Your Testimony is Needed!
From Honolulu Republican Party, March 17, 2019
Our voice and opinions are powerful. Our legislators were elected to represent our concerns. It is up to us to voice concerns and to make our voice heard. If we take the time to convey our thoughts to our elected officials and follow up with them, our message will have great impact, but we all must get involved.
Last week was cross over, 524 Senate Bills and 498 House Bill passed third reading in their respective chambers and House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration. This is our last opportunity to provide public testimony to the committees hearing the bills.
April 11th is the deadline for bills to pass third reading in their non-originating chamber and to “cross back” to the originating chamber. It is also the deadline for the originating chamber to disagree with changes made to its bills by the other chamber. When the Senate and House disagree on a bill, members from each chamber can meet in a “conference” committee to reconcile their differences. This process is not open to the public and no testimony can be submitted.
LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS WEEK 9
Monday March 18, 2019
RELATING TO SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STRAWS. Prohibits a full-service restaurant from providing a single-use plastic straw to a consumer unless requested by the consumer. (HB762 HD2) OPPOSE
RELATING TO VOTER REGISTRATION. Establishes a process, beginning on January 1, 2020, for automatically preregistering or registering public school-enrolled students who are at least 16 years old to vote. (HB1485 HD2) OPPOSE
Voting is a right and there shouldn't be any form of forced registration regardless of age. This is also part of the progressive left movement to change the voting age to 16.
RELATING TO IMMIGRATION. Makes an appropriation to the Department of Human Services to contract with non-profit providers to provide access to legal counsel to immigrants in immigration proceedings. Takes effect 3/15/2050. (SD2) OPPOSE
Don't be fooled by the language. This is to use taxpayer dollars to provide legal counsel to ILLEGAL immigrants. Even the State AG said this bill may violate Article VII, section 401 of the State Constitution.
RELATING TO VOTING. Requires that any person who is eligible to vote and applies for a new or renewal motor vehicle driver's license, provisional license, or instruction permit, or a new, renewal, or duplicate identification card be automatically registered to vote if that person is not already registered to vote unless the applicant affirmatively declines to be registered to vote. Authorizes access to and electronic transmission of databases maintained or operated by the counties or the department of transportation containing driver's license or identification card information to election officials and the statewide voter registration system. Effective 1/1/2020. (SD2) OPPOSE
While we might hope that all citizens will exercise their right to vote, each and every American has the liberty not to do so for whatever reason. Hawaii residents who choose not to vote should not have to act every time they make a transaction with the DMV to remove themselves from a government list that they had no interest in joining in the first place, particularly if it involves investigation of their citizenship, felon status, and other factors that are important to eligibility.
RELATING TO RANKED CHOICE VOTING. Establishes ranked choice voting for special federal elections and special elections of vacant county council seats. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD2) OPPOSE
See County Chair previously submitted testimony HERE.
Tuesday March 18, 2019
RELATING TO VACANCIES. Requires vacancies in the offices of United States Senator, State Senator, and State Representative to be filled by special election. SUPPORT
RELATING TO FIREARMS. Requires firearm owners to report lost, stolen, or destroyed firearms. (HB720 HD1) OPPOSE
Gun Owners are among the most law abiding citizens in the State and nationwide. This bill is an insult to these law abiding citizens in seeking to criminalize their failure to file a report in the midst of a profound personal crisis or disaster (theft, fire, natural disaster). In effect, this bill sees the gun owner as a criminal for not reporting to the state on the loss of their property, even if it resides in a state where registration is not required or falls under the pre 1992 registration requirement.
RELATING TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SAFETY ACT. Establishes in the Department of the Attorney General a program responsible for issuing credentials to allow qualified law enforcement officers and retired officers to carry concealed firearms in this State as permitted by the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, as amended. (HB950 HD1) SUPPORT
RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY. Appropriates funds to purchase the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. (HB1177 HD1) OPPOSE
RELATING TO FEDERAL WORKERS. Establishes the Federal Furlough Loan Program to provide loans to eligible federal workers affected by the federal shutdown furlough. Provides an emergency appropriation to carry out the purposes of the loan program. (HB1195 HD1) OPPOSE
RELATING TO MARIJUANA. Decriminalizes the possession of 3 grams or less of marijuana and establish that the possession is an infraction punishable by a monetary fine of $200. Provides for the dismissal of criminal charges, and expungement of criminal records, pertaining solely to the possession of 3 grams or less of marijuana. Establishes a marijuana evaluation task force to make recommendations on changing marijuana use penalties and outcomes in the State. Effective 1/11/2084. (HB1383 HD2) OPPOSE
Hawai'i does not want or need marijuana use to be encouraged by decriminalization or legalization. Our keiki, who are already being bombarded with e-cigarettes and vaping, do not need to have access to marijuana. Today's marijuana has higher THC contents than in the past, and decriminalizing it will only encourage more usage. Do we want our roadways congested with "drugged drivers?"
