HONOLULU – The Women’s Legislative Caucus, consisting of members from both the state Senate and House, today announced a joint package of priorities for the 2014 legislative session. The package of bills cover a broad spectrum of issues of concern to women of all ages and economic background.
“For more than 20 years, our coalition of women legislators have worked on behalf of the concerns and rights of all women in Hawaii,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa). “By working collectively, we have provided women with a strong voice when it comes to passing measures that will improve women’s quality of life and protect their safety and rights.”
“This year’s initiatives include bills relating to women’s health issues, strengthening the family, violence against women, human trafficking, and Title IX” said Senator Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui). “I am also very pleased that one of our bills directs the state Department of Education to name the new high school in my district of Kihei, Maui the Patsy Takemoto Mink High School. As a role model for young women and as a pioneer in women’s rights, she deserves this honor for all that she accomplished for women in Hawaii and across the nation.”
“Our collaboration involves not only members of the Legislature, but other organizations that focus on women’s issues, such as the YWCA, the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, the Organization of Hawaii Women Leaders, and the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership,” said Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay). “Proposed bills are voted on by caucus members and those that are approved by at least 75 percent become part of the package.”
“While women have made great strides in many areas, real life experiences and trends suggest we still have a lot of work to do in terms of women’s equality and opportunity, as well as their health, safety and wellbeing,” said Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland (Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown).
STRENGTHENING REPRODUCTIVE AND MATERNAL HEALTH
Relating to Health (Requiring Information about the Vaccination for Human Papillomavirus)
Requires the Department of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Health, to annually provide to parents or guardians of each student entering grade six information on the availability of a vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV). Information will include the link between HPV and cervical cancer as well as other cancers and diseases and that a vaccination to help prevent HPV infection is available. Parents and guardians are also to be informed about recommendation that the vaccination be completed before the student enters grade seven. Program effective beginning the 2015-2016 school year.
Relating to Cancer (Comprehensive Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program; Appropriation)
Appropriates $100,000 to the Department of Health for the comprehensive breast and cervical control program.
Relating to Jury Duty (Exempting Breastfeeding Mothers from Jury Duty)
Exempts breastfeeding mothers from jury duty for up to one year from the time the mother began breastfeeding the child.
BUILDING STRONGER FAMILIES
Relating to Infant Mortality (Comprehensive Maternal and Child Health Quality Improvement Program)
Clarifies the role of the Department of Health in reducing infant mortality rates; establishes the Hawaii maternal and child health quality improvement collaborative; requires birthing facility reporting; and appropriates funds for operations.
Relating to Project Kealahou
Appropriates $50,000 for the continued funding of Project Kealahou, within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division of the Department of Health. Project Kealahou promotes community-based, individualized, culturally and linguistically competent, family-driven, youth-guided, and evidence-based services for adolescent girls, ages 11 to 21, who have experienced significant trauma in their lives.
TACKLING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Relating to Sexual Assault (Removes the Statute of Limitations on Cases of Sexual Assault)
Removes the statute of limitations for criminal and civil actions arising from sexual assault in the first and second degrees and continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of fourteen.
Restoring Judiciary Funding of Domestic Violence Funding
Restores funds in the Judiciary budget to allow for funding of domestic violence services
Relating to Human Trafficking (Victim Services Fund)
Establishes the human trafficking victim services fund to be administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide support and services to human trafficking victims.
HONORING HAWAII’S WOMEN LEADERS
Relating to Education (Naming Kihei public high school the Patsy Takemoto Mink High School)
Requires the Department of Education to name the new public high school in Kihei, Maui “The Patsy Takemoto Mink High School” in honor of the late United States Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink.
Requesting the University of Hawaii commit to upholding Title IX and VAWA 2013
Requesting the University of Hawaii to affirm their commitment to upholding the tenets of Title IX and the Violence against Women’s Act (VAWA) 2013 and the University of Hawaii’s dedication to ending all forms of sexual violence on Hawaii campuses through a report on the status of Title IX and VAWA 2013 policies, procedures, staffing and statistics.
Requesting the City and County of Honolulu name the new Central Oahu ambulance facility after the late state Health Director Loretta Fuddy.
The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=package&pkey=12&year=2014&name=Women%27s+Legislative+Caucus