Hawaii_state_capitol_from_the_south_east796159HONOLULU — At Second Crossover, the Hawaii State Senate advanced several bills that align with its 2013 legislative session priorities:  improving the lives of Hawaii’s people through kūpuna support, environmental protection, community investment and fiscal responsibility. Lawmakers advanced legislation relating to education, housing and homelessness, health, public safety, agriculture, veterans, and tourism.

The Senate passed more than 170 measures, including those supporting Hawaii’s kūpuna and protecting the environment.

Lawmakers passed three joint majority package bills related to these issues. The kūpuna measures advanced include HB1713, which will provide funding to support healthy aging programs and services and require the Executive Office on Aging to conduct a public education and awareness campaign on long-term care, and HB1715, which appropriates funds for the operation of investor education and related financial education programs targeted to kūpuna. Senators also approved HB1714, a bill that addresses sea level rise due to climate change. Voting on HB1716, a bill addressing invasive species, has been deferred until passage of the state budget bill.

The Senate also advanced HB1866, a compromise bill that addresses the concerns of both developers and critics of the Hawaii Community Development Authority while moving the state forward in a positive direction. The bill amends the HCDA membership and appointment, creates a 418-ft height limit, and makes requirement changes for notice, hearing, approval and vesting of rights for development permits. It will also permit sales of reserved housing units and cash-in-lieu payments for reserved housing requirements.

To expedite discussions on the state supplemental budget, the Senate last week approved the HB1700, the supplemental appropriations act of 2014, which includes less spending while continuing to support education, health, human services, the environment and public safety.

Following lower tax revenue projections, the Senate’s version of the bill reduces all funds by $46.1 million, inclusive of a general fund reduction of $45.8 million. For FY2014-2015, the bill reduces all funds by $167.9 million, inclusive of a general fund reduction of $158.7 million.

The bill does not include funding for certain administration requests that are intended to be funded under other appropriation measures, including joint majority package bills. These reductions should not be counted as actual “savings.” The reductions include $33.5 million for the UHPA salaries, $1.0 million for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, and $4.9 million for Kūpuna Care and other senior citizen programs.

Members of the Senate and House convene conference committees this week to work out any differences in the measures.

OTHER SECOND CROSSOVER BILLS

Education

HB2109 HD2 SD1 establishes a five-year evidence-based physical-activity and nutritional-education pilot program within the A+ Program in Hawaii’s public elementary schools.

HB1777 HD2 SD2 authorizes DOE employees and agents with specified training to volunteer to administer auto-injectable epinephrine to a student with anaphylaxis. Allows DOE to make arrangements to receive auto-injectable epinephrine supplies from manufacturers and suppliers.

HB2598 HD1 SD2 renames the Hawaii 3R’s School Repair and Maintenance Fund the Hawaii 3R’s School Improvement Fund. Requires the transfer of moneys collected pursuant to section 235-102.5(b), Hawaii Revised Statutes, and authorizes the transfer of any other moneys received in the form of grants and donations for school-level improvements and minor repairs and maintenance to the Hawaii 3R’s School Improvement Fund.

HB1676 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds to, and authorize, the Executive Office on Early Learning to enter into agreements with the Department of Education and public charter schools to use available classrooms for public preschool.

HB1756 HD1 SD2 statutorily establishes the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health program within the Office of Youth Services to provide after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools. Establishes a special fund.
Environmental Protection

HB2434 HD1 SD1 increases financial resources to support a conservation and natural resource protection program in the State. Specifies the distribution and allowable uses, subject to agreement between the HTA and the BLNR, of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the special land and development fund for resource and facilities management costs related to the HTA’s strategic plan.

HB2620 HD1 SD2 requires the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program to submit a report updating the 1996 report on oil spills.

HB1514 HD1 SD2 appropriates moneys for mitigation of, and education relating to, the coffee berry borer.
Transient Accommodations Tax

HB1671 HD1 SD1 removes the current cap on transient accommodations tax revenues to be distributed to the counties and establishes the distribution of these revenues as a percentage of TAT collected.

Community Investment

HB2217 HD2 SD1 (Workforce Development) authorizes DLIR to establish working groups to identify high growth industries and workforce needs and to develop training programs.

HB2007 HD1 SD2 (Agriculture) appropriates funds to the Local and Immigrant Farmer Education Program of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service to support the growth and sustainability of the agriculture industry.

HB2468 SD2 (Agriculture) authorizes DBEDT, in collaboration with DOA, to perform studies and analysis relating to: (1) Establishing facilities on the island of Hawaii for quarantine inspection and treatment and handling imported and exported commodities; and (2) Implementation of designated foreign-trade zone sites. Creates an agricultural technology park under the HTDC.

HB2169 HD1 (Tourism) provides an incentive for the private sector to invest in hotel and resort construction and renovation.

HB2371 HD1 SD1 (Tax relief) reduces the tax burden on the lowest income residents of the State by amending the amount and threshold of the refundable food/excise tax credit and income tax credit for low-income household renters, and creates a new low-income tax credit and earned income tax credit.

HB1934 HD1 SD2 (Homelessness) appropriates funds to various programs that provided housing, housing assistance, and supportive services to individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Other Notables

HB1667 HD3 SD2 (Veterans) provides qualifying totally and permanently disabled veterans an exemption of one-half of the state vehicle registration fee, rounded up to the nearest dollar. Requires the Office of Veterans’ Services to report the number of qualifying veterans to the Legislature and Department of Taxation.

HB1926 HD1 SD1 (Crime) amends the offense of prostitution to clarify that a law enforcement officer shall not be exempt from the offense if the law enforcement officer engages in sexual penetration while acting in the course and scope of duties; and establish that a person less than eighteen years of age shall not be prosecuted for prostitution or promoting prostitution offenses if the person is charged with a first and only prostitution charge; provided that a person’s exemption shall not affect the prosecution of any other person for a prostitution or promoting prostitution offense. Amends the offense of solicitation of a minor for prostitution. Clarifies sentencing of repeat offenders and enhanced sentences for repeat violent and sexual offenders.

For more information visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

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