It's time to stand up for our keiki, the police department, the Department of Transportation, and the justice system remain staunchly opposed. It's our community Hawaii! We live, work and pray here. It is our home. SAY to no to decriminalization of marijuana.
RELATING TO HEALTH. Establishes a Suicide Prevention Commission to develop a strategic plan to reduce suicides within Hawaii's correctional system. (HB1416 HD1) SUPPORT
RELATING TO GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION. Establishes the Hawaii Gun Violence Prevention Center within the University of Hawaii to research strategies to prevent gun violence. Creates a special fund to support the Center. Appropriates funds. (HB1541 HD2) OPPOSE
This bill creates another financial black hole for the state to funnel funds to make new anti gun laws. It forces UH to spend money researching Gun Violence, money the state does not have. Money that would be better spent on improving the ageing infrastructure and facility's.
RELATING TO TAXATION. Increases the rental motor vehicle surcharge tax. Repeals the additional surcharge tax for lessees who do not possess a valid Hawaii driver's license. Deposits the surcharge tax revenues into the state highway fund, for statewide use, and the county subaccounts in the state highway fund for highway road capacity projects in the county that generated the surcharge tax. (SD2) OPPOSE
This is a tax on our visitors. We count too heavily on tourists for supporting our economy to jeopardize it for a few more dollars because our DOT cannot properly manage the funds they already receive.
RELATING TO TAXATION OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS. Disallows dividends paid deduction for real estate investment trusts. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2019. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1) OPPOSE
REITs bring in investment into Hawaii to help build thriving communities where residents can live, work and play. REITs not only provide a boost to our economy through construction of these projects, but create real job opportunities.
This measure proposes a State tax on dividends from a REIT, this will become a disincentive to invest in Hawai‘i and negatively impact the economy through these investments in real estate. Because investments by REITs generate so much economic activity and create so many local jobs in the State, disallowing the deduction for dividends paid could not only hurt workers in Hawaii, over the long run, it ultimately may result in less tax revenue for the State as this will make Hawaii unattractive for investments and investors. As many conservative economists like Stephen Moore often express, "Money goes where it is welcome!"
RELATING TO MINIMUM WAGE. Provides an income tax credit for qualifying small businesses to offset the increase in the minimum hourly wage that employers must pay employees. Increases the minimum wage to $12.00 per hour beginning 1/1/2020 and $15.00 per hour beginning 1/1/2023. Tax credit applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2019. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD2) OPPOSE
An increase to the minimum wage threatens our already wobbly “mom‘n pop” small businesses in Hawaii and will force more out of business. Any remaining business will hire fewer employees and will cut back on the hours of existing employees.
An increase in the minimum wage will increase prices and the cost of living. It’s basic economics: Increased overhead costs mean increased prices. Our small businesses will have to pass on these new labor costs to their customers. This increases our already record high cost of living and will force even more families to move to the mainland
Instead of raising the minimum wage we should be looking at reducing taxes and regulations on small businesses to allow them to keep more of their earnings so they reinvest that money and raise wages as they see fit.
RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. Requires the Auditor to perform a financial and management audit of the Department of Education, Superintendent, Board of Education, and complex areas every three years. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1) SUPPORT
RELATING TO TOBACCO TAXES. Increases the cigarette and tobacco tax on cigarettes and little cigars by five cents beginning July 1, 2020. Allocates excise tax revenue generated at the increased rate to specified health improvement purposes beginning July 1, 2020. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD2) OPPOSE
RELATING TO STATE HOLIDAYS. Reestablishes La Ku‘oko‘a, Hawaiian Recognition Day, as an official state holiday. Repeals Good Friday as a state holiday. (SD1) OPPOSE
While we support the establishment of Hawaiian Recognition Day as a state holiday. We oppose eliminating Good Friday. This is an attack on our faith based communities. What is next Christmas?
Wednesday March 20, 2019
RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS. Authorizes the use of private lands for the Ohana Zones Pilot Program. Extends the Ohana Zones Pilot Program to June 30, 2022. Extends the Emergency Department Homelessness Assessment Pilot Program and the Medical Respite Pilot Program to June 30, 2020. (HB257 HD2) OPPOSE
This bill nothing more that a band aid to a systemic problem and will just move our homeless residents out of site. This will do nothing to reduce our homeless population.
