HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Senate overwhelmingly voted today to pass SB1 HD1 relating to equal rights. Immediately following the vote, both “sides” reacted.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie stated: “In Hawaii, we believe in fairness, justice and human equality. We embrace the Aloha spirit and respect one another. Today, we celebrate our diversity defining us rather than dividing us.
“I believe this bill provides equal rights for all people, is legally sound, and is in accord with the Hawaii State Constitution.
“I look forward to signing this significant piece of legislation, which provides marriage equity and fully recognizes and protects religious freedoms.”
Meanwhile, Kayla Berube, Executive Director of the Hawaii Republican Party, stated, “The Hawaii Republican Party appreciates that so many people, on both sides of this issue, passionately participated in the hearing process on this bill. However, what Hawaii witnessed during this special session was unprecedented – a democrat super majority side-stepped important issues like lowering the high cost of living for working class families or improving our keiki’s education, and instead pushed through controversial legislation in just ten days.
”Governor Abercrombie and the Democrat political elite decided that Hawaii’s people are unfit to vote on important issues. Citizens may have been denied the right to vote on this issue, but next November they will not be denied the opportunity to vote on who represents them.”
Governor Abercrombie is expected to signb the bill when it arrives on his desk. The new law will take effect December 2.
Tha Hawaii State Legislative branch has scheduled public testimony on Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposed “Marriage Equity” issue. A public hearing has been set for this Thursday, October 31, at 10 ma.m. in the Hawai’i State Capitol auditorium. The hearing will be jointly chaired by the House Budget and Finance Committee and the Committee on the Judiciary.
Testimony may be made in person, or electronically from anywhere in the state.
Due to the anticipated high number of testifiers, those who submit comments and plan to testify in-person will be assigned a registration number to indicate one’s place on the testifier list and speaking order. Please bring this number to the hearing.
The committee on Judiciary would like to hear from as many individuals as possible; therefore,
Oral testimony will be limited to 2 minutes. After approximately every 25 testifiers, committee members will be given the opportunity to ask questions of those previous 25 testifiers. It will not be necessary to wait to the end of the hearing to answer questions.
For more information please visit the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov . For assistance or additional information on the day of the hearing, please go to conveniently located House information desks on the Chamber level.
While every effort will be made to incorporate all testimony received, materials received on the day of the hearing or improperly identified or directed, may be distributed to the Committee after the hearing.
Submit testimony in ONE of the following ways:
PAPER: Original to the House Clerk’s Office (Room 027) in the State Capitol up until the day of the hearing; or
WEB: For testimony less than 10MB in size, log in and transmit from http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx .
Testimony submitted will be placed on the legislative website during or after the hearing adjourns. This public posting of testimony on the website should be considered when including personal information in your testimony.
If you require special assistance or auxiliary aids and/or services to participate in the House public hearing process (i.e., sign or foreign language interpreter or wheelchair accessibility), please contact the Committee Clerk at 586-6180 or email your request for an interpreter to HouseInterpreter@Capitol.hawaii.gov at least 24 hours prior to the hearing for arrangements. Prompt requests submitted help to ensure the availability of qualified individuals and appropriate accommodations.
Selected meetings are broadcast live. Check the current legislative broadcast schedule on the “Capitol TV” website at www.capitoltv.org or call 808-536-2100.
Honolulu - Earlier this week, the Governor informed the State Legislature of his intent to veto nine bills passed during the 2013 legislative session. Speculation has been that some of those bills may set in a motion steps to override one or more vetoes by the Legislature.
Today, after reviewing the bills and discussions with members of the Legislature, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim announced that it does not appear at this time that any of the Governor’s intended vetoes rise to the level of an override by the Legislature in a Special Session. The Legislature intends to further review the Governor’s rationale for vetoing the bills and will look into addressing his concerns in the coming session.
Honolulu, Hawaii – The 27th Hawaii State Legislature ended today with members from the House and the Senate joining in the singing of Hawaii Aloha. Before gaveling the session closed, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki acknowledged the work of everyone involved in the legislative process and summarized the session’s accomplishments. He said the approach this session was to focus on the State’s long term needs such as reducing long term fiscal liabilities, replenishing reserve funds, promoting economic development, education, sustainability and improving the quality of life for all residents.
The full text of his closing remarks are below:
We have come to the end of the 2013 Regular Session. To the Leadership Team, the Chairs, Vice Chairs, and each and every member of the House, because of your unwavering commitment to do your best for the people of Hawaii, this was a productive session.
Thank you all, for working together and for doing a wonderful job.
