From Hawaii Family Advocates, February, 2016
Now that the 2016 Hawai’i State Legislature is underway, we’re disappointed, but not surprised to report that it’s business as usual in the Senate and House chambers. Sadly, the priorities of many politicians are seriously misplaced.
At Hawai’i Family Advocates (HFA), we hoped elected officials would introduce bills addressing the greatest challenges facing our Aloha State, including the high cost of living and appalling lack of affordable housing. Instead, we are seeing the opposite with the raising of the General Excise Tax by .05%, Car Registration Tax by $15, Vehicle Weight Tax by $1, and Gas Tax by 3 cents (now making this tax the highest in the nation).
Many misguided politicians seek to raise taxes in one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation. Moreover, these politicians intend to erode traditional values in Hawai’i by championing bills that encourage suicide, legalize recreational marijuana use, open the door to gambling and weaken the authority of parents regarding how they wish to raise their children.
Here are a few of these bills that HFA vigorously opposes:
- SB2373, the so-called “Death with Dignity” bill, would allow terminally ill adults to commit suicide by receiving lethal doses of medication prescribed by physicians. At HFA, we believe it is inhumane to encourage suicide and a violation of the womb to the tomb.
- HB717 would legalize the growing, processing, possession, transfer and personal use of marijuana for persons 21 or older. What certain lawmakers don’t want to admit, however, is that marijuana is a proven “gateway” drug that can lead to increasingly dangerous substance abuse and more teenagers and even younger children will be at risk of harming their developing brains.
- SB2626 would permit legal gambling in Hawai’i by authorizing a state agency to operate a lottery. Unfortunately, this would lure many needy individuals into wasting their money on lottery tickets with only an almost zero chance of winning a big payoff. This would exacerbate the demand for social services, with hard-working taxpayers shouldering the financial burden.
- HB91 is also supported by the pro-gambling lobby. This unwise legislation would allow the installation of slot machines at state airports. Is that the image of our Island home we should convey to residents and visitors?
- SB2615 and HB1675 would usurp parents of their legal and God given right to make decisions regarding counseling therapy if their children are battling with sexual identity issues. If this bill becomes law, professional counselors, pastors, faith based teachers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers would be prohibited from counseling children about their sexual identity. Parents would be prohibited from allowing their pastors or any other counseling professional who has similar beliefs relating to sexual orientation and identify from counseling their children on matters that is based upon biblical and faith based principles and values because the legislature is adopting the policy that sexual orientation as a gay, lesbian, or transsexual is not a disorder.
- SB979 is a holdover from last year's legislative session. It would provide our youth between the ages of 14 and 18 a Safe Place. This bill allows a youth between the ages of 14 and 18 to go to a Safe Place if he or she feels that home is not safe. The police, courts, or health department are not involved in this decision making process and a parent's input at the initial assessment can be trumped by the worker at the Safe Place. Sadly, our legislators do not appreciate or recognize how disgruntled youth can abuse this program. The bill was deferred last year because of funding.
- SB2886 and HB2357 would reduce the age of consent to receive mental health services from 18 to 12 years old. In short, children from the age of 12, who are easily influenced by many sources, would be able to receive mental health services without the knowledge and consent of their parents. The child can remain in therapy without the knowledge of their parents until they have completed their therapy. This is yet another bill that usurps and infringes upon parenting rights and responsibility.
If these last few bills become law it would just add to fact that the State of Hawai’i is the nanny state. How much more can government do to intrude upon one's faithful beliefs and parental duties, responsibilities, and rights!
These are just some of the ill-conceived bills that HFA will closely monitor. We will present an appropriate action plan for each bill as the session evolves, so please stand by to engage in the process.
Mahalo, as always, for your support and prayers during this critical period.
Aloha Ke Akua!