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Dems: Income Tax Cut Tops off 'Productive' Legislative Session
By News Release @ 5:28 PM :: 1357 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Taxes


News Release from House Democratic Caucus, May 3, 2024

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – On the 60th working day of the Legislature, the House of Representatives officially adjourned sine die, marking the conclusion of the 32nd Legislature.

"This has been an incredibly productive session," remarked Speaker Scott K. Saiki (D-25, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, Downtown). "Throughout the past four months, the House made significant progress in priority areas of affordable housing, cost of living, public safety, and wildfire prevention and recovery. We have passed quality legislation that delivers monumental tax relief to Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families, who will experience firsthand one of the biggest tax cuts in the State’s history."

"As we end this biennium, the House has delivered funding for key issues including affordable housing, homelessness, mental health needs in our community, and the shortage of healthcare workers across our state," said House Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura (D-15, Hā‘ena, Wainiha, Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Keālia, Kāpa‘a, portion of Wailuā, Kawaihau).

"As the legislative session comes to an end, I am proud of many of our collective achievements thus far. We rallied behind legislation that improves the lives of our residents across the State – from homeownership assistance, GET exemption for medical services, and the largest income tax cut in state history. However, as we all know our work never ends and we must continue to fulfill our collective responsibility to serve the people of Hawaiʻi diligently," said House Minority Leader Lauren Matsumoto (D-38, Portions of Mililani and Waipi‘o Acres, Mililani Mauka).

On Wednesday, members of the House unanimously passed the final version of the state budget – HB1800 CD1 in a final vote. The state budget is now prepared to become law upon the governor's signature.

House Committee on Finance Chair Kyle T. Yamashita (D-12 Upcountry Maui) said, "We approached the crafting of the state budget with careful consideration, reflecting the House's dedication to fiscal prudence, accountability, and transparency. As we commenced this legislative session, our immediate focus remained to address the Maui wildfire recovery efforts, prioritizing safety and rehabilitation of our communities while ensuring core services for our state were not neglected. Despite funding uncertainties, the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget reflects our shared dedication to ensuring adequate resources for mental health services, healthcare for the disabled and elderly, business and workforce development, childcare and education, affordable housing, and public welfare."

In addition, the House passed a series of good government bills relating to transparency in government boards, election procedures, and state employment, following last year's efforts to incorporate recommendations from Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct.

"The House has made progress strengthening our ethics laws, ensuring the integrity of our elections, and making it easier for citizens to participate and track what our government is doing. This package of legislation reaffirms our commitment to transparency, accountability, and improving public trust in government processes," said House Committee on Judiciary Chair David A. Tarnas (D-8, North & South Kohala).

2024 Legislative Highlights

Cost of Living

HB2404 CD1 – Relating to Income Tax

Increases the standard deduction amounts and widens income tax brackets for specific taxable years, beginning with the 2024 tax return.

Affordable Housing for Local Families

HB2090 CD1 – Relating to Housing

Allows residential uses in areas zoned for commercial use to be considered permitted under certain circumstances.

SB3202 CD1  – Relating to Urban Development

Authorizes residentially zoned lots to construct two accessory dwelling units subject to certain restrictions.

Condo/Residential Relief

HB2685 CD1 – Relating to Energy

Establishes the Solar Hui program, where condo owners can participate in the Hawaiʻi's investment of solar energy.

HB2801 CD1 – Relating to Commercial Property Assessed Financing

Allows condo buildings the ability to access commercially property-assessed financing. Will provide the ability for condo buildings to receive longer-term loans for high-cost building repairs such as fire sprinklers, water piping, and structural damage.

Public Safety

SB2305 CD1 – Relating to Missing Persons

Establishes a silver alert program to help locate and safeguard missing kūpuna.

SB2347 CD1 – Relating to Crime

Establishes the offense of habitual violent crime. Allows for a person to be charged with a class C felony if they have convicted of three or more violent misdemeanors within five years of the offense being charged.

House Majority Package

HB1830 CD1 – Relating to Mental Health

Establishes provisional or associate-level licensure requirements for marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, and psychologists. Authorizes insurance reimbursements in certain circumstances.

HB1832 CD1 – Relating to Hiring

Authorizes state departments to conduct a minimum qualification review of applicants for vacant positions within the department, division, or agency.

Lahaina Wildfire Interim Working Groups Final Report Recommendations

HB1836 CD1 – Relating to Health

Allows pharmacists during an emergency to refill prescriptions for persons impacts by the emergency for up thirty-days if the practitioner cannot be contacted.

HB1842 SD1 – Relating to Fire Prevention

Increases the maximum fine for violations of the fire protection laws.

SB2085 CD1 – Relating to the State Fire Marshal

Establishes the Office of the State Fire Marshal within the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Quality of Life

HB2802 HD1 – Relating to Marriage

Proposes a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the legislature's authority to limit marriage. The amendment will be on the 2024 election ballot.

Good Government Bills

HB 1597 HD1 SD1 – Relating to Open Meetings

Clarifies that members of the public may sue a board or alleged board after receiving an adverse Office of Information Practices decision, and that the decision will be reviewed de novo.

HB 1598 HD1 SD2 – Relating to the Sunshine Law

Requires boards to make available for public inspection board packets, if created, at the time the board packet is distributed to board members but no later than two business days before the board meeting.

HB 1599 HD1 SD2 – Relating to the Sunshine Law

Requires public meeting notices to inform members of the public how to provide remote oral testimony in a manner that allows the testifier, upon request, to be visible to board members and other meeting participants. Recognizes a board's authority to remove and block individuals who disrupt meetings.

HB 1600 HD1 SD2 – Relating to Open Meetings

Requires boards to schedule a meeting for deliberation and decision-making on a report by an investigative group at least six business days after the board meeting in which the investigative group presented the findings and recommendations of its investigation to the board.

HB 1879 HD1 SD1 – Relating to the Digital Voter Information Guide

Provides that certain information to be included in any digital voter information guide shall not be released to any requestor in whole or in part before the public release of the entire guide.

HB 1881 HD1 SD1 – Relating to Administrative Fines

Updates the maximum administrative fines allowed for violations of chapters relating to standards of conduct and lobbyists.

HB 1916 CD1 – Relating to the Disclosure of Personal Information Associated with Certain Public Servants

Prohibits, upon written request from certain public servants or their representative, any government agency, person, or organization from making certain personal information publicly available on the Internet.

HB 2069 HD1 SD1 – Relating to the Department of Accounting and General Services

Permits Department of Accounting and General Services to employ certain persons within the Comptroller's office who are exempt from state laws governing civil service and collective bargaining for certain purposes, as part of the State's information technology modernization efforts.

HB 2072 HD1 SD1 – Relating to Campaign Finance

Requires certain solicitations that reference disasters to include a disclosure. Deems violators guilty of a class C felony.

HB 2231 HD1 SD1 – Relating to Law Enforcement

Establishes as a goal of the State the increased representation of female law enforcement officers in the State by 2030 and nonbinary law enforcement officers in the State. Requires each law enforcement agency to recruit law enforcement officers from diverse backgrounds.

SB2240 CD1 – Relating to Elections

Requires the Office of Elections to file an application with Electronic Registration Information Center, Inc. (ERIC), by 6/30/2025, for the State to be admitted as a member of that organization. Requires the Office of Elections to share with each county the information and services made available by ERIC pursuant to the State's membership agreement with that organization.

  *   *   *   *   *

SA: Hawaii’s ‘historic’ 2024 legislative session comes to a close



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