Hawaii legislators have killed what some business owners deemed the worst bill of the 2013 legislative session.

House Bill 634 — the “successive owner” legislation — would have forced people purchasing a business to retain all employees. The legislation designated the restriction on businesses with 100 or more employees, but could have easily be lowered this year or in future years to affect companies with considerably fewer employees.

The bill made it through third reading in both Houses, but was highly controversial.

The bill was killed in conference committee on Friday evening.

Organizations such as the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Maui Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, Retail Merchants of Hawaii and Smart Business Hawaii, opposed the measure.

Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, said the legislation had not been given much thought, and seemed to be very bad legislation that would close the doors on future investment in Hawaii.

The AFL-CIO and ILWU Local 142 – and legislators they helped elect – supported the legislation, saying it would create “job security” and remove stress and uncertainty from the lives of employees facing transition.

Sen. Sam Slom, the Senate’s only Republican member who heads the business advocacy group Smart Business Hawaii, said there is no other state with such a bill and for good reason.

“It would cripple existing businesses and make sales and purchases nearly impossible, while reinforcing Hawaii’s image as a hostile business climate with nearly weekly national organizations rating us F for business,” Slom said.




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