News Release from Hawaii Chamber of Commerce
This year’s Legislative Package focuses on strategic areas to support businesses in Hawaii that again promote measures to spur economic development and improve the business climate. Here are a few bills introduced on behalf of the Chamber this session:
SB2904 RELATING TO HTDC
Innovation continues to be a key component of Hawaii’s new economy and sector for growth. This bill provides funding for the Hawaii Small Business Innovation and Research program, supported by Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), which helps local companies secure federal R&D dollars for research and commercialization development. ($2M)
HB2610 & SB2903 RELATING TO HTDC
As the official state partner to the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber continues to advocate for continued support of the manufacturing grant program. ($1.5M)
Support resources for programs to support the military in Hawaii.
Grant in Aid to support the Military Affairs Council’s 2019 Hawaii Military Partnership Conference, as well as neighbor island conferences or seminars aimed at supporting the efforts of the Kauai Military Affairs Council and Hawaii Island Military Affairs Committee ($50,000).
IMPROVING BUSINESS CLIMATE
Bill to address Adams v. CDM court ruling (HB2201/SB2993)
The case, arguably, overturns decades of settled law. In the past, because Hawaii is an at-will employment state, an employer could take an adverse employment action (e.g., firing, demotion, refusal to hire) for any non-discriminatory reason. The ruling as stated imposes far greater restriction, i.e., the adverse action must only be related to the person’s ability to perform the job. This legislation establishes that any adverse employment action can be taken by an employer for any nondiscriminatory reason.
Other aspects include that, essentially, if an employer ends up not hiring an applicant for a reason that is not stated in the job posting, the employer is on the hook for a discrimination claim.
Lastly, the Court stated that the decision maker for a hiring decision must have personal knowledge of the issues/reasons for not hiring a candidate. This can especially be an issue for large employers as the interviewer is not the hiring authority.
Bill to allow employers to file temporary restraining orders against individuals (HB2200/SB2994)
Currently, an employer cannot seek a temporary restraining order and injunction against an individual to protect employees or invitees (e.g. clients, customers, etc.) and create a safe working environment at the employer’s premises or worksite.
Clarification of the Small Business Regulatory Review Board’s powers (HB2235/SB2885)
The Small Business Regulatory Review Board (SBRRB) currently reviews rules that are proposed, amended, or adopted by a state agency, however these responsibilities not clear in statute.
To view the full list of bills in the Chamber’s Business Package, click here.
SA: Cut regulations, enlist private sector to solve state’s problems
PBN: Now's the time for Hawaii small business to speak up about proposed laws