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Tuesday, January 30, 2024
House Democrats Introduce 2024 Legislative Package
By News Release @ 6:42 PM :: 941 Views :: Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government

HOUSE MAJORITY INTRODUCES BILL PACKAGE FOR 2024 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

News Release from Hawaii House Democratic Caucus, Jan 30, 2024

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The Hawaiʻi House of Representatives Majority Caucus, comprised of 45 Democrats is pleased to present its bill package for the 2024 Legislative Session.

"As we embark on the second year of the 32nd Legislature, the House Majority Caucus will continue to address key community issues, including affordable housing and homelessness, renewable energy, mental health needs in our community, and the shortage of healthcare workers across our state. Additionally, we remain committed to addressing the impacts of the Maui wildfires, and helping all of Hawaiʻi's residents thrive," stated House Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura (D-15, Hā‘ena, Wainiha, Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Keālia, Kāpa‘a, portion of Wailuā, Kawaihau).

Consisting of nine bills, the House Majority Package represents the collective efforts undertaken during the interim to pinpoint critical issues requiring attention throughout the state.

HB1833 – Relating to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund

Appropriates funds into and out of the rental housing revolving fund to provide loans or grants for mixed-income rental projects or units in mixed-income rental projects for qualifying individuals and families. Appropriates funds for an unspecified number of finance specialist positions to assist with these loans and grants.

HB1834 – Relating to the Department of Human Services

Appropriates funds to increase the Department of Human Services' homeless programs office budget.

"Tackling homelessness remains a top priority of the House Majority. Recognizing that Hawaiʻi's homeless service providers have not received an increase in their state contracts for over a decade, House Bill 1834 seeks to shore up resources for the much-needed outreach, coordination, treatment, and supportive housing services that are needed to help individuals move from the streets to more stable housing in our communities," said Representative Della Au Belatti.

HB1831 – Relating to Crisis Prevention

Establishes the behavioral health crisis center pilot program. Appropriates funds for the pilot program.

HB1830 – Relating to Mental Health

Establishes provisional or associate-level licensure requirements for marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, and psychologists and authorizes insurance reimbursements in certain circumstances. Requires psychologist license applicants to possess a doctoral degree and complete certain supervised experience requirements before sitting for the licensing examination. Authorizes insurance reimbursements for services provided by a supervised social work intern in certain circumstances. Appropriates funds. Parts II, III, IV, and V effective 7/1/2026.

"Mental health continues to have a major impact on our communities at a time when we are facing a shortage of mental health professionals," said Representative Cory M. Chun. "The purpose of House Bill 1830 is to address this shortage by encouraging our future mental health professionals including psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and social workers to remain in Hawaiʻi while actively pursuing their professional licensing."

HB1832 – Relating to Hiring

Authorizes a state department, division, or agency, rather than the Department of Human Resources Development (DHRD), to conduct a minimum qualification review of applicants for vacant positions within the department, division, or agency. Requires the Department of Human Resources Development to provide state departments, divisions, and agencies the applications received for vacancies under certain circumstances.

"A quarter of state positions are currently vacant, and that number is set to rise in the next five years. The state needs to do a better job of hiring state workers to keep essential government services functioning. One of the barriers to hiring is that it takes three to six months to call an applicant back. This bill will allow government departments to review their own applications for job postings, bypassing DHRD, and allowing quick responses to jobseekers," said Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi.

HB1828 – Relating to Energy-Efficiency Portfolio Standards

Extends the State's energy-efficiency portfolio standards from 2030 to 2045. Authorizes the public utilities commission to establish interim goals.

HB1829 – Relating to Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Requires that if parking is to be included in any new state building construction, the design provide that at least twenty-five percent of parking stalls be electric vehicle charger-ready. Requires the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office, in consultation with the Department of Accounting and General Services and Department of Transportation, to conduct a survey and identify certain high-priority state facilities. Establishes a goal of the State to retrofit state facilities to be electric vehicle charger-ready. Requires a report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds.

"EV sales have risen 30% in the past year and are expected to continue to increase with the availability of more affordable and convenient EV models. Providing workplace charging has multiple benefits—it shifts demand for energy to daytime hours when electricity is cheaper and cleaner and provides a charging option for potential EV drivers who may live in condos, rent, or are unable to charge at home for other reasons, bringing equity to the clean transportation transition," said Representative Nicole E. Lowen. "HB 1829 will direct the state to lead by example by facilitating more EV charging at state workplaces."

HB1827 – Relating to Healthcare Workforce Development

Appropriates moneys to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and Department of Education to support healthcare workforce development programs, specifically the public high school healthcare workforce certificate program and glidepath program for certified nurse aides. Requires these appropriations to be matched using a state-to-private-funds ratio of 3:1. Appropriates moneys to renovate and equip certain public high school classrooms to be used for healthcare training. Declares that the appropriations exceed the state general fund expenditure ceiling for 2024-2025.

HB1826 – Relating to Education for Mental Health Professionals

Appropriates funds for temporary positions to support the statewide expansion of the University of Hawaiʻi Windward Community College's mental health-related programs.

"This cost-effective solution to our shortage of mental health care providers grows our workforce from the bottom up, by providing entry level workers with opportunities to build skills and credentials through our existing community college network," said Representative Lisa Marten.

To track the status of these measures, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

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