the estimated operational costs of proposed capital improvement projects and deferred maintenance costs of state-owned buildings, facilities, and other improvements to be summarized in the multi-year program and financial plan and supplemental budget, as applicable.
CULTURE AND THE ARTS
SB1177, SD1, HD1, appropriates funds to establish four full-time equivalent positions with the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to address the findings contained in Auditor’s Report No. 14-11, “Audit of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.”
SB868, SD1, HD2, relating to liquor commissions. Requires county liquor commissions to prescribe regulations on dancing in establishments licensed to serve alcohol through the adoption or amendment of administrative rules.