House Speaker Calvin Say - Photo courtesy of House Majority Blog
House Speaker Calvin Say - Photo courtesy of House Majority Blog

‘Disrespecting a Legislator’ Could Become a Crime Under Proposed Legislation

Disrespect a Hawaii legislator and you could face additional penalties under a new House proposal introduced January 25 by House Speaker Calvin Say.

House Bill 2751 creates “the offense of disrespect.”

The legislation, which has been referred to two committees for review, dictates those making “loud, boisterous or incessant shouts,” refusing to remain seated, assaulting any member of the legislature or the public or threatening bodily harm to legislators or members of the public, will be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.

Speaker Say could not immediately be reached for comment on the motivation behind the legislation.

Legislative watchdogs are concerned lawmakers appear to be putting themselves in a protective class.

Hawaii lawmakers have been under verbal attack this year and last by Mitchell Kahle, a self declared Atheist, and his small band of associates, who have pushed both the Senate and City Council to stop its daily opening prayer. The House, headed by Say, has so far refused to stop its opening prayer held daily on session days. Kahle continues to show up at the capitol and the Catholic Cathedral in downtown Honolulu during the Legislative “red mass” and shout at lawmakers during the prayer.

Businesses Opposing $2 per Hour Minimum Wage Increase

The Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee passed out a minimum wage increase bill last Friday, which boosts the state’s $7.25 minimum wage by $2.

The first increase of 75 cents would go into effect in October of this year and another $1.25 increase would be pushed through in July 2013.

The bill still has to passed the Ways and Means committee and could be further amended there.

Advocates, including the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Chair Dwight Takamine, say the cost of living continues to rise and Hawaii has not adjusted its minimum wage in several years.

Opponents in the business community say that further increases in the minimum wage will further burden businesses when they are still struggling in challenging economic times and it will be a deterrent for hiring new and young employees at entry level jobs.

Between 1.5 and 3 percent of Hawaii’s 630,000 people in the state’s labor force currently are paid at minimum wage, with others paid at a higher rate. The only “no” vote in the state Judiciary Committee was Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai-Diamond Head.

Taxes, Technology on Legislative Agenda

There are a number of bills being heard today that are related to taxation, technology, insurance and education. See the full list of hearings and bills being heard today here:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/upcominghearings.aspx

 

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