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Friday, May 3, 2019
House Passes 298 Bills
By News Release @ 12:01 AM :: 5587 Views :: Hawaii State Government


News Release from Hawaii House Democratic Caucus, May 2, 2019

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The House of Representatives today adjourned the 2019 regular legislative session sine die having passed a total of 298 bills including measures to make reforms in our prison and bail systems, streamline fair elections and increase voter turnout, fund kupuna caregivers and community college students, and continue the effort to end homelessness.

"The House took the lead in taking on the big initiatives this year which were successful," said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. "The House has re-defined the Legislature's role as the policy making branch of state government. There is more to be done, and we will use this interim to develop priorities for next year."

Saiki said at the beginning of the session lawmakers were prepared to reaffirm their oversight role and ensure transparency and accountability by closely scrutinizing the administration's budget, carefully listening to public testimony, and approaching bills with a receptive mind ready to compromise.

This past election cycle made it clear that Hawaiʻi needed an automatic recount law. Without one, the integrity and confidence in our election process could easily be shaken.

SB 216 SD2 HD1 CD1 was passed to require an automatic recount of any office or ballot question in any election if the margin of victory is equal to or less than 100 votes or 0.25 percent of the votes cast, whichever is greater.

HB1248 HD1 SD2 CD1 was passed to make it easier to vote by establishing voting by mail for all elections statewide beginning with the 2020 primary election and expanding in-person voting and ballot drop-off hours

This House passed a State Budget that appropriates $16 billion in total operating funds for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The budget includes $3.4 billion for critical capital improvement projects in all counties across the state.

The House passed the budget for state operations more than a month earlier than in previous sessions, parsing out department budget requests to their respective subject matter committees. This approach allowed lawmakers more time to closely scrutinize department budgets and other important issues.

To address overcrowded prisons and bring equity to our system of bail, lawmakers passedHB1552 HD2 SD2 CD1. The bill establishes a Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission and a Criminal Justice Institute within the office of the Chief Justice, and implements recommendations from the Criminal Pretrial Task Force.

SB192 SD1 HD2 takes on the issue of bail reform. Under this measure, the court is authorized to release a defendant in custody on unsecured bail, which means the defendant signs a contract and agrees to appear before the court, and if the defendant fails to appear, they pay the agreed bail bond amount.

Kupuna Care provides services to vulnerable older adults and helps them maintain their ability to live healthy, independent, dignified lives in their communities. HB 465 HD1 SD2  appropriates $4,145,695 to fund Kupuna Care to serve more than 250 additional adults.

SB 1025 SD1 HD2 appropriates $1.5 million to the Kupuna Caregivers program for fiscal year 2019-20 (an increase of $300,000 from last year) and changes the maximum allocation from $70 per day to $210 per week to increase flexibility and options for caregivers.

Because higher education has become very expensive and students who are at an economic disadvantage are disproportionately affected, lawmakers passed SB316 SD2 HD2 and SB50 SD2 HD1, which appropriates $700,000 to continue the Community College Promise Program and directs the University of Hawaiʻi to collect data on the program's effectiveness, and continues funding for the Hawaiʻi Nutrition and Training Program, respectively.

Homelessness is one of the most pressing problems in the state and there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. The Legislature allocated unprecedented levels of investment in 2018 in proven-effective low-income housing and homelessness initiatives. Lawmakers continued to fund core homeless services this session by passing SB471 SD2 HD1 CD1 which appropriates $10,800,000 for each of the next two fiscal years to fund the Outreach Program, the Rapid Re-housing Program, the Housing First Program, the Family Assessment Centers, and homeless outreach and civil legal services. The bill also appropriates $3 million to fund Stored Property and Debris Removal Services, and $1 million for the state Rental Supplement Program.

Continued support for the Ohana Zones Pilot Program has been provided in HB257 HD2 SD1 CD1. Ohana zones are designated to provide temporary housing along with social and health services that aim to transition homeless people to affordable housing.

The bill authorizes the use of private lands for the Ohana Zones and the use of off-grid technologies that can provide drinking water, electricity, and process sewage without existing infrastructure. It also appropriates $2 million for fiscal year 2019-20 for construction needs for temporary housing and extends implementation of the Ohana Zones Pilot Program to June 30, 2023.

In moving Hawaiʻi towards a clean energy future, lawmakers passed several measures including HB1585 HD1 SD2 CD1, which creates a rebate program for the installation or upgrade of electric vehicle charging stations in publicly accessible areas, workplaces, and multi-unit dwellings, and HB556 CD1, which adopts minimum appliance efficiency standards for certain products sold in the state.

To provide disaster relief, lawmakers passed HB 1180 HD1 to provide $60 million in relief funding for Hawaiʻi Island following the Kilauea eruption which covered nearly 14 square miles in Puna in lava, and SB 1091 SD2 HD2 which makes an emergency appropriation of $7 million to the Department of Transportation to mitigate landslide damages and install rockfall protection structures on the Pali Highway on Oʻahu and Honoapiʻilani Highway on Maui.