I would like to especially thank the Majority Leader Scott Saiki and Finance Chair Sylvia Luke for your tremendous contributions and tireless efforts in moving us forward to this day.
To our Minority Leader Aaron Johanson and the Minority Caucus, thank you for bringing your ideas and perspective to the table to help us craft legislation for all of Hawaii’s people. Thank you.
We began this session cautiously optimistic. Our economy was on the rise, tourism was strong, and unemployment was down. We needed to invest in programs and projects, and make strong investments in Hawaii’s future.
We committed to the strengthening of our number one industry by making significant investment in the future of tourism.
We made permanent the current TAT rate and increased funding to aggressively market our visitor industry as we compete with other travel destinations.
We also kept the current level of support to the counties giving them fiscal continuity.
We passed a tax credit measure aimed at encouraging the presence of the film industry which returns a significant amount of revenue to the state.
Funding for capital improvement projects for state infrastructure will jumpstart economic growth on all islands.
To invest in our Keiki, we are funding the expansion of the Open Doors Program to provide day care opportunities for preschool aged children.
And to help provide funds for repair, maintenance, and additional classrooms and school facilities for our growing population, we have passed the 21st Century Schools bill to look at responsible partnerships to generate much needed revenue for our public schools. But this will all be done with community and county input, and compliance with state and county requirements.
Now, on the question of early education – preschool – the public will have the chance to voice their opinion through a Constitutional Amendment on whether public funds should be used by private early childhood education programs.
Quality of Life:
In this session, we have also reaffirmed our commitment to our kupuna, the homeless, a sustainable and clean environment, and the local farming and feed industry. We are taking care of needs today, and investing in our future.
During the past economic crisis, we had to borrow from the state’s Rainy Day Fund and the Hurricane Relief Fund. We made a promise that when the economy improved we would return that money.
Well, not only are we keeping that promise, we are providing additional money to recapitalize those funds. And we have taken a big step in addressing the unfunded liability of our public workers.
And finally, we listened to the resounding voice of the people and moved quickly to repeal the Public Land and Development Corporation – PLDC.
Speaker Emeritus Say, I thank you for your years of leadership, fiscal restraint, and know how. You and your Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro laid the foundation for much of what was achieved this year.
I would like to thank Senate President Donna Kim, her leadership team, the Senate Chairs and members who worked with us and collaborated as we worked to craft legislation for the people of Hawaii.
To the permanent and session staff of the House, thank you for professionalism and tireless efforts in supporting the work of the House.
I am deeply grateful to all of you. It is an honor to serve as your Speaker, and I look forward to working together next session to serve the people of this State.
Thank you and God bless.
Honolulu, Hawaii – The House Finance Committee led by Representative Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), today passed out the proposed state budget which is scheduled for a vote next week by the full House.
HB200 HD1<http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=200&year=2013> appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium fiscal years FY2013-2014 and FY2014-2015.
For FY2013-2014, the bill offers $5.9 billion in general funds and $11.6 billion in all other means of financing. For FY2014-2015, it appropriates $6.1 billion in general funds and $11.7 billion in all additional financing means.
Finance Chair Luke acknowledged that the fiscal outlook is a little more positive than it has been in the past but she said, “because we have a fiscal climate that is looking up in terms of revenue, this is actually the time to take a conservative approach to our budget picture. I realize that in the last four years we have had to cut funding to our programs and agencies because of the State’s financial crisis, but simply restoring the cuts to pre recession numbers is not the approach we are taking.”
“We need to re-evaluate what government is here for, what do we need, what can we do without. The House is taking on the challenge to develop a budget that gives us the opportunity to provide structural stability to the State’s financial plan. We want to increase transparency, efficiency and accountability in government. We want to reprioritize and restructure government services and create an evolving, sustainable and robust economy for future generations,” said Luke.
“I believe expectations for complete funding restoration plus additional funds for more projects are high, as exhibited in the Executive’s budget request to us. However, indicators from various economic forecasts show an unsteady trend in revenue. For example, while the Council on Revenues (COR) projected increases based on a robust tourism industry and expansion in the rest of the economy, it remained uncertain about the impact on tax collections due to the renewable energy credit and changes in the tax laws. Meanwhile, the University of Hawaii Research Organization (UHERO) reported last month that despite the banner year for tourism, economic growth will ease over the next two years. We are also facing the unknown ramifications of the federal government’s sequestration,” concluded Luke.
Funding highlights include;
* $7.9 million in FY2013-2014 for a reasonable rollout of the State’s Information Management and Technology Transformation Plan. The Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT) plan is to consolidate the State’s existing information-technology infrastructure, enhance security and privacy, and develop shared services functions across state departments.