RELATING TO THE TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATIONS TAX.Allocates and appropriates funds from transient accommodations tax revenues to the Hawaii Tourism Authority to implement initiatives, in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas. Requires the Hawaii Tourism Authority to report to the Legislature. (HB908 HD2) OPPOSE
RELATING TO ELECTRIC GUNS. Authorizes law enforcement officers of the Department of Transportation to use electric guns while performing their duties. Requires law enforcement officers of DOT to be accredited by June 30, 2024, for the use of electric guns. (HB1176 HD1) SUPPORT
RELATING TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. Prohibits food service businesses and stores from the sale, use, or distribution of polystyrene foam containers, expanded polystyrene food service products, plastic straws, and plastic bags. Takes effect 7/1/2021. (SD1) OPPOSE
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. (SD1) OPPOSE
Abortion is contrary to the tradition and values of the nursing profession. To become abortion providers would violate the integrity of the nursing profession and cause harm to mother and child. Both are patients for whom nursing professes to advocate and protect. Rather than abandon patients to abortion, nursing should direct its efforts toward genuinely promoting the health and well-being of every patient, born and unborn.
RELATING TO PLASTIC. Prohibits the purchase, use, sale, or distribution of plastic beverage bottles, utensils, stirring sticks, polystyrene foam containers, and straws by state and county agencies after July 1, 2021, and by businesses selling food and beverages after July 1, 2022. Bans the distribution or sale of plastic bags after July 1, 2023. Creates the plastic source reduction working group to make recommendations for eliminating single-use plastic packaging. Appropriates funds. Takes effect 3/15/2050. (SD2) OPPOSE
RELATING TO PALLIATIVE CARE. Establishes the culturally competent palliative care pilot program within the Department of Health 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. Requires reports to the legislature. Establishes an advisory group to oversee implementation of the pilot program. Appropriates funds. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1) SUPPORT
RELATING TO GUN VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDERS. Establishes a process by which a law enforcement officer or family or household member may obtain a court order to prevent a person from accessing firearms and ammunition when the person poses a danger of causing bodily injury to oneself or another. Takes effect 2/1/2020. (SD2) OPPOSE
Thursday March 20, 2019
No hearings on bills we are watching. However we encourage you to stay up to date by view all hearing notices HERE.
Friday March 21, 2019
No hearings on bills we are watching. However we encourage you to stay up to date by view all hearing notices HERE.
Cross Over BILLS (those marked with X in column A are bills we are following.)
Testimony for legislative measures scheduled for hearing by the House or Senate should be delivered at least 24 hours prior to the hearing and may be submitted in person, by fax, or electronically as indicated on the hearing notice.
Testimony for legislative measures scheduled for hearing by the House or Senate may be submitted electronically through the Hawaii State Legislature's website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov by clicking on the button marked Submit Testimony and following the on-screen instructions.
Testimony for legislative measures scheduled for hearing by the Senate may also be faxed to 586-6659 (Oahu) or 1-800-586-6659 (Neighbor Islands).
SENATE HEARING LATE TESTIMONY - Testimony received after the 24-hour deadline will be posted to the Capitol website within 24 hours after the hearing has adjourned and may be marked as "late".
HOUSE HEARING LATE TESTIMONY - Staff will try to incorporate additional testimony received within 24 hours of the hearing if possible.
The hearing committee will post testimony received "on-time" to the Capitol website at the beginning of the hearing. Testimony received after the 24-hour deadline may be marked as "late" but will be posted to the Capitol website as soon as possible following the hearing. Testimony submitted after the hearing will not be considered or posted.
LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR KEY DATES
MAR 18 TRIPLE REFERRAL FILING (HCRs) – All House concurrent resolutions referred to three or more committees must be filed so that they can be in their second-to-last committee by the following day. (Note: A referral to a joint committee counts as one committee referral.)
MAR 22 SECOND LATERAL (BILLS) – All bills with multiple referrals must move to their final referral committee in the non-originating chamber by this date.
MAR 28 FIRST LATERAL FOR CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS – Concurrent resolutions require adoption in each chamber and are used to state the official position of the Legislature on an issue, or to request action formally without having to mandate it by law. All concurrent resolutions with multiple referrals must move to their final committee in the originating chamber by this date.
LEGISLATIVE HALF-TIME TOWNHALL
Mahalo to Chair Ostrov, Rep. Ward, Rep. McDermott and their staffs for holding a legislative update townhall this past Saturday. It was informative for all that attended.