On the final day of the 2019 session, the House passed 16 bills including:

HB1453 HD1 SD1 CD1, which takes a multi-faceted approach to benefit homeless people, kupuna, ambulance services and local hospitals.

Previously, 911 emergency patients could only be transported to facilities designated as hospitals, and emergency services could only be reimbursed for transport to such a facility. Patients – including those who are elderly or homeless – do not always need to go to the hospital to receive the care they need. This measure authorizes transportation by ambulance to medical facilities other than hospital emergency departments, and authorizes Medicaid programs to provide coverage for health care provided by emergency medical services personnel.

Click on this link for all bills passed during the 2019 session.\


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Measures include cannabis decriminalization, bail, Medicaid and election reforms

News Release from House Democratic Caucus, April 30, 2019

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – As the end of the 2019 legislative session approaches, the House is starting to take final votes on bills that have survived close scrutiny by both the House and Senate.

More than 3,000 bills were introduced this session and more than 200 bills will likely be sent to the Governor by the end of session May 2.

The House today passed 206 bills ranging from cannabis decriminalization to landmark Medicaid, bail, and election reforms, to clean transportation policies and measures that address Hawaiʻi's homeless and affordable housing crises. Once all the measures passed with a CD1 are also passed by the Senate, they will go to the Governor for approval or veto.

Measure highlights:


SB330 SD1 HD1 SD1 CD1 Individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid are often unable to earn an income and retain the benefits their lives depend on. "Kal's Law" requires the Department of Human Services to implement an Earned Income Disregard Program, which will disregard the income earned by otherwise Medicaid-eligible individuals with disabilities between 16 and 64 years old when determining their eligibility for Medicaid. This is intended as an interim step towards a Medicaid buy-in program.


HB1552 HD2 SD2 CD1 Addresses overcrowded jails and brings equity to Hawaiʻi's system of bail by establishing a Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission, implementing recommendations of the Criminal Pretrial Task Force, and establishing a Criminal Justice Institute within the office of the Chief Justice.

SB192 SD1 HD2 CD1 Authorizes the court to release a defendant in custody on unsecured bail.

HB456 HD2 SD2 CD1 Addresses damage done during the riot at the Maui Community Correctional Center. Appropriates funds for the immediate needs of Maui Community Correctional Center. Exempts the funds appropriated for the immediate needs of Maui Community Correctional Center from the procurement code. Appropriates funds for six months of housing costs for two hundred forty-eight inmates at Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona and for costs to return the inmates to Hawaii.


SB216 SD2 HD1 CD1 Requires a mandatory recount of election votes and ballot measures when the margin of victory for election contests or tabulation for ballot measures is equal to or less than one hundred or one-quarter of one per cent of the votes cast, whichever is greater.

HB1248 HD1 SD2 CD1 Enacts voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2020. Establishes a limited number of voter service centers that would remain open from the tenth business day preceding an election through the day of the election to receive personal delivery of mail-in ballots, accommodate voters with special needs, offer same day registration and voting, and provide other election services. Allows for additional places of deposit for personal delivery of mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program. Requires the Office of Elections to submit a report to the legislature before the convening of each regular session from 2020 through 2025, regarding the implementation of a vote by mail system.

Clean Transportation

HB1585 HD1 SD2 CD1 Creates a rebate program for the installation or upgrade of electric vehicle charging stations in publicly accessible commercial areas, workplaces, and multi-unit dwellings. The rebate is not for single-family residences or parking stalls reserved for individual use.

HB401 HD1 SD2 CD1 Allows state and county agencies to enter into performance contracts for electric vehicle fleets and charging infrastructure.

HB 852 HD1 SD1 CD1 Clarifies and strengthens the role of the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office in developing policies and programs to support the adoption of clean transportation.

SB661 SD1 HD1 CD1 Grants procurement priority for fuel cell electric vehicles for state and county vehicle purchases. Includes fuel cell electric vehicles in the definition of "electric vehicles" for purposes of parking fee exemption, high occupancy vehicle lane use, registration, and required parking spaces in places of public accommodation.

SB409 SD2 HD1 CD1 Establishes an annual vehicle registration surcharge fee for electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles to be deposited into the State Highway Fund.


HB257 HD2 SD1 CD1 Authorizes the use of private lands for the Ohana Zones Pilot Program. Extends implementation of the Ohana Zones Pilot Program to June 30, 2023. Extends the Emergency Department Homelessness Assessment Pilot Program and the Medical Respite Pilot Program to June 30, 2020. Appropriates funds.

