The State Legislature passed more than 400 bills during this week’s crossover voting that wrapped up today. Many bills propose to raid special funds, increase taxes and fees and generally do more to erode your freedom and take more of your money.
”In the Senate, some of the bad bills that passed which I voted “no” on all include:”
*SB 2030: Raids the hurricane reserve trust fund for QUEST interest payments and penalties.
*SB 2124: Raids the Hawaii Hurricane Relief fund to pay for public school teachers; to fund the end of “Furlough Fridays”.
*SB 2469: Raid the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” to pay for various social services programs.
*SB 2604: Raids tobacco tax fund.
*SB 2806: Sets up the State’s Rainy Day Fund for more raids in the future.
*SB 2807: A bad Constitutional Amendment proposal that would take the public’s right to surplus funds and put them into the rainy day fund, where it is subjected to future raids.
”There are bills to increase taxes and fees, which I voted “no” on including:”
*SB 2405: “Streamline Tax” to tax your out of state internet and mail order purchases. Proponents are engaging a P-R campaign to support this bill as a way to get more social programs funding.
*SB 2420: Expands the bottle bill tax to cover dietary drinks and liquor.
*SB2575: Creates a new anti-speculation capital gains tax on profits from real estate transactions.
*SB2213: Allows state to set up “Compassion Centers” for sale of medical marijuana, which would be subject to a GE Tax of $30 per ounce.
*SB 2052: A new fireworks tax of $25.
*SB 2159: Increases fee of traffic abstract from $7 to $10.
*SB 2454: Allows courts to charge fees certified documents while exempting the state from those fees.
*SB 2461: Increases the motor vehicle customer facility tax from $1 to $4.50 a day.
*SB2460: Increased user fees for commercial operators going to Molokini Island.
”Other bad bills that I voted “no” on include:”
*SB 2840 requires 80% local labor for government construction projects;
*SB 2937 enacts “abusive process of law” against “vexatious requesters”;
*SB 2356 outlaws all gas powered leaf blowers except those owned by the State;
*and SB 2559 will ban plastic bags given out by retailers.
Several other bad anti-taxpayer, anti-business bills that increase cost have passed out of the House and crossed into the Senate. The Senate will be dealing with these house bills over the next few weeks.
”Other News in Brief”
*Family Court Judge Robert M. Browning was confirmed by the full senate today as the State’s newest Circuit Court Judge. The Senate also confirmed Lisa M. Ginoza as the State’s newest judge to the Intermediate Court of Appeals as Associate Judge. Both judges were unanimously confirmed on February19 in the Senate Judiciary Committee of which I am a member.
*A draft audit of the State’s Budget & Finance Department by Legislative Auditor Marion Higa angered Governor Linda Lingle and her Budget Director Georgina Kawamura over allegations of financial mismanagement and bad investments. The Governor stated that the report is “inaccurate” and that it puts the State’s bond rating at risk.
*Governor Linda Lingle signed HB 2162 into law on Feb. 26 as Act 1. This is the bill that appropriates more than $34 million for the operations of the State Legislature and auxiliary services.
*Governor Lingle vetoed SB 1311 that would exempt the University of Hawaii from permitting requirements that protect the marine refuge in Kaneohe Bay.
*The Hawaii State Office of Elections has announced that the special election for the First Congressional District to fill the vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives created upon the resignation of Congressman Neil Abercrombie, will be held on May 22 through a mail-in ballot only.
*Hawaii students participating in the regional robotics competition will be showcased with their high tech creations at the upcoming Regional Robotics Competition to be held on March 25