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Friday, May 24, 2013
House GOP Cites ‘Significant Progress for Hawaii’s People’
By News Release @ 2:41 PM :: 5152 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

House Republican Legislative Update

Aloha,               May 23, 2013

The 2013 legislative session wasn't perfect, but it does represent significant progress for Hawaii's people.

The House Republican Caucus helped to successfully defeat numerous proposals to increase taxes and fees and contributed to responsible decisions in the state budget, such as recapitalizing the Rainy Day and Hurricane Relief Funds, addressing unfunded liabilities and eliminating many vacant department positions.

To learn more about the process and outcomes of the state budget that passed this session, please take a moment to watch the 2013 Hawaii House Republican Biennium Budget Review:

Video: 2013 Hawaii House Republican Biennium Budget Review

In addition to the many proposals to increase taxes and fees that failed to pass this year, notable bills that did pass are listed below. Many of these measures increase government transparency and accountability, improve the elections process, strengthen public safety and make smart investments to improve Hawaii's bond rating.

Tax and fee increases that died

  • General excise tax
  • Barrel tax
  • Conveyance tax
  • Tobacco tax
  • Internet sales tax
  • Sugary beverages fee
  • Glass container fee
  • Single-use checkout bag fee
  • Electronic waste fee

Transparency and Accountability

SB 1092: Appropriates an additional $50 million to recapitalize the Hurricane Relief Fund, bringing the total recapitalization over the next biennium to $160 million.

SB 1094: Appropriates $50 million to recapitalize the Rainy Day Fund.

SB 1003: Authorizes the Chief Information Officer to perform periodic security audits of all executive branch departments, agencies, board and commissions.

HB 546: Creates a task force to examine the unfunded liability of the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) and establishes an annual payment schedule for the State and counties to address the unfunded liability.

HB 632: Requires executive branch departments to make electronic data sets available to the public through the State's open data portal and provides $100,000 for program staffing in each of fiscal years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

HB 1374: Gives procurement officials the authority to choose the appropriate source selection method for each procurement to ensure that contracts are awarded to qualified bidders and not those with a record of poor performance.

HB 114: Increases transparency of the University of Hawaii's management of public funds by requiring the Administrator of the State Procurement Office, rather than the UH President, to serve as the chief procurement officer for construction contracts.

Business and Taxes

SB 1087: Appropriates $130 million out of special funds to establish a regulatory financing structure that authorizes low-cost loans from the state for green infrastructure equipment to achieve measurable cost savings and meet the state's clean energy goals. Requires a report to the Legislature.

HB 858: Appropriates funds for the HI Growth Initiative to promote the state's high-growth business opportunities. Requires reports on the initiative's achieved outcomes.

HB 430: Exempts charitable donations from itemized tax deduction caps.

SB 1349: Reenacts the tax credit for qualified research activities through taxable year 2019. Adds reporting requirements and the measurement of the effectiveness of the credit.

SB 1360: Makes permanent and removes the aggregate cap on the general excise tax exception on amounts received and expended for employee costs made by hotel operators and suboperators, as well as or common expenses by apartment or community associations and nonprofit homeowners.

Elections

HB 1147: With some exceptions, requires non-candidate committees to identify their top three contributors in all media advertisements.

SB 827: Prohibits employers, unions, and candidates or their agents from helping voters complete absentee ballots and requires absentee voters to affirm via signature that they completed their ballot without influence from others.

Education

SB 1093: Appropriates $7.16 million for the Preschool Open Doors Program to help families afford preschool.

HB 417: Appropriates $1.8 million from the general fund for the interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corporation primary care training program at Hilo Medical Center.

SB 458: Repeals the State Educational Facilities Improvement Special Fund at the recommendation of the state auditor. Funding for improvements would go through the normal capital improvement projects process.

SB 1084: Proposes a constitutional amendment to permit the appropriation of public funds for private early childhood education programs.

Health and Human Services

SB 1016: Enables law enforcement to better track sex offenders and increases the amount of information available to authorities and the public.

HB 1187: Designates January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Specifically protects underage victims of sex and labor trafficking by including them in the Child Protective Act and laws relating to child abuse.

SB 102: Requires financial institutions to report suspected financial abuse of an elder to the police and Department of Human Services.

SB 515: Appropriates $3 million for substance abuse treatment, mental health support, rental assistance, and housing programs and services for the homeless. Establishes a pilot program to reunite the homeless with their families.

HB 908: Establishes a statewide hospital-based screening and home visiting services program to identify and provide services to families of newborns at risk for poor health and safety outcomes.

SB 1340: Establishes the young adult voluntary foster care program for eligible foster youth until the age of 21.

HB 536: Clarifies veteran preferences for low-income housing. Disqualifies applicants from low-income housing tenant selection if they or a household member owns or acquires a home within the state.

SB 1339: Creates a state definition of "rural area" that allows rural health care facilities to continue receiving cost-based federal reimbursements.

HB 672: Prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to persons under age 18.

Land Use

HB 1133: Repeals the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) and transfers PLDC assets to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

SB 237: Supports the creation of "21st Century Schools" and school-centered communities by establishing a 5-year pilot program within the Department of Education (DOE) to generate revenue for school modernization.  The program may lease public school lands for public purposes, such as the construction of workforce rental housing units.

Transportation

HB 980: With certain exceptions, bans drivers' use of cell phones and other mobile electronic devices (including laptops, digital cameras, and portable video game devices) while operating a motor vehicle. Also bans drivers under age 18 from using any hands-free mobile electronic device (including Bluetooth devices) while operating a motor vehicle.

SB 4: With certain exceptions, prohibits a driver from operating a motor vehicle on a public highway unless the driver and all front and back seat passengers age 8 and older are wearing seat belts (passengers age 7 and under must be in a car seat).   

SB 1214: Prohibits any person or entity, including the police, from putting a wheel boot on a motor vehicle that is located on a public or private street, or on public or private property.

SB 1209: Authorizes the director of the Department of Transportation to issue permits authorizing vending in the airspace above a highway.

In Our Communities

Legislators and Educators Tour

Rep. Cheape learned about aeromedical evacuation techniques at Wheeler Army Airfield and Schofield Barracks as part of a tour highlighting quality educational opportunities for service members and their families.

Local football stars headed to the National Football League

Rep. Fale presented certificates to the families of former Kahuku players Manti Teo and Robbie Toma on the weekend of the NFL draft.

In The News

Op-ed: Historic Hawaii House Coalition Delivers Promising Results

Civil Beat, May 14

Rep. Beth Fukumoto recaps the legislative session

Video: Legislative Review on PBS Insights

PBS Hawaii, May 9

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact the House Republican Caucus. We look forward to continuing to work with you to make Hawaii an even better place to live.

Mahalo,

Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson

Minority Leader

T: (808) 586-9470

repjohanson@capitol.hawaii.gov

Rep. Beth Fukumoto

Minority Floor Leader

T: (808) 586-9460

repfukumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov

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