Honolulu, Hawaii – The House today passed 83 bills that cover a broad range of issues on education, health care, social services, housing and homelessness, economic development, aging and senior care, space exploration, and climate change and the environment. The body now stands in recess and will reconvene to take action on additional measures up for third reading next week on Tuesday, March 4th at 9:00 a.m.
To date, the House has approved more than 200 bills this session that have crossed over to the Senate for its consideration.
The measures passed today include HB 1671, relating to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT), HB 1713 relating to aging and long-term care, HB 1714 protecting seniors from financial fraud, and HB 1714 relating to climate change, as well as bills relating to Niihau, the homeless and the disabled.
HB 1671 HD1 removes the $93 million cap on the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) allocation to the counties and, instead, establishes the distribution of these revenues as a percentage of the TAT collected. The measure, which is expected to produce additional funds for the counties, was introduced and advocated by House Speaker Joseph M. Souki in his opening day speech.
The following bills were part of the joint Senate-House majority package focusing on seniors and the environment. The significance of the joint package is that the bills are considered to have statewide importance and the commitment of the majorities of both chambers.
HB 1713 provides ongoing financial support to healthy aging programs and services, and requires the Executive Office on Aging to conduct a public education and awareness campaign on long-term care.
HB 1715 HD1 appropriates funds for educational outreach targeted to protect seniors from financial fraud, based on Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ existing investor education programs.
HB 1714 HD1 addresses climate changes by tasking the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee under the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) with creating sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation reports. Tasks the Office of Planning with establishing and implementing strategic climate adaptation plans and policy recommendations based on that report.
Other notable bills also passed today included:
HB 709 HD2 establishes a task force to assist the DLNR in developing rules that regulate activities within and that are applicable to all coastal areas and near shore waters. It requires the task force to submit reports to the Legislature in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and prohibits DLNR from adopting any rules affecting coastal areas and near shore waters of Niihau until the task force submits a final report. The bill also appropriates funds for the DLNR to conduct public outreach meetings to adopt rules applicable to all coastal areas and near shore waters.
HB 2478 HD1 provides a taxpayer who hires an individual with a disability a nonrefundable tax credit for the six-month period after the individual is initially hired by the taxpayer.
HB 1934 HD1 appropriates funds to various programs that provide housing, housing assistance, and supportive services to individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness.