Aloha! Welcome to the Legislative Report of the House Republican Caucus. This weekly report will offer updates on the status of notable House and Senate bills and information about how you can make your voice heard at the Capitol.
As the 2013 legislative session passes its halfway point, the priorities of the 2013 House Republican Caucus continue to be providing people the opportunity to thrive by reducing the cost of living in Hawaii, opposing harmful tax increases and making government more transparent and accountable for the people it serves.
Many Bad Bills Did Not Pass the House
This is a promising time in your Hawaii House of Representatives. For one, many of the biggest tax and fee increases that were introduced this year did not pass. These measures would have:
- Increased the general excise tax from 4 percent to 5 percent;
- Increased the marriage license fee from $60 to $100;
- Established a fee on single-use checkout bags;
- Increased the conveyance tax;
- Increased the hotel-room tax from 9.25 percent to 11.25 percent;
- Increased portable electronics insurance fees for providers from $150 to $5,000 annually; and
- Added dietary supplement beverage containers to items included in the Deposit Beverage Container Program.
Other controversial issues that did not pass the House would have legalized same-sex marriage and legalized the possession and consumption of small amounts ofmarijuana. House Republicans were instrumental in defeating many of these bills.
Notable Bills That Passed the House
One of the few tax measures that did pass the House would have applied the general excise tax to Internet sales. After passing the House, HB 1257 HD1 continues to move through the Senate despite the negative impact it would have on Hawaii consumers.
As part of our effort to make Hawaii a more affordable place for everyone to live, our Republican Caucus is proud to support HB 694 HD1 which provides broad-based income tax relief. The bill ends increased income tax rates for all income brackets a year earlier than scheduled and provides for a tax cut for the middle class.
The House will vote this week on the House Budget. This is a more fiscally conservative budget than those passed in recent years as it significantly reduces spending from the levels that the Governor requested. Stay tuned for more details later this week.
Will Hawaii Raise Its Minimum Wage?
The House Committee on Labor passed SB 331 SD2 today to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.25 by 2016. Many businesses have indicated that this would significantly increase their costs.
Share Your Thoughts on the Governor’s Early Learning Program
Measures to establish a public early learning program passed the Senate last week and will be heard by the House Committee on Education tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13 at 2:00 p.m. Many people have voiced concerns about growing the size of government, creating a public education voucher system and possibly restricting religious freedom in private schools. More details and information about how to submit testimony can be found at the links below.
The three bills would:
- Ask voters whether to amend the state Constitution and allow public money to fund private preschool. (SB 1084 SD1)
- Establish a school readiness program for 4-year-olds who are no longer eligible for junior kindergarten for the 2014-2015 school year. (SB 1093 SD2)
- Establish an early childhood education system to move the state toward universal preschool. (SB 1095 SD2)
To view the hearing notice and submit testimony, please click here.
If you have any questions or concerns about measures in the House or Senate, please don’t hesitate to contact the House Republican Caucus. We look forward to continuing to work with you to make Hawaii an even better place to live.
Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson
T: (808) 586-9470
Rep. Beth Fukumoto
Minority Floor Leader
T: (808) 586-9460