* $3 million has been provided to Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) for risk management to ensure adequate insurance coverage for natural disasters.
* Restored services and positions cut by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) by funding positions that support our local food sustainability and agricultural health. This includes 19 critical specialist and inspector positions to help control the spread of invasive species, 5 engineers for irrigation systems, and additional personnel that provide specialized testing for livestock.
* Additional support for law enforcement agencies through funding for data systems such as the Juvenile Justice Information system (JJIS), Automated Fingerprint Recognition System (AFIS), and Facial Recognition System (FRS).
* $1.1 million for the State Library System to purchase additional books and e-books.
* A total of almost $2 million to support for the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative to meet the State’s goal of using 70% clean energy by the year 2030.
* To address the issues that encompass the State’s growing Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) unfunded liability, $205.5 million over the next two years has been infused into Other Post Employment Benefits (OPED).
* $306,461 in additional support for the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program to reflect the increase in mortgage fraud and other disputes between lenders and owners.
* $650,000 to update and address issues with the State’s tsunami warning siren system.
* Support for our local students by providing to the Department of Education (DOE) an additional $12.9 million for the Weighted Student Formula and $1 million for the development of a Common Core assessment test in the Hawaiian language to serve students enrolled at 14 Hawaiian immersion schools across the state.
* $155.75 million in general obligation bond (GO) appropriations for public school improvements that include health and safety and electrical upgrades.
* Restored public health service positions within the Department of Health (DOH) including 8 vector control workers and $443,520 of funds to increase surveillance at our airports, 8 food safety inspectors, and 7 environmental health specialists and engineers to administer programs on environmental protection regulations. $800,000 in general funds for both fiscal years for Hale Makemae and Kula Hospital.
* $10 million annual funding for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) to carry out its duties of planning and developing Hawaiian Homelands across Hawaii.
* Significant support for the State’s largest department, the Department of Human Services (DHS), with $98 million to cover increasing Medicare costs, $1.9 million for youth and juvenile services, and 10 personnel to focus on homelessness project management.
* Provides 9 additional positions to provide security and intake services for inmates returning from out of state facilities and appropriates $8.7 million in additional funding for the Department of Public Safety (PSD) to maintain essential functions.
* A total of $3.8 million in general funds and $32 million in GO funding to the Department of Taxation (DoTAX) to upgrade its current tax system with the Tax System Modernization Project, a five-year program that will result in the increased efficiency of electronically filed taxes and tax processing.
* Funding to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for various vehicles and equipment to upkeep our airports and harbors. Most importantly, approval of all special and regular maintenance requests submitted by the Department.
* Continued support of our higher education systems with $780,000 for distance learning courses, $1 million for operating costs at the West Oahu Campus and $2 million to support the community college system in each fiscal year, and $100 million in GO appropriations for repair and maintenance of our campuses.
* A Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget of $1,707,274,000 for FY2013-2014 and $912,851,000 for FY2014-2015 in all means of financing to address repair and maintenance backlogs and to develop “shovel ready” projects.
HONOLULU– Ahead of the First Crossover deadline, the Hawaii State Senate passed 348 bills during Tuesday’s session. The bills now head over to the House for consideration.
The First Crossover deadline is on Thursday, March 7, 2013. This is the last day for a final vote on a bill to occur in its originating chamber before it is passed on to the other chamber for further consideration. During First Crossover, all Senate bills that pass Third Reading must crossover to the House and all House bills that pass Third Reading must crossover to the Senate by the March 7 deadline.
“Some of the measures the Senate Majority passed would reform and improve government, making it more transparent and accountable,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. “Through these measures we hope to achieve a more efficient and effective government.”
“We’ve introduced more than a thousand bills, and we’ve passed more than three hundred measures that we believe will help move Hawaii forward, building a stronger economy to create jobs and strengthen our safety net,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.
Here are highlights of bills that have passed third reading:
Food and Energy Resiliency
With the Senate Majority exploring the concept of food self-reliance and agricultural resiliency within the State, the Caucus took steps toward developing a strong foundation that will enhance food and agricultural self-sufficiency by passing several bills to support this mission.
The Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 937, which establishes a food resiliency initiative under the Department of Agriculture to achieve measurable goals of food self-sufficiency. To support Hawaii’s livestock production, SB 593 expands livestock feed subsidies to include goat milk, sheep, lamb, fish, and crustaceans. Increasing livestock production is vitally necessary to meet the State’s goals of ensuring food security and self-sufficiency.
