Lawmakers take action to address flood relief, tackle the homeless crisis, provide affordable housing and increase environmental protections
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – At the beginning of the 2018 Legislative Session, leadership in the House of Representatives said their top priorities included funding for affordable housing and homeless support. The House today fulfilled that mandate and approved bills covering a wide range of issues including disaster relief, domestic violence, family leave, and the environment.
Following the disastrous flooding on Kaua‘i and in Waimānalo and East O‘ahu, the Legislature moved quickly to provide an immediate infusion of cash that need not wait for a damage assessment. A total of $125 million will be provided to support those stricken communities.
One of the toughest issues facing lawmakers this session was providing affordable housing. The Legislature approved a comprehensive plan to provide $570 million to develop 25,000 rental units by the year 2030 for working and low-income families having trouble affording and finding a place to live.
To take serious steps in addressing Hawai‘i's homeless crisis, the Legislature is providing $50 million to create solutions that are both flexible and forward thinking. About $37.4 million will be used to develop ‘Ohana Zones statewide and provide much needed medical services for the homeless population. An additional $15 million is in the state budget to provide services to the homeless.
Lawmakers made history again and passed the first measure in the nation to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos and to restrict the use of certain pesticides within 100 feet of schools.
Another landmark bill passed this session was the Our Care, Our Choice Act. This measure allows qualified patients with a medically confirmed terminal illness with less than six months to live to determine their own medical care at the end of the lives. Several other states have similar laws, but Hawaiʻi's bill provides the most rigorous safeguards of any state.
The Women's Legislative Caucus also took the lead in passing several bills to protect women, children and the survivors of domestic violence. The caucus also successfully worked to pass equal pay and paid family leave.
Highlights of the measures passed today include:
Disaster Relief SB 192 SD1 HD1 CD1
· Provides $100,000,000 to Kaua‘i and $25,000,000 to other areas statewide for flood relief.
· Provides immediate money to cover the upfront costs of needed road repairs, clearing rock slides and infrastructure improvements.
Rental Housing HB 2748 HD2 SD2 CD1
· Appropriates $200 million into the Rental Housing Revolving Fund to generate approximately 1,600 affordable rental housing units for families at or below 80 percent Area Median Income (AMI).
· Expands the general excise tax exemption for construction or substantial rehabilitation of approximately 24,000 affordable rental units for families at or below 140 percent AMI.
· Appropriates $10 million into the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund (DURF).
· Appropriates $50,000 to prepare an assessment of housing needs for persons with access and functional needs.
Affordable Housing SB 2293 SD2 HD3 CD1
· Begins proceeding to condemn the lease for the Front Street Apartments affordable housing project.
· $30 million for ‘Ohana Zones on three O‘ahu sites, and one each on Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawai‘i Island. Public lands will be selected by the Governor for the zones.
· $1 million for an Emergency Department Assessment pilot program.
· $1 million for a Medical Respite Pilot Program.
· $800,000 for a new Family Assessment Center.
· $400,000 for two new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs on Maui and Hawai‘i Island.
· 1.5 million for a Coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative.
Total homeless support $50 million package
· Total funding of $50 million was appropriated for homeless support, including $15 million in the budget to fund homeless services and $1 million for matching funds to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority for homeless related projects in resort areas.
Voting by mail HB 1401 HD1 SD1 CD1
· Pilot program for the 2020 primary and general election on Kaua‘i conducted by mail.
· Office of Elections to submit a report to the Legislature.
Title IX HB 1489 HD1 SD2 CD1
· Prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in any state education program or activity or any educational program that receives state money.
· Supports Title IX goals.
· Requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to study and report on state and federal enforcement of prohibitions on sex discrimination, complaints and remedies for violations, inconsistencies between state and federal compliance mandates and regulatory systems, and recommendations for appropriate state enforcement mechanisms.
Constitutional Amendment to fund Education SB 2922 SD1 HD1
· 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.
· Gives the final decision to the voters.
Paid Family Leave SB 2990 SD2 HD2 CD1
· Requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct an analysis by September 1, 2019 of paid family leave including a comparative analysis of other states' paid leave models, including a review of current temporary disability insurance usage and other state temporary disability insurance models;
· Hawai‘i-based cost breakdowns by model on projected impacts to employers by size, impacts to employees, and estimated costs of compliance in related to other employer mandates; and
· Examination of options for compliance and enforcement, including staffing and support recommendations for the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
· SB 2407 SD1 HD1 CD1 amends the definition of "debilitating medical condition" as used in the medical use of cannabis law to include opioid and other substance use disorders and withdrawal symptoms resulting from the treatment of those conditions.
· SB 2488 SD2 HD1 CD1 establishes the Medical Cannabis Insurance Reimbursement Working Group to address making medical cannabis reimbursable by health insurance.
· HB 2729 HD2 SD2 CD1 authorizes dispensing of cannabis products to qualified out-ot-state medical cannabis patients.
Pesticides SB 3095 SD1 HD1
· Prohibits the application of restricted use pesticides within 100 feet of a school during school hours.
· Prohibits the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos as an active ingredient beginning January 1, 2019.
· Allows exemptions.
