Showing posts with label Conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conference. Show all posts

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dead or Alive: Final bills to come out of conference committee

In an unusually early ending to conference committee negotiations (the past few years, negotiations continued until midnight, the final decking deadline) House and Senate lawmakers agreed on conference drafts of the SB 570, SB 1186 and HB1039.

SB 570: The pension tax provision was deleted; bill repeals state tax deduction and caps itemized deductions on higher income taxpayers.

SB1186: The Counties' share of the TAT capped at $93 million (earlier proposals: House-$101M, Senate-$85M). The Hawaii Tourism Authority's share capped at $69 million.

HB1039: Adjustment to rental car surcharge; divert money to the general fund for one year.

A few of the bills that died in conference committee: plastic bag fees, alcohol tax increase, and medical marijuana distribution center pilot project.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The clock strikes done

House and Senate leadership and chairs gathered in Room 309 to sign conference committee reports and vote on the last of the conference drafts for the session by the midnight deadline. It wasn't the circus we experienced last year, but the energy was still high with lobbyists, reporters, lawmakers and the public anxious to know the outcome of legislation related to energy, fossil fuel, keiki care, crime, hospitals, etc. Check out photos from Friday evening:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Legislature approves bill protecting manta rays in Hawaii waters

House and Senate conferees Thursday approved a measure that would prohibit knowingly capturing or killing manta rays within Hawaii waters. The proposed measure, House Bill 366, would only allow manta rays to be taken for educational, scientific, management and propagation purposes, requiring a person or organization to apply for a special "take" permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Representative Denny Coffman (District 6 – North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau), a freshman lawmaker, introduced the measure to ensure that Hawaii laws help to preserve the state's ecosystem and protect from extinction one of its many natural marine resources. Currently, there is no law protecting the small, distinct populations of Hawaii manta rays, including around 150 manta rays in Kona, Hawaii and 300 in Maui County.

"This is a prevention measure," said Rep. Coffman. "We don't have a huge problem with people capturing and killing manta rays yet, but why wait until our small populations slowly cease to exist?"

These majestic creatures are susceptible to overfishing and are killed for their dried gill rakers in order to produce traditional Asian medicine as well as for food. There is no immediate threat to the manta population in Hawaii. However, new demand for manta rays has already threatened local populations in Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an authority on species extinction, has classified manta rays as a species threatened with extinction in the near future.

Because of their sweeping wings that can span up to 12 feet and breathtaking beauty, people are naturally curious about manta rays. This encourages the growing popularity of capturing these rare and exquisite creatures for display in national and international aquariums. Manta rays have low reproduction rates, reaching sexual maturity after 10 years and producing pups one every two or three years, making replacement of captured manta rays through natural reproduction a long process.

"Protecting manta rays in Hawaii is also beneficial for our ecotourism," Rep. Coffman noted. "The manta ray diving industry in Kona brings in around $2.5 million annually. There aren't many places in the world where you can see manta rays in their natural habitat."

The bill will go to the House and Senate for final full floor vote and then to the governor for signature.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Electronic Harassment Bill Passes out of Conference Committee

The House and Senate agreed on a bill last week that would better protect Hawaii residents by including contact through electronic communications as a form of "harassment" and "stalking by harassment." The bill was introduced by Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu (District 41-Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele), chair of the Committee on Judiciary.

During a joint House-Senate Conference Committee on Friday, April 24, 2009 members approved a conference draft of HB615, HD1, SD2 that addresses the shortfalls in the current statute.

Popular websites such as Facebook and Myspace, as well as the increased ease of text messaging, have made "harassment" and "stalking by harassment" through forms of electronic communication a more common occurrence in today's society.

“Passage of this bill will update the current statute with all of the existing forms of technology,” explains Karamatsu. “It is important that lawmakers keep up with changing times and updated forms of communications in order to best serve our constituents.” Karamatsu was inspired to introduce this bill after witnessing two of his friends become victims of electronic harassment and having no option of legal recourse.

HB615, HD1, SD2, CD1 will face final approval by both the House and the Senate this week before going to the Governor for signature.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Conference 2008 - 17 down, hundreds to go

Here's a list of the bills that have passed out of the conference committees over the past week:

Tuesday, April 15

SB2170 was passed with amendments. The bill is part of the Hawaii State Association of Counties package. It protects counties from liability as a result of natural conditions on or near a public beach park by including public beach parks in the definition of "improved public lands."

Wednesday, April 16

HB2460 was passed with the House agreeing to the Senate amendments. This bill allows condominium associations to invest funds in certificates of deposit through the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service network.

HB2894 was passed with the House agreeing to the Senate amendments. This bill allows for the restatement of planned community association documents.

Thursday, April 17

HB2589 was passed with the House agreeing to the Senate amendments. This bill requires scrap dealers and recyclers to pay for copper purchases by check.

HB3331 was passed with amendments. This bill specifies dispute resolution parameters related to the interpretation or enforcement of a condominium association's bylaws, house rules, or certain other matters. Allows parties whose dispute is not resolved by mediation to file for arbitration no sooner than 30 days from the termination date of mediation. Makes more widely available the option for an administrative hearing.

SB2245 was passed with amendments. This bill makes it a violation of the statewide traffic code to leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle. Requires the examiner of drivers to test driver's license applicants for knowledge of this offense. Requires notice of law in rental cars.

SB2454 was passed with amendments. This bill amends the mortgage foreclosures law to ensure that consumers and others receive important information regarding a foreclosure in a timely manner.

SB2584 was passed with the Senate agreeing to the House amendments. This bill recognizes honey as an agricultural commodity.

Friday, April 18

HB2085 was passed with the House agreeing to the Senate amendments. This bill requires members of the board of the agribusiness development corporation to have knowledge, experience, and expertise within certain secondary industries related to agriculture. Requires the agribusiness development corporation to develop a five year strategic plan to be presented to the legislature prior to the 2009 Regular Session.

HB2238 was passed with the House agreeing to the Senate amendments. This bill requires public housing projects and affordable housing funded by county or state funds to remain affordable in perpetuity.

HB2511 was passed with amendments. This bill is part of the Joint House/Senate Majority package. It provides qualified rental assistance applicants up to six months to find a qualified rental dwelling.

HB2698 was passed with the House agreeing to the Senate amendments. This bill clarifies compensation rates for court-appointed attorneys and Guardians Ad Litem.

HB2810 was passed with amendments. This bill authorizes the public utilities commission to establish preferential potable water rates for agricultural activities in a public utility's service area. Requires public utilities, upon application and proof of qualification, to provide preferential rates for potable water used only for agricultural activities.

SB2196 was passed with amendments. This bill adds regulatory function over commercially permitted use of government and private boating facilities and commercial activities in private marinas.

SB2464 was passed with amendments. This bill designates the Hawaiian monk seal as the state mammal.

SB3019 was passed with the Senate agreeing to the House amendments. This bill amends current provisions of the insurance investment statutes allowing insurers more investment flexibility without significantly lessening protection to insurance policyholders and to reflect more current regulatory standards.

SB3030 was passed with amendments. This bill establishes a revised fee structure to fund mixed martial arts regulation.