Lt Gov Duke Aiona delivers Hawaii Family Advocates legislative update February 12, 2016.
LEGISLATIVE WEEK IN REVIEW
February 6 - 12, 2016
From Hawaii Family Forum and Hawaii Family Advocates, February 12, 2016
Unity in Palliative Care and Support for Hospice
On Saturday, February 6, the Senate heard SB3010, a bill was heard by the Senate Consumer Protection and Health that (instead of pushing physician-assisted suicide) establishes the hospice and palliative care and quality of life advisory council within the department of health to advise the director of health on hospice and palliative care matters. This advisory committee (similar to services currently provided by Kokua Mau) would assist health care facilities and health care services in the State to establish a system for identifying patients or residents who could benefit from hospice or palliative care and provide information on accessing these services. Although the bill was deferred by the committee, we are hopeful that discussion will continue on this issue because we strongly support better care for patients experiencing the end of life journey. Hawaii Family Forum supported the bill.
Drug Paraphernalia (Decrim) Bill Gains Traction
On Wednesday, February 10, the joint Senate Public Safety Committee and Senate Judiciary Labor committee heard SB 2179 Relating to Drug Paraphernalia. The purpose of S.B. 2179 is to reportedly reduce the prison population and re-divert state funds to community-based programs by reducing the penalty of from a class C felony offense to a violation ($100). The County of Kauai police department stated in their testimony that they "are hard-pressed to understand how the threat of a $100 civil fine will stop manufacturers and dealers/suppliers from continuing to prey upon our society." We agree. For those worried that people end up in jail for low-level drug user, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney had this to say, "...incarceration is not and has never been the go-to solution for low-level drug offenders but rather it is the last resort for repeat offenders who have not been accountable for their actions." The bill has been deferred until 02-16-16 10:00AM in conference room 016. If it passes, it will move to the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Hawaii Family Forum opposed the bill.
Gambling Interests Hidden by Internet "Fantasy" Games
The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor heard SB2429 on Thursday, February 11, that attempts to change Hawaii's gambling laws to include fantasy sports. Fantasy sports competitions are based on statistical performances of real athletes in real sporting events and make no mistake, it is indeed a form of gambling. Interesting to note that every single testimony to this bill was in opposition and yet the Judiciary passed it (with unamendments). The bill will now move to the full Senate for a vote since it was a single referral bill. Hawaii remains only one of two states in the nation without any form of legalized gambling. If you don't want gambling to get its foot in the door in Hawaii, contact your Senator and ask them to vote no on SB2429. Hawaii Family Forum testified in opposition to the bill.
Therapy for Minors Deferred by House Health Committee
On Tuesday, February 10, the House Health Committee rightfully deferred HB1675, the bill that would have taken away the rights of parents to access the best professional care for their minor child experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction. The bill does not define therapy although testimony from supporters of the bill make claims of "electroshock therapy" and "religious homophobia" to scare lawmakers into believing that these types of negative therapeutic care is being conducted in Hawai'i. If the bill had passed, all teachers and licensed therapists would only be allowed to "[p]rovides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices." The Senate version of this bill (SB2615) is being heard today in joint hearing of the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Committee on Public Health. To take action and sign the petition against SB2615/HB1675, visit this link: VOTE NO ON HB1675 AND SB2476 RELATING TO MINORS. Both Hawaii Family Advocates and Hawaii Family Forum opposed both bills.
Coming Up Next Week
Hawaii Family Forum/Hawaii Family Advocates Gala supporting a Lifetime Commitment to Marriage will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m (dinner included). If you would like to attend, please call 808.429.4872 for ticket and table information. In fact, see a preview of the celebration by watching this morning's KITV morning show clip featuring one of the couples we will be honoring, Dennis and Rosemary Yokota.
Franklin Graham prayer event at the State Capitol will be on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Click here for more information.
The Catholic Diocese is offering an all day seminar with Human Life International Speakers on Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 8:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the KROC Center in Kapolei. This seminar is open to the public but you must register online.