From Hawaii Family Forum, February 12, 2021
Assisted Suicide Expansion Bill Easily Passes Senate Health
Bill to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to Practice Assisted Suicide Passes Committee
On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, the Senate Health Committee heard SB
839 Relating to Health. This bill expands the providers of assisted suicide in the State of Hawaii to include Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). Although the hearing notice had 14 bills on it, and the APRN bill was #11 on the hearing notice, all testimony for all the bills had been heard within 45 minutes. Since a 2 minute restriction on oral testimony is in place, that wasn't particularly surprising. The majority of testimonies were in favor of the bill. Hawaii Family Forum, along with several high profile medical professionals in the State, opposed the bill.
STATUS: On February 10, 2021, the Senate Health Committee voted that the bill pass out of committee with amendments. The votes were as follows:
YES: Senator(s) Keohokalole, Baker, Moriwaki, San Buenventura
NO: Senator Fevella
The bill will now move to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Lottery Bill Passes the Senate Education Committee
On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, the Senate Education committee heard testimony on SB 816, Relating to a State Lottery. This bill, creates a state lottery to begin by 1/1/2022, established a state lottery commission, state lottery account, and lottery administration account, requires certain amounts of lottery revenues to be deposited into the administrative account, general fund, and special funds for university facilities and operations and public school operations. After hearing strong opposition from the City and County of Honolulu Prosecutors Office, and the City and County of Honolulu Police Department the committee opted to pass the bill with amendments. DCCA also submitted opposition to the bill, but the opposition was not due to its concern with gambling in the State so the committee incorporated its concerns into the new version. Hawaii Family Forum submitted testimony in opposition. (Read Civil Beat Article)
STATUS: On February 10, 2021, the Senate Committee on Education voted to pass the bill with amendments. Votes in the committee were as follows:
YES: Senator(s) Kidani, Dela Cruz, Kanuha and Fevella
NO: Senator Donna Mercado Kim
The bill will now move to a joint committee of the Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means.
Casino on Hawaiian Homeland Bill Decision Deferred by Senate Hawaiian Affairs
Strong Opposition Against Gambling
On Thursday, February 11, 2021, the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs heard testimony on 1 bill, SB 1321, the bill that would grant a forty-year gaming license for a single integrated resort property on Hawaiian home lands designated for commercial use on the island of Oahu excluding lands west of Ko Olina. The bill would also establish the Hawaii Gaming Commission. Although the opposition testimony (209 written testimonies in opposition plus a petition coordinated by Senator Kurt Fevella of 15.6k people) far outweighed support (32), the Chair of the Committee (Senator Maile Shimabukuro) noted at the beginning of the hearing that the Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee (Senator Donovan Dela Cruz) had worked out a new version of the bill that they believe will be a "good compromise" and "amend the measure." The new version will be made available to the public before the decision making which will take place on Tuesday, February 16 at 1:01 p.m. Hawaii Family Forum opposed this bill.
Other Gambling Bills Fail in the House Signaling Potential Disinterest by the House Leadership
House Disagrees with Senate on Gambling
HB 383, would establish a state poker commission to oversee the licensing and operation of specified gaming activities in the State, including live poker rooms. Designates as commissioners the respective directors of business, economic development, and tourism; commerce and consumer affairs; and taxation; or their designees.
STATUS: On February 10, 2021, the bill was deferred by the House Committee on Economic Development.
HB 772, would grant a 10-year license for 1 stand-alone, members-only casino in Waikiki, not in a hotel. Allows guests 21 years of age or older who register to stay 1 day and night at a hotel on Oahu for each day of admission at $20-per-day pass. Establishes the Hawaii gaming control commission. Imposes wagering tax on gross receipts. Creates the state gaming fund and compulsive gambler program.
STATUS: On February 10, 2021, the bill was deferred by the House Committee on Economic Development deferred the bill.
Read Honolulu Star Advertiser article from February 11, 2021
Upcoming Legislative Deadlines
FEB 19 - FIRST LATERAL (BILLS) - All bills referred to more than one committee (i.e., those with multiple referrals) must move to their final committee in the originating chamber by this day.
FEB 25 - MAR 3 MANDATORY 5-DAY RECESS - Hawaii's Constitution mandates a 5-day recess between the 20th and 40th days of the regular session. Neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate convene or assemble formally in chamber on recess days. Committee hearings do take place.
Legislative Action Workshop
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of California Churches
Religious Freedom Win!
Religious Freedom scored a major victory this past weekend when the US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of two California churches that challenged California Gov. Gavin Newsom's ban on indoor worship services.
The ruling by the nation's highest court pushes back against what some have called Newsom's COVID-19 targeting of churches with restrictions that prohibit indoor gatherings and limit singing in services.
While the Court did uphold some pandemic-oriented limitations on indoor attendance, the decision ultimately reinforces the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment right granting Freedom of Religion. In fact, in writing one of the majority opinion responses to the case, Justice Neil Gorsuch stated, "When a state so obviously targets religion for differential treatment, our job becomes that much clearer."
Promise to America's Children
Hawaii Family Forum signs on to a coalition of non-profit organizations who work for the wellbeing of American families. The coalition is passionate about protecting children - our own, and all those across America. While many hands have made the work of this coalition, our leading national and state partners are listed here.
Faith in Politics: Recent Episodes
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
In this episode Jim Hochberg shares about the separation of church and state. National issues discussed as well. You can view all episodes at this link.
CAN UNITY BE ACHIEVED?