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Saturday, February 23, 2019
Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review
By Hawaii Family Forum @ 9:11 PM :: 1433 Views :: Family, Life

Weekly Recap

From Hawaii Family Forum, Feb 23, 2019

Direct Assault on the Roman Catholic Church

On Wednesday, February 20th, a joint Senate Committee of the Human Services and Judiciary passed Senate Resolution (SR4) and Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR8) asking the Attorney General to investigate the Roman Catholic Church for sex abuse.   Before believing the misinformation that has plagued the media in recent years, please read Bishop Larry Silva's letter to the full Senate.  In spite of the misinformation posted in the resolution, the Senate Committee members voted to PASS it.

While HFF did not weigh in on the bill, we are very concerned about the bully tactics being used against a religious organization.  We will be watching this issue very closely.

STATUS:  On February 20, the Senate Committee on HMS recommended that SR4 and SCR8 be PASSED, UNAMENDED.  

The votes in HMS were as follows:

5 Aye(s): Senator(s) Ruderman, K. Rhoads, Ihara, Riviere, Fevella;

The votes in JDC were as follows:

3 Aye(s): Senator(s) K. Rhoads, Kim, Fevella;

2 Excused: Senator(s) Wakai, Gabbard.

The bill is now moving to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Marijuana Bills Still Alive

HB 1383 Marijuana Decriminalization

HB 1383, the bill that will decriminalize certain offenses relating to marijuana and establish a schedule of monetary fines for violations is still alive. The bill also changes statutory references from "marijuana" to "cannabis." In addition, it provides for the dismissal of charges and expungement of criminal records based solely on cannabis offenses.  HFF OPPOSES this bill.

The Attorney General, submitting testimony in opposition, stated strongly in their testimony on February 4th, that "[m]arijuana possession, cultivation, and distribution is illegal under federal law. As the bill acknowledges, marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance  under federal law.  It is a violation of federal law to grow, distribute, or use marijuana.  Although this bill could decriminalize conduct prohibited under state law, federal laws regarding the nonmedical use of marijuana cannot be ignored." 

The State Department of Transportation stated in their testimony that they "believe that decriminalizing marijuana in Hawaii will increase the risk of drivers, who shortly after consuming marijuana drive their car, being involved in a traffic incident/crash and causing additional injuries and deaths on Hawaii's roadways."

STATUS:  After several deferrals on decision making, the bill was moved once again for decision making on Tuesday, February 16th at 2:00 p.m.

ACTION:  You can still call or email the members of the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote NO on HB 1383 (the bill the decriminalize marijuana)

SB 686 SD1 Recreational Marijuana

SB 686 SD1 is still pending a hearing by a joint committee of the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection & Health and the Ways & Means Committee.  The bill, if passed, will legalize the personal use, possession, and sale of cannabis in a specified quantity (1/2 ounce.  Note that a half ounce equates to 14 grams of cannabis). It will also allow medical cannabis dispensaries to sell non-medical cannabis for personal use beginning February 1, 2021.  HFF OPPOSES this bill.

Suicide Prevention Bills

SB 226 SD1 Suicide Prevention

SB226 SD1 appropriates moneys for youth suicide early intervention, prevention, and education initiatives in Kauai, Hawaii, and Maui counties. (SD1)  Hawaii Family Forum supported the bill.

STATUS:  On February 21, 2019, the Senate Ways & Means Committee recommended that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in WAM were as follows:

9 Aye(s): Senator(s) Dela Cruz, Keith-Agaran, Inouye, Kanuha, Kidani, Moriwaki, Shimabukuro, Taniguchi, Fevella;

4 Excused: Senator(s) English, Harimoto, K. Kahele, Riviere.

The bill will now move to the full Senate for a vote.

HB655 Suicide Prevention Month

HB 655 HD1 designates the month of September of each year as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.  Hawaii Family Forum supported the bill.

STATUS:  The House Judiciary committee has scheduled the bill for decision making on Tuesday, 02-26-19 2:00PM in conference room 325.

Other Bad Bills...

There are two bills moving through the legislature that are very problematic.