SB471 SD2 HD1 CD1 Appropriates funds for core homelessness services, including the outreach program, rapid re-housing program, housing first program, family assessment centers, stored property and debris removal services, and the state rent supplemental program.

SB398 SD1 HD1 CD1 Directs the Department of Human Services, in partnership with the state procurement office, to provide training on government procurement and other relevant procedures to nonprofit organizations that offer homeless outreach services or manage homeless housing programs in rural areas of the State. Appropriates funds for the training program.

SB567 SD2 HD2 CD1 Appropriates funds for program ID HTH420 for the Department of Health to contract for legal assistance with petitions for assisted community treatment and related court proceedings.

SB1124 SD2 HD1 CD1 Requires a licensed psychiatrist or advanced practice registered nurse with prescriptive authority and psychiatric specialization to determine, prior to a person's discharge from a psychiatric facility, whether an assisted community treatment plan is indicated and to make certain arrangements if so indicated. Amends the criteria for assisted community treatment.

Affordable housing

SB1223 SD2 HD1 CD1 Extends the sunset date of Act 141, Session Laws of Hawaii 2009, as amended, which requires each county to issue affordable housing credits to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, until July 1, 2024. Extends the sunset date of Act 98, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, as amended, which requires the counties to issue affordable housing credits for each residential unit, or if allowed under the county's affordable housing program, vacant lot, developed by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, until July 1, 2024.

HB543 HD1 SD1 CD1 Directs the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation to initiate negotiations and exercise its power of eminent domain to acquire the Front Street Apartments affordable housing project on Maui unless the ground lease is renegotiated, or a new lease is issued by 12/31/19. Extends the deadline to complete the Lealiʻi affordable housing project on Maui. Appropriates funds from the rental housing revolving fund.

HB1312 HD1 SD1 CD1 Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds to be appropriated into and out of the rental housing revolving fund.

HB820 HD1 SD1 CD1 Requires the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation to study and formulate a plan to implement an ALOHA homes program to provide low-cost, high-density leasehold homes for sale to Hawaiʻi residents on state-owned lands within a one-half mile radius of a public transit station. Appropriates moneys.


HB1383 HD2 SD1 CD1 Provides for the expungement of criminal records pertaining solely to the possession of three grams or less of marijuana. Decriminalizes the possession of three grams or less of marijuana and establishes that the possession is a violation punishable by a monetary fine of $130. Establishes a marijuana evaluation task force to make recommendations on changing marijuana use penalties and outcomes in the State.

HB290 HD1 SD2 CD1 Authorizes qualifying patients or qualifying out-of-state patients to transport medical cannabis between islands for their personal medical use.

Hemp Production

SB1353 SD3 HD3 CD1 Requires the Department of Agriculture to establish a permanent industrial hemp program pursuant to federal law, and a corresponding special fund. Reduces or repeals certain regulatory requirements under the existing industrial hemp pilot program. Establishes monetary penalties for the unauthorized cultivation of hemp. Establishes authorized cultivation of hemp as an affirmative defense to certain criminal offenses pertaining to marijuana. Excludes hemp from statutory definitions of marijuana. Requires the chairperson of the Board of Agriculture to prepare a state plan for approval by the federal Secretary of Agriculture and report on the approval process to the Legislature and Governor. Appropriates funds.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

SB301 SD1 HD1 CD1 Disallows dividends paid deduction for real estate investment trusts. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2019. Sunsets 12/31/2023.

Driving Under the Influence

HB703 HD1 SD2 CD1 Amends the sentencing requirements for OVUII and HOVUII offenses. Amends the threshold for HOVUII offenses. Requires the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to convene a task force to examine and propose legislation that would allow the courts, under certain circumstances, to prohibit a person convicted of OVUII or HOVUII from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol for a probation period.

Emergency Services

SB281 SD1 HD2 CD1 Appropriates funds to the Department of Health for collective bargaining requirements for ambulance providers and other current expenses. Requires the Department of Health to contract with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under the guidance of a steering committee to conduct a study of the State Emergency Medical System. Authorizes the Department of Health to establish a task force to develop a plan to implement findings and recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's study and any proposed legislation.


SB536 SD2 HD1 CD1 Clarifies that existing law intended to curb over-access to and abuse of opioids, including the time frame for filling prescriptions, supply limitations, and requirements to check the state electronic prescription accountability system and execute an informed consent process, do not apply to qualifying patients who are prescribed or issued prescriptions pursuant to the State's Our Care, Our Choice Act.

SB535 SD1 HD1 CD1 Authorizes pharmacists, acting in good faith and exercising reasonable care, to prescribe and dispense an opioid antagonist to patients at risk of overdose, and family members and caregivers of patients at risk of overdose. Sunsets 6/30/2024.