The Senate Majority continues to advance the Hawai’i Clean Energy Initiative and align government regulations and policies with clean energy goals. To support the State’s clean energy objectives, SB 19 was passed to exempt landlords who install renewable energy systems from the onerous requirements imposed on public utilities and serves as an incentive for landlords to adopt renewable energy systems. SB 120 authorizes the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to establish a policy to incentivize Hawaii’s electric utility companies to make needed reforms that attain lower electricity rates. SB 1087 provides a lower cost financing alternative for Hawaii businesses and residents to utilize green infrastructure equipment and technology to reduce electricity consumption by leveraging clean energy technology. The innovative financing method created in this measure will provide a secure financing structure to allow the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to issue revenue bonds at very competitive rates, which savings can be passed on to the consumers in the form of lower borrowing costs. With concerns over the current solar energy tax credit policy, SB 623 was passed to administer tax credits in a more balanced manner. This measure replaces the current renewable energy technology systems tax credit with tax credits for solar energy property and wind energy property.
Supporting People, Strengthening Communities
From keiki to kupuna to ohana, the Senate Majority continues to support the State’s core functions, including programs for those most in need. To encourage positive outcomes for our young keiki and to prepare them to thrive in an educational environment, Senate Bills 1093, 1084 and 1095 were passed to establish an early childhood education program.
To improve the quality of health care services and operational efficiencies of health facilities, SB 1306 would permit the regional systems of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation and their health facilities to transition to non-public status. This measure would help address financial challenges of the public hospitals. SB 665 is another measure that’s expected to ensure quality of health care services. The bill addresses the primary care physician shortage in the State through a comprehensive primary care workforce development plan that includes loan repayment, diversity programs, and primary care workforce expansion.
Homelessness in Hawaii is a significant problem in the State and the Senate Majority is working to find ways to help people and families who are homeless. SB 515 appropriates funding for services and programs that target issues such as substance abuse, mental health, housing assistance, health care, and employment to help reduce the number of homeless in Hawaii.
Government Efficiency and Accountability
|The Senate Majority encourages long-term planning and efficiency efforts to fundamentally change the character and delivery of government services. The Senate continues to promote the enhancement of the State’s information technology services and support the Governor’s Chief Information Officer as he works on modernizing the technology infrastructure. SB 1003 authorizes the Chief Information Officer to conduct security audits to protect the State’s information and data, preventing intrusions and theft of the public’s personal information.
Drawing upon the recommendations of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability for the improvement of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawai’i, the Senate Majority passed several bills addressing some issues unveiled during the committee’s hearings. SB 1384 changes the way legal services are obtained by the University of Hawaii. SB 1385 requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to undergo annual training and certifications board policies and procedures as well as several laws, including sunshine law and open records laws. SB 1387 improves the selection process for members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and SB 1388 reduces the membership of the Board of Directors of the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii.
OTHER NOTABLE BILLS:
SB 1349 Reestablishes the income tax credit for qualified research activities to encourage job growth in research and development. This measure contributes to the diversification of the State’s economy by creating and maintaining science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs in the State.
SB 463 Encourages the growth of the film and creative media industries by extending the motion picture, digital media, and film production income tax credit. It also creates a tax credit for qualified digital media infrastructure projects in West Oahu or the most populous island in a county.
SB 237 Establishes a three-year pilot program to optimize the use of public school lands for public purposes and to generate revenue to build and retrofit twenty-first century schools and create more school-centered communities.
SB 69 Requires county police departments, as a prerequisite for firearms registration, to fingerprint, photograph, and perform background checks on persons arriving in Hawaii with a firearm procured out-of-state. The measure also establishes gun safety programs.
SB 1370 Ensures mortgage foreclosure dispute resolution is equally available for nonjudicial and judicial foreclosures. This gives all mortgagors facing foreclosure in Hawaii an opportunity to have a specifically trained mediator who can offer assistance regarding the mortgagor’s financial situation and any available options.
SB 654 Mandates health insurance coverage for treatments related to the cessation of tobacco use and informs policyholders about the availability of the new coverage.
SB 945 Allows condominium associations and cooperative housing corporations to adopt rules to prohibit smoking in units, common elements, or limited common elements if a majority of the tenant shareholders or owners approved the smoking prohibition.
SB 414 Requires specified persons who own, control, or have custody or control of more than ten dogs over the age of four months with intact sexual organs to meet minimum standards of care and prohibit these persons from placing certain types of dogs in the same enclosure.
For more information on the bills: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/
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