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Saturday, February 21, 2015
Legislative Agenda: Pot, Parents and Privacy
By Hawaii Family Forum @ 8:25 PM :: 3522 Views :: Family, Life

Pot, Parents & Privacy?

From Hawaii Family Forum, February 20, 2015

The Hawaii State Legislature opened on January 21, 2015 and today, February 20, 2015, is DECKING.  What that means is that all bills that have been assigned to multiple committees, must have moved to their final committees.  That means that bills like HB 1255 (relating to death with dignity or aka physician-assisted suicide) is dead for this session as it was assigned to three committees and it was never scheduled for hearing.  Keep in mind that we have a biennial legislature so the bill could come up for next session.  Other bills, however, are moving and very shortly we will be asking you to get involved.  If you want to see a list of the active bills we are tracking, please click this link.

If you care about any of these issues below and want to learn more, come and join us on February 24th. (You must call (808) 429-4872 to register).  If you cannot attend in person, please call the number and let us know that you are concerned about any (or all) of the issues below and you want to get involved.  For those of you on the neighbor islands, we appreciate that you are interested as well and plans are currently in discussion for this same meeting to take place in your area.  Please call (808) 429-4872 to let us know of your interest so that we can confirm those meetings.  We need to have a minimum number of people interested on each island to justify the expense.

POT - Dispensaries & Decriminalization

In 2000, Hawaii legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Since then, proponents of marijuana dispensaries have been begging for a "safe place" to acquire their medical marijuana.  This session, legislators in both the House and Senate seem determined to make that happen and over 30 different bills were introduced relating to marijuana.

(If you check out the following two links, you will see if YOUR legislator sponsored the dispensary bills - SB 1302 & HB 321). 

But even worse, this legislature is moving a bill forward (SB 596) that decriminalizes marijuana. The bill "[e]stablishes a civil violation for possession by a person 18 years of age or older of one ounce or less (the HPD testified that one ounce can make 50+ "joints") and a fine of not more than $100. Also troubling is that it deletes reporting requirements of board of education for students possessing one ounce or less of marijuana." The Senate Committee on Health stated in their committee report, "the benefits of establishing a civil violation for the possession of small amounts of marijuana outweigh the benefits of the current criminal treatment of this offense." 

We think the wider public strongly disagrees! If you do, please be ready to make contact with your Senator and Representative.

PARENTS

Hawaii's "keiki caucus" has asked the legislature to pass a "safe places" bill.  There is a national effort to create these places in every state. While we understand the intent of what the legislature is trying to do for youth at risk, we have serious reservations about the way the bill is written and the wider implications for parents.

BOE POLICY 2110  |  Do you know what your children are learning in school, especially with regards to sex education?  (If you don't, see Hawaii Public Schools FactSheet

In June of 2014, the Department of Education changed policy #2210 from an opt out (where all children are automatically included in all sex education curriculum and parents who have objections would need to opt their children out) to an opt in (now all children are excluded from sex education unless their parents specifically opt them in.) HB 459 (currently moving through the legislature) noted that parents should be aware of what their children are learning and that parents should be able to make the final decision; however, the bill attempted to change the policy back to an opt out policy.  The House Health Committee removed the provision that would have done so, but we will continue to monitor the bill.  The bottom line is that parents need to remain plugged into their schools and take an active role in what their children are learning.

PRIVACY

Should someone who identifies as a different sex than the one they were born be able to change their birth certificate without surgery and a simple affidavit "from a licensed medical or licensed mental health provider attesting that the current birth certificate record does not align with the birth registrant's gender identity and that in the provider's professional opinion the birth registrant's sex designation should be changed accordingly?"  And should that birth certificate, once changed to reflect one's "gender identity," show that it has been amended, or not?   Legislators are moving a bill (HB 631) forward that would allow people to change their birth certificates without it showing an amendment has been made.  We do not believe a historical document should be changed without a notation as to that effect and we are finding that most people agree.

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