From Hawaii Family Forum, March 1, 2019
Crossover Next Week
Welcome to those members getting this legislative week in review for the first time. Mahalo for your prayers and support!
Today is the deadline for bills to emerge from all their committees (with committee reports filed) and be submitted to the clerk of the originating chamber. This "decking" ensures a mandatory 48 hour opportunity for final review by the chamber's members before they are asked to vote on the third reading.
Note: A bill must pass three readings (votes) in each chamber before being enrolled to the governor.
Upcoming Legislative Deadlines
MAR 7 FIRST CROSSOVER (BILLS) - Deadline for bills to pass third reading in order to move (or "crossover") to the other chamber. If successful, House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration.
MAR 8 LAST DAY TO INTRODUCE SUBSTANTIVE RESOLUTIONS - Resolutions are legislative measures which may request action of a government entity or state the legislature's position on an issue. They don't have the force and effect of law, require only one reading in chamber, and don't enroll to the Governor.
Expanding Abortion Access Passes!
Hawaii's legislators are poised to expand access to abortion in Hawaii but adding APRN's to the list of medical providers who can do aspiration abortions. The bill also allows them to do it in their office.
Relating to Health authorizes advanced practice registered nurses to perform medical or aspiration abortions if certain requirements are met. Clarifies who may refuse to perform an abortion and the notice procedures for refusal.
Why is this bill necessary? Existing law prohibits anyone other than a physician or surgeon or an osteopathic physician and surgeon from providing aspiration abortions, a common procedure for surgically terminating an abortion in the first trimester. For those in rural or underserved communities, (according to the supporters of the bill), traveling to another island or county due to existing restrictions creates excessive barriers that may mean they are not able to access legal abortion at all.
The bill was amended in committee to:
- Specify that advanced practice registered nurses with prescriptive authority, and who meet other specific qualifications, may perform abortions by medication or aspiration;
- Clarifying that advanced practice registered nurses shall only perform abortions by medication or aspiration;
- Specifying that no abortion shall be performed in the State unless the abortion is performed by specific licensed health care providers acting within the licensed health care providers' lawful scopes of practice;
- Removing excessive criminal penalties;
- Specifying that individual health care providers, but not hospitals, are permitted to opt out of providing abortions, as permitting entire hospitals to opt out creates a significant barrier to women seeking abortions;
- Preserving an individual's ability for refusal to participate in an abortion or be liable for such refusal, as long as the person provides prior written notice and the refusal does not cause a serious risk to another person's health or life;
- Making some "technical" changes for clarity
STATUS: On February 27, 2019 the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection & Health recommended that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in CPH were as follows:
4 Aye(s): Senator(s) Baker, S. Chang, J.Keohokalole, L. Thielen;
1 No(es): Senator(s) Fevella;
2 Excused: Senator(s) Nishihara, Ruderman.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary recommended that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in JDC were as follows:
3 Aye(s): Senator(s) K. Rhoads, Wakai, Kim;
2 No(es): Senator(s) Gabbard, Fevella;
The bill will now move to the full Senate for a vote. You can send a message to your Senator by clicking this link.
Hawai'i does not need the decriminalization of marijuana!
HB 1383 HD 1 (relating to marijuana) would do just that so we need your help to act now!
To be clear, decriminalization of marijuana is not the same as marijuana legalization. Decriminalization means that a state repealed or amended its laws to make certain acts criminal, but no longer subject to prosecution. In the marijuana context, this means individuals caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption won't be prosecuted and won't subsequently receive a criminal record or a jail sentence. Hawaii legislators are trying to do just that.
Now is the time to contact your representative and ask them to VOTE NO ON HB 1383 HD1.
The House will be voting on the bill on the floor at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. All emails and phone calls are important. Click here to contact your representative. It will only take a few short minutes.
For every person who advocates for the decriminalization of marijuana for various reasons, there are many reason to oppose it:
A major argument against the decriminalization of marijuana is that this will increase use of marijuana among Hawaii's youth, even if the laws are only applicable to adults. If marijuana possession is no longer a punishable offense it will be more readily available, as users of marijuana will no longer be deterred by fear of punishment. With this increased availability comes increased opportunity for Hawaii's community members to try or continue to use marijuana and at an increased rate. Also, due to the perceived public acceptance of marijuana, more teens and adolescents will be willing to try the drug without second thoughts of repercussion.
