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Join us for our annual overview of what went down at the Legislature
By Grassroot Institute @ 8:36 PM :: 2095 Views :: Hawaii State Government

Akina summarizes Grassroot Institute's views on measures approved this week

The last week of the 2023 Legislature has been a rush of activity in which multiple important bills were taken down to the wire

Keli‘i Akina, Grassroot Institute president and CEO, commented yesterday on some of the bills approved on Tuesday and yesterday by the 2023 Legislature:

Among bills approved Tuesday:

>> On the governor’s tax package, HB954: "I'm glad the Legislature has passed a few pieces of Gov. Josh Green’s 'Green Affordability Plan.' Unfortunately, the broader-based tax relief measures in the plan were removed, leaving us with just a handful of tax credits that expire in five years. These measures might provide a modicum of tax relief, but next year the Legislature should enact bolder tax reform for the benefit of all."

>> On “pass-through entity” taxation, SB1437: "SB1437 would reduce taxes on Hawaii businesses at no cost to the state. It's a welcome bill, especially since Hawaii is consistently ranked as one of the worst states for businesses."

>> On "employee earnings," SB1057: "This bill ostensibly is about transparency, but its practical effect would be to create hurdles for Hawaii’s private employers and hinder their ability to negotiate with job applicants. It also has the potential to harm local businesses by elevating salaries over benefits and community considerations."

>> On the Uniform Commercial Code bill, applicable to cryptocurrency, HB525: "The technical and confusing language of this 197-page tome is fraught with problems. Specifically, it would exclude certain cryptocurrencies from the definition of 'money' — a distinction not in step with the modern economy."

>> On a new employer tax to go toward a proposed Unemployment Insurance Technology Special Fund, SB1383: "Hawaii businesses are already paying more in unemployment taxes this year, and this bill would just make things worse. Plain and simple, it’s a tax hike. It should be shelved permanently."

Among bills approved Thursday:

>> On the interstate licensure compact for doctors, SB674: "Joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact will make it easier for mainland doctors to set up practice in Hawaii, as well as put a dent in the state’s physician shortage. I hope next year the Legislature will enact licensure compacts for other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, psychologists and speech and audiology pathologists."

>> On cryptocurrency regulations, SB945: "This massive bill could be the death knell for cryptocurrencies in Hawaii, partly because it would give the Division of Financial Institutions too much power to determine how innovative new currencies should be regulated. Gov. Green should veto this bill, and next year the Legislature should take a more light-touch approach to the issue."

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Join us for our annual overview of what went down at the Legislature

from Grassroot Institute 

On Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu, Grassroot Institute staffers will take a look at the ups and downs of this year's legislative session

Don't miss out on what has become one of our most engaging and fun events of the year.

It's when the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii assembles some of its top staffers to share with you what they observed and learned about the highlights and lowlights of the most recent legislative session.

Featured at the events on Maui, Hawaii Island an Oahu will be Malia Hill, policy director; Ted Kefalas, director of strategic campaigns; and Joe Kent, executive vice president. Keli‘i Akina, Institute president and CEO, will moderate the Maui and Oahu events. Kent will moderate the Hawaii Island presentation.

Each event will feature a Q&A session, during which audience members can ask questions of the speakers. Here are the details:

>> On Maui, Tuesday, May 9, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, starting at 11:30 a.m. Admission is $10 and includes lunch and parking.

>> On Hawaii Island, Wednesday, May 10, at the Hale Iako building in Kailua-Kona, 73-970 Makako Bay Drive, starting at 11:30 a.m. Admission is $10 and includes lunch and parking.

>> On Oahu, Thursday, May 11, at a private club in Downtown Honolulu, starting at 11:30 a.m. Admission is $30 and includes lunch and parking.

To register for the Maui event, go here; the Hawaii event, here; and the Oahu event, here.

For more information, please call Sean Mitsui at 808-864-1776 or email


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