Monday, March 7, 2016

House Passes Bills to Help Homeless Including Youth Outreach, Permanent Housing and New ID

The deadline for the Legislature to crossover bills is less than a week away and the House today passed dozens of bills, sending them to the Senate for its consideration.

House bills passing third reading by the full House include measures that provide support for homeless working individuals or families who are ready to rent permanent housing, outreach to homeless individuals and families, homeless unaccompanied youth, and helping homeless individuals obtain government issued identification.

“Homeless people need our support if they are going to get off the streets and become functioning members of society,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu). “These House bills recognize the need to fund outreach services, support permanent housing and ease the path for obtaining legal identification. This support will go a long way toward reaching our goal of reducing the number of homeless people in Hawaii.”

The first “crossover” deadline is March 10 for non-budget bills to pass third reading in order to move to the other chamber. If successful, House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration.

HB1774 HD1 appropriates funds for outreach to homeless individuals and families, as well as homeless unaccompanied youth to the Department of Human Services.

HB1773 HD1 appropriates funds for the Shallow Rent Subsidy Program for homeless working individuals or families who are ready to rent permanent housing. Also, provides funds for the Department of Human Services to continue to administer Housing First Programs for chronically homeless individuals.

HB2162 HD1 appropriates funds to the Homeless Programs Office of the Department of Human Services for services to help the homeless obtain government issued identification.

The House also passed bills addressing facilities and construction oversight at the University of Hawaii and the safety of its students including:

HB1609 HD1 requires the UH Board of Regents to develop procedures for the full utilization of university facilities and requires the administration of the all UH campuses to collect and report data relating to facilities utilization. The bill prohibits the UH Board of Regents from approving the construction of a new university building until a public hearing is held to discuss facility utilization and cost.

HB2772 HD1 requires the UH to train employees and students on sexual harassment policies, appoint a campus advocate at each campus for students to discuss incidents of sexual harassment, report sexual assault cases to the police, and conduct a campus climate survey. The bill also prohibits romantic relationships between, among others, a UH student and a UH faculty member.

HB1800 HD1 requires funds appropriated to the University of Hawaii for a specific purpose to be expended for that specific purpose. UH must also submit a report to the Legislature on how funds are used and requires unexpended funds to be returned to the general fund.

Another passed bill, HB2213 HD1, establishes a matching grant program for resident undergraduate UH students with financial need and whose parents have not earned a baccalaureate or higher degree.

HB1940 HD1 establishes a collective bargaining unit for graduate student assistants employed at the University of Hawaii.

Other bills passed today by the House include:

HB2605 HD1 appropriates funds to establish, administer, and support on-the-job training for individuals who are unemployed and dislocated due to the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company on Maui.

HB2555 HD1 authorizes the Board of Agriculture to regulate the growing of industrial hemp for research purposes. Requires the regulation of growers selling industrial hemp.

HB2034 HD1 appropriates funds to the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission for restoration and preservation projects. Also requires submission of a financial self-sufficiency and sustainability plan to the legislature no later than 20 days prior to the 2017 Regular Session.

HB2736 HD2 requires that Hawaiian language ballots be made available in each election if requested by a voter.

Another election related bill is HB1653 HD1 which incrementally phases in statewide elections by mail by the 2022 primary election. The bill assigns responsibilities between the state and counties for expenses related to mail elections for federal, state, and county offices and requires clerks to send qualified voters their ballots 45 days before an election. The bill also establishes standards regarding hours of operation for absentee polling places and specifies procedures for the counting of ballots and repeals the Election Day state holiday.

Concerning rapid ohia death, HB2675 HD1 appropriates funds for research to combat rapid ohia death and HB1597 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture for research and mitigation efforts relating to the rapid ohia death disease in Hawaii.

HB2348 HD2 Restores the permanently exempt second deputy director position for the Department of Human Services, establishes a secretary, community/project development director, and policy director positions. Exempts the community/project development director and policy director from civil service status and appropriates funds for the newly established positions.

HB2204 HD1 repeals annual increment and longevity step salary increases for Department of Education teachers and educational officers and clarifies that such increases shall be determined through collective bargaining.

HB2092 HD1 requires the Hawaii Community Development Authority to prohibit or restrict the stopping, standing, or parking of vehicles on sidewalks on private streets in the Kakaako Community Development District. Also concerning Kakaako, HB2604 HD1 clarifies that acceptance by the Territorial Legislature or the Legislature of a dedication of land in the Kakaako Community Development District by a private owner is sufficient to convey title to the state.

HB1878 HD1 appropriates funds for the Kupuna Care Program, Aging and Disability Resource Center, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, an Alzheimer's disease and related dementia services coordinator position, and an Alzheimer's disease and related dementia public awareness program.

Another kupuna care related bill is HB1943 HD1 which provides an adjustment to the methodology used to reimburse facilities for the long-term care of Medicaid recipients for fiscal year 2016-2017.

HB 2037 HD1 appropriates moneys to the DLNR to host the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center on September 1-10, 2016.

HB2750 HD1 establishes the Native Hawaiian Housing Task Force, administratively attached to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, to identify duplicative services and improve efficiency in providing housing-related services to Native Hawaiians.

HB 2424 HD1 requires the Department of Agriculture to establish or participate in private-public partnerships to enhance the biosecurity program and quarantine inspection process.

HB1787 HD2 creates and appropriates funds for Erin's Law Task Force to review policies, programs, and curricula for educating public school students about sexual abuse prevention, and report recommendations for the establishment of a program to educate public school children on sexual abuse prevention through age-appropriate curricula.

HB2229 HD1 establishes the Hawaii Sports Task Force to plan and coordinate efforts to keep the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, to secure Hawaii as a host site for a National Football League pre-season game, world-title soccer tournaments, mixed martial arts Ultimate Fighting Championship tournaments and other international sporting events at Aloha Stadium, and to secure and maintain Hawaii as a host site for other sporting and sports entertainment events statewide. Establishes the Hawaii Sports Task Force to plan and coordinate efforts aimed at the promotion and growth of the state's sports entertainment and event hosting industry.

HB1983 HD1 authorizes the Department of Health to establish a cesspool upgrade, conversion, or connection tax credit or rebate program. Disallows the tax credit for cesspool upgrade, conversion, or connection for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income exceeds certain amounts. Applies tax credit to all cesspools, regardless of location. Provides that cesspools found to be illegal, as a result of an inspection conducted due to a person applying for a rebate or taxpayer claiming a credit, are not subject to penalty.

HB2205 HD1 establishes requirements for public charter school board meetings. Exempts public charter school commission from certain public meeting requirements. Authorizes charter schools to assess fees and charges for co-curricular activities.

HB1702 HD1 amends the income tax credit for expenses for household and dependent care services necessary for gainful employment by changing the manner for determining the taxpayer's applicable percentage of employment-related expenses that constitutes the tax credit.

Another tax credit bill HB2166 HD1 expands the low income-household renter's income tax credit based on adjusted gross income, filing status, and the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2016.

A complete list of bills passed by the House to date this biennium is available on the Capitol website at:

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