Conversion Therapy SB 270 SD1 HD2
· Prohibits persons who are licensed to provide professional counseling in the State from engaging in, attempting to engage in, or advertising the offering of sexual orientation change efforts on minors.
· Establishes the Sexual Orientation Counseling Task Force to address the concerns of minors seeking accessible and appropriate counseling on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and related issues.
Sunscreen SB 2571 SD2 HD2
· Beginning January 1, 2021, bans the sale, offer of sale, or distribution in the State, except according to a doctor's prescription, of any sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate to preserve marine ecosystems.
· HB 694 HD2 SD1 CD1 establishes and appropriates funds for the Health Analytics Program in Med-QUEST. Maintains all-payers medical claims data base.
· HB 1520 HD2 SD1 CD1 protects consumers by regulating limited-duration health insurance offered in the state.
· HB 1911 HD2 SD1 CD1 allows the Department of Health to investigate unlicensed and uncertified care facilities that have been reported to be operating without the appropriate certificate or license.
· HB 1602 HD2 SD1 CD1 requires label warning of risks.
· SB 2247 SD1 HD2 CD1 authorizes pharmacists to provide education on opioids to individuals at risk of overdose.
· HB 1614 HD1 SD1 CD1 automatically imposes a restraining order when parties file for an annulment, divorce or separation to preserve financial assets.
· HB 2133 HD1 SD1 CD1 specifies that sexual abuse complaints against a police officer do not require a notarized or sworn statement.
· HB 2341 HD1 SD2 CD1 allows the Employees Retirement System to make payments to spouses or former spouses.
· SB 2346 SD2 HD1 CD1 helps survivors of domestic abuse to relocate and keep relocation and contact information confidential.
Child Safety HB 1650 HD2 SD1 CD1
· Authorizes the disclosure of information regarding confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect.
· HB 1778 HD1 SD1 CD1 improves access for firefighters to medical benefits under Workers' Compensation.
· HB 2097 HD1 SD2 CD1 requires the state Attorney General to defend county lifeguards in civil actions and provides funding to hire lifeguards to monitor state and county beach parks.
· HB 1802 HD1 SD1 CD1 Income tax credit pilot program.
· SB 2567 SD2 HD2 CD1 establishes a cesspool conversion working group to develop a plan for the conversion of all cesspools statewide by 2050.
E-Cigarettes HB 1895 HD1 SD1 CD1
· Makes it illegal for people under 21 to possess any tobacco product or electronic smoking device.
Accountability HB 2071 HD2 SD2 CD1
· Establishes a Law Enforcement Standards Board.
· HB 2106 HD3 SD1 CD1 Sea Level Rise must be considered in environmental planning.
· HB 2182 HD2 SD2 CD1 makes Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to commit to carbon neutrality by 2045 and making us the nation's first zero emissions clean economy. Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force aligns with state clean energy and climate goals.
Flotilla HB 2259 HD1 SD3 CD1
· Requires a one-year advance permit for flotillas to mitigate hazards.
Consumer Protection HB 2342 HD1 SD1
· Expands the methods by which a consumer may request a security freeze.
Abandoned Vehicles HB 2442 HD2 SD2 CD1
· Requires the counties to remove all abandoned vehicles within 10 business days of being reported.
Promise Program HB 2501 HD1 SD2 CD1
· Provides scholarships for qualified students at any Community College campus of UH.
Transit Oriented Development SB 1148 SD2 HD2 CD1
· Develop a transit-oriented development zone improvement program.
Firearms SB 2046 SD1 HD1
· Bans devices that may be used to modify firearms into rapid fire automatic weapons.
Gun Control SB 2436 SD2 HD1 CD1
· Requires the surrender of firearms following disqualification from ownership, possession, or control within seven days of disqualification.
Medical Worker Shortage
· SB 2298 SD2 HD3 CD1 addresses worker shortage of nurses, pharmacists and physicians, enables students to obtain a health care degree or certificate.
· SB 2653 SD1 HD1 CD1 establishes requirements for licensure by endorsement (Tripler)
Health Insurance – Affordable Care Act SB 2340 SD2 HD1 CD1
· Ensures certain benefits under ACA are preserved under Hawai‘i law.
Equal Pay SB 2351 SD1 HD1
· Prohibits prospective employers from requesting or considering a job applicant's wage or salary history as part of an employment application process or compensation offer.
· Prohibits employer-enforced wage secrecy and retaliation or discrimination against employees for discussing wage information or for the exercise of equal pay rights.
· SB 2719 SD1 HD1 CD1 Extends the period during which a victim of child sex abuse may bring civil action. Applies retroactively to April 24, 2012.
· HB 2131 HD1 SD2 CD1 creates a Hawai‘i Sexual Assault Response and Training Program, addresses evidence collection kits.
Internal Revenue Code Conformity SB 2821 SD1 HD1 CD1
· Conforms Hawai‘i income and estate transfer laws.
The 2018 Legislature will adjourn on Thursday, May 3.
For a complete list of all bills that have passed final reading in the House, go to https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2018&report=deadline&rpt_type=finalReadH&measuretype=HB,SB&title=Measures%20Passed%20Final%20Reading%20in%20the%20House