Hawaii Legislative Wrap Up – June 22, 2010

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    BY SAM SLOM – The Governor has until July 6 to decide whether to veto, sign or let the bills become law. One of the worst bills was vetoed last week while the Governor was in China.

    Lt. Governor James R. Duke Aiona, Jr., as acting governor, on June 9, vetoed SB 2401, which would have retroactively suspended the Act 221 investment and infrastructure renovation tax credits for three years.


    Currently, Act 221 provides a 100 percent non-refundable credit for investments in qualified high technology businesses. Individuals and companies that make these investments can claim the credit against their income taxes over a five-year period under the following schedule: 35 percent the first year, 25 percent the second year, 20 percent the third year and 10 percent the fourth and fifth years.

    This bill would damage Hawaii’s reputation as a place to do business, said Lt. Governor Aiona. “It will discourage individuals and companies from investing in our state by changing the rules with little notice or rationale.”

    Numerous businesses and individuals testified against the bill stating potential investors are waiting to see what happens with this measure before deciding to invest in current or new ventures in Hawaii. SB 2401 barely passed the Senate with a 14 Ð11 vote (I voted no) near the end of the session. It passed out of the House with a 42-6 vote with 3 excused. There are not enough votes to override the veto.

    Meanwhile the deadline to decide on all bills is fast approaching. Still to be considered are the following bills:

    House Bills:

    • HB 444-civil unions;
    • HB 1665: sale of Hawaiian fishponds;
    • HB 1907: more tax increases;
    • HB 1948: tax refunds;
    • HB 2003: campaign financing;
    • HB 2200: state budget;
    • HB 2239: bottle tax on dietary supplements;
    • HB 2583: shark feeding penalties;
    • HB 2644: tax on solid waste sent out of state.

    Senate Bills:

    SB 466: leaf blower time restriction;

    SB 1059: illegal fireworks task force;

    SB 2231: electric vehicle charging stations @ multifamily residences;

    SB 2461: vehicle rental tax increase to $4.50 per day.

    Recently passed into law:

    Act 141: Parking for disabled persons jurisdiction;

    Act 143: Raid of hurricane insurance fund for school instructional days;

    Act 147: Humane treatment for animals;

    Act 160: public beach access & transit corridors

    (HB1808); Act 165 Hawaiian Monk Seal felony;

    Act 166: Ignition interlocks for persons convicted of driving under the influence (DUI).

    Surfing Reserves Created by Executive Order

    Governor Linda Lingle signed Executive Order #10-07 June 2nd which creates the Hawaii Surfing Reserves as proposed by State Senator Fred Hemmings (RÑHawaii Kai to Waimanalo/Kailua) this legislative session.

    The executive order was issued after the majority party in the State House of Representatives killed the original surfing reserves bill (SB 2646) on the last day of the session. That bill passed out of the Senate with a unanimous vote on March 2. The Executive Order designates Hawaii Surfing Reserves, comprising of surf breaks off Waikiki from Ala Wai to the War Memorial Natatorium and the North Shore of Oahu from Haleiwa’s Alii Beach to Sunset Beach.

    News in Brief.

    • Governor Linda Lingle signed HB 1808 into law on June 2 as Act 160. The new law which addresses beach erosion “requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to maintain beach transit corridors by prohibiting landowners’ human-induced vegetation that interferes with access within the corridor.” The measure is supported by the Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board and was passed out of the Senate with a 23 to 1 vote earlier this year.
    • Various state agencies and the Governor will have to approve the Federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) issued to the City & County this week for the $6 billion rail transit project.
    • On June 4 Governor Linda Lingle announced that the State Land Use Commission (LUC) voted unanimously to reclassify the Ka Iwi Scenic Shoreline from urban to conservation. The area encompasses approximately 215 acres of state-owned land on OahuÔs south-east coast between Queen’s Beach and Makapuu Light.
    • Former Police Chief Lee Donohue has been appointed to the City Council District IV seat this month to fill the vacancy after former City Councilman Charles Djou won the special election to the First Congressional seat on May 22. Mr. Donohue will serve the remainder of Djou’s term until early January 2011.
    • The Governor and the State Board of Education reached an agreement to end the public school furlough days on May 25. The end of school furloughs come at the expense of raiding the State’s Hurricane Insurance Relief Fund of up to $57.2 million. A bill for that process was signed into law as Act 147.
    • Candidate filing deadline is July 20. I filed for reelection to my senate seat on May 18.
    • State Labor Director Darwin Ching resigned his position to run for Honolulu Prosecutor effective June 15. Ching was named labor director in 2007. State Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi left government service on June 15 by mutual agreement, according to the Governor’s office. Kawafuchi had been in the post since 2003.
    • State Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt will be leaving his post on July 1 to join a Honolulu law firm. Schmidt was appointed to Insurance Commissioner in February 2003 and served longer than any prior person at the post. He was previously Corporation Counsel for the County of Maui.
    • Congratulations to former Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou who won the special election for the First District Congressional seat on May 22. Djou is filling a vacancy created after U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie stepped down to run for Governor. Djou, represented East Honolulu on the City Council for nearly 8 years. He will do good as HawaiiÔs newest U.S. Congressman.
    • Governor Linda Lingle wrapped up an official visit to China and Japan this month in an effort to build and expand tourism, investment, trade, energy and education opportunities in Hawaii. A portion of the trip focused on Hawaii Week at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. The Japanese leg of the tour is focused on expanding the state’s economic opportunities and tourism.
    • The 3rd Annual Independence Day at Maunalua Bay will happen on Sunday, July 4 from 1:00 to 9:00 pm. This is East Honolulu’s premiere 4th of July celebration that will feature food, entertainment, people, art and fireworks. There will be free parking at off location sites with free shuttle service to the bay. Fireworks will begin at 8PM.

    Senator Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai to Diamond Head issued this report. Reach him at sbh@lava.net