In addition, increased use and availability will lead to an increase in crime. With marijuana possession no longer illegal, more people will feel safe to begin to produce and sell marijuana with no fear of real punishment. This increase in drug trafficking and sales may very well lead to an increase in gang violence as well as black market introduction and sales. It is also believed that with increased marijuana use and availability, more users will be introduced to other forms of crime through drug dealers or other users.
Marijuana use is bad for various other reasons:
- Frequent marijuana use can seriously affect your short-term memory.
- Frequent use can impair your cognitive ability.
- Smoking anything, whether it's tobacco or marijuana, can seriously damage your lung tissue.
- Smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds.
- Marijuana carries a risk of abuse and addiction.
- Marijuana has been implicated in a high percentage of automobile crashes and workplace accidents.
- Marijuana is illegal under federal law. It is classified as Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), alongside heroin. This classification says that the substances have no currently accepted medicinal value.
Hawaii, just say NO!
Palliative Care Support: Education for Hawaii's Community
SB 804 Relating to Palliative Care
SB 804 establishes the culturally competent palliative care pilot program to promote palliative care, gather health care utilization data, and conduct bidding for at least two pilot programs for home or community based palliative care, one of which must be located in a county with less than two hundred thousand residents. (Hawaii Family Forum supports this bill)
STATUS: On February 25, 2019, The Senate Committee on Ways & Means recommended that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in WAM were as follows: 10 Aye(s):
Senator(s) Dela Cruz, Keith-Agaran, English, K. Kahele, Kanuha, Moriwaki, Riviere, Shimabukuro, Taniguchi, Fevella;
3 Excused: Senator(s) Harimoto, Inouye, Kidani.
The bill will now move to the full Senate floor for a vote.
HB 1447 HD1 Relating to Palliative Care
HB 1447 HD1 requires the Department of Health to establish a culturally competent Palliative Care Pilot Program to promote public education on palliative care and establish home- or community-based palliative care projects. (Hawaii Family Forum supported this bill)
STATUS: On February 26, 2019 The committees on House Committee on Finance recommend that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED. The votes were as follows:
14 Ayes: Representative(s) Luke, Cullen, Eli, Gates, Hashimoto, Holt, Kitagawa, B. Kobayashi, Matayoshi, Nakamura, Todd, Wildberger, Yamashita, McDermott;
1 Excused: Representative(s) Nishimoto.
The bill will now move to the full House for a vote. Mostly likely next week.
Suicide Prevention Bill Moves
The only way to prevent suicide is to promote education in the community.
SB383 SD2 Relating to Youth Suicide Prevention
SB 383 SD2 requires the Board of Education to establish a mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training program and model risk referral protocol, based on existing materials created by the Department of Health, for all public schools, including charter schools.
STATUS: On February 25, 2019 The Senate Committee on Consumer Protection & Health recommended that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in CPH were as follows:
6 Aye(s): Senator(s) Baker, S. Chang, J.Keohokalole, Nishihara, L. Thielen, Fevella; 1 Excused: Senator(s) Ruderman.
The bill was placed on the calendar for third reading (final reading in the Senate) for March 5, 2019.
From Around the Nation
Schatz and Hirono Say NAY to protection of infants born alive
February 25, 2019: The US Senate failed to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311) on a vote of 53 to 44, with 3 senators not voting. Hawaii's Senators, not surprisingly, voted against the measure. (In the Senate, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and pass a bill.)
Let's be clear: S. 311 in no way restricted any woman's access to abortion, as abortion advocates claim. You can read the bill yourself, here. The bill was proposed to ensure basic medical and humanitarian care to any child who survives an abortion, a protection not sufficiently provided in federal law.
Access to abortion was not at issue. Both Senator Hirono and Schatz have put themselves on public record as being indifferent to the pain, suffering and death of an infant who survives abortion by voting NAY.