Legislative Session Opens and My oh My!
So Many Bills Introduced!
From Hawaii Family Forum, Jan 26, 2022
Hawaii Legislature runs on a biennial system so bills are alive for two years. Between the 2021 and 2022 session, 2516 House Bills were introduced and 3386 Senate Bills were introduced. That is a lot of bills.
Historically, according the Legislative Reference Bureau, only 10% of bills introduced become law.
In next weeks Faith and Family First show, Jim and I are going to be talking about some interesting bills that were introduced this session and what we think the chances of their passage. (Odds don't look very promising.)
I can tell you that there are bills to study gambling, promote gambling and strengthen penalties against gambling. Yes, they are all over the board on this issue and bills introduced to support gambling don't have a lot of sponsors, so let's hope that is a good sign.
There are bills to legalize recreational marijuana, expand medical marijuana while, on the other hand, banning flavored cigarettes to minimize vaping's impact on our youth.
There are bills to add the gender marker "X" as a third gender option on birth certificates and permits individuals to submit an application for a change in sex designation on their birth certificates that reflects this third gender option. In the same vein, bills to prohibit health insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of gender identity if the policy covers the treatment for purposes other than gender transition.
There are bills to get the Governmental Powers of Hawaii's governor under control.
There are bills to expand assisted suicide (allowing doctors the option to waive waiting periods if they "feel" the patient can't wait), allow advanced practice registered nurses to provide assisted suicide (doctors don't want to participate), and lessen the waiting period.
There are bills, we are pleased to report, to protect babies in the womb (more on that in a future edition) and bills that clarify that access to abortion care is inclusive of all pregnant people (language to be inclusive of gender identity) in the State.
Stay tuned as we move through this legislative session and we will try to keep you informed. Most importantly, like and subscribe to our YouTUBE channel so you will be ready for the episode next week that digs a little deeper into all this.
Minimum Wage Update Sailing Through Senate
21 Senators, including the lone Republican Senator Kurt Fevella (out of 25) have sponsored a bill to raise the minimum wage in Hawai'i. The current minimum wage rate is $10.10 per hour. That last time that happened was Act 82, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014, which incrementally increased the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour over the course of four consecutive years (2015-2018).
The new bill, SB2018 proposes to amend Chapter 387-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), by increasing the minimum wage rate from $10.10 to $12.00 per hour beginning on October 1, 2022; $15.00 per hour beginning January 1, 2024; and $18.00 per hour beginning January 1, 2026.
On January 24, the bill passed the Senate Labor Culture and the Arts Committee. The votes in LCA were as follows: 5 Aye(s): Senator(s) Taniguchi, Ihara, Chang, Keohokalole, Fevella;
On January 27, the bill passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The votes were as follows: 10 Aye(s): Senator(s) Dela Cruz, Keith-Agaran, Inouye, Kanuha, Kidani, Misalucha, Moriwaki, Taniguchi, Fevella; Aye(s) with reservations: Senator(s) Wakai ; and 1 Excused: Senator(s) Shimabukuro.
STATUS: The bill will now be voted on by the entire Senate so if you want to raise your voice on this issue, please contact your own Senator. Please note that Hawaii Family Forum is NOT taking a position on this issue. We are providing this update FYI because some of you have requested it. The Hawaii Democratic Party and social service organizations strongly supports this bill and the Hawaii Republican Party and many Hawaii business owners strongly opposes it.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO TAKE ACTION: Click here for the online Senate directory. When you make contact with your Senator, the bill you are referring to is SB 2018.
Assisted Suicide Expansion Bill Scheduled for Hearing Next Week
The legislative session has just begun and the House Health Committee has already scheduled a bill that would expand assisted suicide in Hawaii.
Hearing on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. via Videoconference. You must submit testimony by Monday, February 1, 2022 at 10:30.
The bill [H.B. 1823], if passed, will allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to become practitioners of assisted suicide, reduce the waiting period from 15 to 10 days and allow doctors to waive the waiting period if they "feel" like the 10 days are too long. The actual proposed language says:
(c) If the terminally ill individual's attending provider attests that the individual will, within a reasonable medical judgment, die within fifteen days after making the initial oral request, the fifteen day waiting period shall be waived and the terminally ill individual may reiterate the oral request to the attending provider at any time after making the initial oral request."
TAKE ACTION: Take action by clicking this link.. Please note that only people who live in the districts of the members of the House Committee on Health, Human Services and Homelessness will be able to send a message through VoterVOICE. For everyone else: you can send testimony in regardless of district by (1) registering on the Capitol Website and (2) submitting online testimony.
Triple "F" Show: Faith and Family First
The Economy and Struggling Families
In this weeks episode of Faith and Family First, we tackle the issue of Hawaii's struggling families and the mass resignation from jobs. Watch online now.
Originally aired: January 26, 2022
Upcoming Legislative Deadlines
FEB 9 (HOUSE) & 10 (SENATE) - TRIPLE REFERRAL FILING (BILLS) - All bills 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.) This deadline allows ample time for successful bills to make their way to the last committee in their originating chamber by the First Lateral deadline.
FEB 18 - FIRST LATERAL (BILLS) - All bills referred to more than one committee must move to their final committee in the originating chamber by this day. (Note: Committees must file their committee report with the bill by the previous day, February 17.)
FEB 24 - MAR 2 - MANDATORY 5-DAY RECESS - Hawaii's Constitution mandates a 5-day recess between the 20th and 40th days of the regular session. Neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate convene or assemble formally in chamber on recess days. Committee hearings do take place