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Friday, July 10, 2020
Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review
By Hawaii Family Forum @ 10:12 PM :: 4133 Views :: Family, Life, Religion


From Hawaii Family Forum, July 10, 2020

Session Status


"BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirtieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2020, that the Senate stands ready to adjourn Sine Die."

Emergency Powers Screening Bill: Stopped by House Leadership

Gut and Replace Fails

In an interesting turn of events, House leadership stopped the movement of HB2502 SD1 Relating to Health which would have authorized the Director of Health, upon consultation with and authorization from the Governor, to screen, test, and monitor travelers.  The bill also provided penalties for noncompliance.   
The vote in the Senate on July 7 to PASS the bill was as follows:
Ayes, 20; Aye(s) with reservations: Senator(s) Ihara, Kim .
Noes, 4 (Senator(s) Fevella, Gabbard, K. Kahele, Ruderman).

STATUS:  On July 8 the Senate received notice of disagreement from the House (Hse. Com. No. 417). No information other than the notice of disagreement has been made available to the public.

No Parental Notification for Youth Mental Health: PASSING

House and Senate Pass Bill

HB2043 SD2 Relating to Adolescent Health Care allows an unlicensed mental health professional, working under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional, to provide mental health treatment or counseling services to minors without parental or legal guardian consent, knowledge, or participation. (Keep in mind that our law ALREADY ALLOWS a licensed therapist to provide these services without notifying parents or guardians).  
On 07/06/20 the bill passed Third Reading in the Senate.
Ayes, 22;
Aye(s) with reservations: Senator(s) Kim, Riviere .
Noes, 2 (Senator(s) Fevella, Gabbard). 
On 07/08/20 the Senate received notice of House intent to agree to the amendments proposed by the Senate (Hse. Com. No. 421).

Flavored Tobacco Products Ban Stopped in the House

Flavored Tobacco Ban

HB2547 SD2, Relating to the Youth Vaping Epidemic bans the sale of flavored tobacco products. Prohibits mislabeling of e-liquid products containing nicotine. Establishes fines and penalties for violations. 
On 07/06/20 Passed Third Reading in the Senate, as amended (SD 2). Ayes, 24; 
On 07/08/20 the Senate received notice of disagreement (Hse. Com. No. 417). 


Two Important Supreme Court Rulings


Ministerial Exemption - WIN

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court issued rulings in two significant cases involving religious liberty. Here is what you should know about those cases.

The case: Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru

The background: In this case, a teacher's contract was discontinued due to exhibiting poor performance. The teacher sued in federal court claiming she had been discriminated against, challenging the school's right to select their teachers under the ministerial exception. The teacher argued that she should not be considered a minister under the ministerial exemption. However, her job entailed a number of religious duties including daily prayer, preparing the students for Catholic mass, and providing a faith-based education steeped in the Catholic tradition. 

The ruling: In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court held that the ministerial exception applies to teachers employed by religious schools. The Court restated and expanded its holding in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, holding that governments and the courts may not interfere with the hiring practices of religious organizations.

The significance: The case highlights the importance of preventing government intrusion into the employment practices of religious institutions. Religious autonomy in matters of employment and governance is a fundamental right bestowed upon faith-based organizations in the First Amendment. If secular courts are allowed to second guess religious organizations' hiring practices, then religious organizations' autonomy is essentially void.

Little Sisters of the Poor - WIN!

The case: Little Sisters of the Poor v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The background: In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which contained a provision known as the contraceptive mandate that compels employers to include contraceptives and abortifacients in their health care plans. While houses of worship were exempt from this mandate, faith-based organizations were not granted an exemption from the contraceptive mandate. In 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted new regulations that provided protections for religious objectors to the contraceptive mandate. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued HHS, arguing that these rules should be struck down because they interfere with the government's interest in providing access to contraception and alleging that the rules violated the ACA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Without this exemption, the contraception mandate would coerce a group of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, along with other religious organizations, to provide contraceptive coverage despite their sincerely held religious objections. 

The ruling: In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court held that that the Little Sisters of the Poor do not have to violate their consciences, upholding two rules issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provide an exemption from the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate on religious and moral grounds.

The significance: This case reaffirms that the government cannot pave over the consciences of religious organizations in pursuit of a policy goal when the government has other options for achieving that goal that do not infringe religious liberty. The right of religious organizations to operate in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. Today's ruling also charts a path forward for public policy debates where Americans disagree about fundamental truths. 


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