HB 710 HD1 adds reproductive health decisions and utilization of family leave to the list of categories that are protected against discriminatory employment practices.  

How is that defined?  According to the bill, it means "the use or attempted use of any legal drug, device, or medical service intended to prevent or terminate a pregnancy, or the use or attempted use of any assisted reproductive technology."

From the testimony of Planned Parenthood at the February 11th hearing: "H.B. 710 will protect employees from discrimination at a time when the actions of our federal government and states across the country are increasingly seeking to allow employers to discriminate against their employees and deny them services based on moral or religious beliefs. While individuals are entitled to their beliefs, employers shouldn't have a license to discriminate against workers for their personal health care decisions or use of time to take care of their families. No one should ever have to worry that their personal decisions about birth control, pregnancy, abortion, in vitro fertilization or other reproductive health or family needs could subject them to workplace retaliation or punishment."

STATUS:  The House Committee on Finance recommended that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED. The votes were as follows:

13 Ayes: Representative(s) Luke, Cullen, Eli, Gates, Hashimoto, Holt, Kitagawa, B. Kobayashi, Matayoshi, Nakamura, Nishimoto, Wildberger, Yamashita;

2 Excused: Representative(s) Todd, McDermott.

The bill will now move to the full House for vote.

Task Force Recommends Skirting Parental Choice and Notification

If you remember from last year, the legislature banned licensed therapists from doing what they call "conversion therapy."  Testimony last year was filled with stories of therapists doing harm to patients by outdated and horrible sounding therapy.  The bill, then, was to stop that practice.  However, a task force was put together last year as part of that bill to "study" the issue.  

From the Task Force report:  

"Other barriers to LGBT and questioning youth accessing mental health services are: lack of mental health professionals especially those who are LGBT affirming; the age of consent law is not public knowledge resulting in lack of awareness that minors may self-referthemselves for services; by law youth younger than 14 are not able to initiate counseling; youth do not have monies for mental health counseling and/or fear repercussions from parents or guardians for receiving services."

(Currently, this state law allows minors 14 years of age or older to consent to mental health treatment or counseling services provided by a licensed mental health professional if, the licensed mental health professional determines that the minor is mature enough to intelligently participate in this treatment.  Parental consent however, is required for prescription medication and/or out-of-home or residential treatment program.)  One of the major barriers for LGBT and questioning youth accessing mental health counseling is the need for parental consent for services." 

So, to alleviate the problem of (add religious) PARENTS WHO HARM THEIR CHILDREN by ignoring their cries for help OR subjecting them to horrendous therapy, three bills were introduced this year by this task force.  Keep in mind that the task force was stacked by legislators, mental health professionals and others who are like-minded.  

The Act 13, SLH 2018 Task Force's proposed legislation consists of three measures. Two bills (actually four because they introduced them in both chambers) that amend Hawaii's Age of Consent Law, (allow minors to consent to treatment without parental consent) §577-29, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) (HB 584 / SB 768) (HB580 / SB538) and a third (two more bills) "housekeeping" bill amending Act 13, SLH 2018 to add the term "gender identity change efforts" (HB664 / SB674)

STATUS:  Most of the bills are moving.

Take Action!

Contact Hawaii Senators to Support Babies Born Alive

Three weeks after New York shocked many Americans by legalizing abortions up to the moment of birth - followed by the Virginia governor defending post-birth abortions - we will finally get a vote in the U.S. Senate.

It happens on Monday.

That means now is the time to leave no doubt in senators' minds about where you and other pro-life citizens stand. Please take 30 seconds now to make your voice heard through our Action Center!

From Around the Nation

President Trump's Protect Life Rule Finalized

Washington, D.C. - Today the Trump administration finalized the Protect Life Rule to redirect Title X family planning program funds away from the abortion industry. The rule advances President Trump's promise to stop taxpayer funding of abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, who will no longer receive Title X funding if they choose not to comply.

A recent Marist poll found that, by a double-digit margin, a majority of all Americans oppose any taxpayer funding of abortion (54 percent to 39 percent). Click here for an HHS FACTSHEET.

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