Economic Development

SB33 SD3 HD2 CD1 Increases the annual rolling cap for the Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production Income Tax Credit to $50 million. Requires the University of Hawaiʻi, West Oʻahu campus and the Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation to execute a memorandum of understanding that commits the parties to enter into a no-cost lease agreement for at least 60 years that includes a provision for the transfer of title within 6 years to a certain parcel of land from the University of Hawaiʻi, West Oahu campus to the HTDC.

SB989 SD2 HD2 CD1 Renames the Hawaiʻi Television and Film Development Special Fund as the Hawaiʻi Film and Creative Industries Development Special Fund and expands its funding sources and purposes. Appropriates funds for the University of Hawaiʻi creative media program to strengthen the pipeline of students into the creative media industry.

Aloha Stadium

HB1586 HD1 SD2 CD1 Establishes the Stadium Development District comprising all state land under the Stadium Authority's jurisdiction. Authorizes the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority to facilitate the development of all state property within the District. Requires a memorandum of agreement for matters affecting the District. Directsthe Department of Land and Natural Resources to transfer the title of stadium lands to the Stadium Authority. Subjects leases of land within the District to not more than 99 years. Authorizes the issuance of revenue bonds and general obligation bonds. Appropriates funds. Requires annual reports to the Legislature.


HB622 HD2 SD1 CD1 Requires charter schools to provide to their authorizers full access to their fiscal and accounting books, documents, and files. Requires authorizers to select three independent auditors, from which the charter school will select one independent auditor. Prohibits individuals from serving as Charter School Commission members if the individual was affiliated with a charter school within one year preceding appointment.

HB398 HD1 SD2 CD1 Amends the composition of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaiʻi by reducing the number of board members from 15 members to 11 members and specifying terms of holdover for board members.


SB1405 SD2 HD2 CD1 Requires public school teachers and educators to confiscate electronic cigarettes from students under 21 years of age. Requires the Department of Health to establish a Safe Harbor Program by which persons under the age of 21 may dispose of electronic cigarettes in their possession. Increases administrative fines for persons under the age of 21 for certain electronic smoking device infractions.

Suicide Prevention

SB383 SD2 HD1 CD1 Requires the Department of Education to establish a mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training program and model risk referral protocol, based on existing materials created by the Department of Health, for all public schools, including charter schools. Requires charter schools to provide the training program and risk referral protocol to all school personnel who work directly with students in department schools and charter schools, respectively.

Illegal Parking

HB333 HD1 SD2 CD1 Addresses illegally parked vehicles along state highways that cause traffic gridlock, draw community complaints, and create unsafe and hazardous conditions by establishing the State Highway Enforcement Program to enforce illegal parking violations and provide for parking management improvements. Additionally imposes a parking violation surcharge of $200, in addition to other penalties and fines, for parking violations on state highways.

Highway Safety

SB663 SD2 HD1 CD1 Establishes within the Department of Transporation a red light running committee to develop policy for pilot programs in the City and County of Honolulu, and Counties of Maui, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi.

Agricultural Theft

SB759 SD2 HD1 CD1 Requires the Department of Agriculture to establish a 2-year Agricultural Theft and Vandalism Pilot Project to examine the effectiveness of prosecuting agricultural theft and agricultural vandalism in the counties of Hawaiʻi and Maui. Appropriates funds.

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death

HB1548 HD1 SD2 CD1 Appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to study and combat rapid ʻōhiʻa death.

Manta Rays

HB808 HD1 SD2 CD1 Expands the existing prohibition on knowingly capturing or killing a manta ray in state marine waters to apply to all rays and to also include knowingly taking, possessing, abusing, or entangling a ray. Provides certain exemptions.

Child Abuse

SB1232 SD1 HD1 CD1 Authorizes the Department of Human Services to disclose, upon consent, confirmed reports of child abuse or neglect to any parent or guardian of a child enrolled in an exempt or excluded child care facility.

Bishop Museum

HB1375 HD2 SD2 CD1 Appropriates funds to support the work of the State of Hawaiʻi Museum of Natural and Cultural History (also known as Bishop Museum), including the hiring of staff, provided that these sums are in addition to and do not supplant any portion of the base budget for the museum.

Filipino Caucus

SB1417 SD2 HD1 CD1 Appropriates funds for burial grants for qualifying Filipino-American World War II veterans to provide funeral and burial services and transportation of their remains to the Philippines, subject to certain conditions.


HB471 HD1 SD1 CD1 Establishes quorum requirements for the Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs.


HB116 SD1 CD1 Appropriates funds for the operating budget of the Executive Branch for fiscal years 2019‑2020 and 2020‑2021.

HB809 SD1 CD1 Appropriates operating and capital improvement grants for fiscal year 2020. Effective 7/1/2019.

HB1259 SD1 CD1 Appropriates capital improvement projects for fiscal biennium 2019–2021.

The House has passed 232 bills on final reading so far this session. Click here for a list of all bills that have passed final reading in the House of Representatives.


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