News Release from House Republican Caucus
This week marked Second Crossover, the deadline for the House to advance all remaining Senate bills. The House voted on Tuesday to pass over 160 measures on issues including education, economic development, the environment and public health and safety.
Conference committees will begin to meet next week to come to final agreements on House and Senate bill drafts before session ends on May 2.
State budget update
The House and Senate began formal budget negotiations this week, earlier in session than these meetings have historically began. This advanced schedule will help to avoid a last-minute time crunch before the final deadline and increase transparency by providing legislators and members of the public ample time to review recommendations.
By the first meeting's end, the two houses had already agreed on two-thirds of the budget. Remaining items to deliberate include early childhood education, the Hawaii Growth Initiative and upgrades to the state's IT infrastructure.
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Above: House and Senate conferees met on April 11 to begin budget negotiations
Among the many bills passed on Tuesday, the House voted to:
- Reduce the hotel tax rate of 9.25 percent to 7.25 percent on July 1, 2013 and eliminate the daily hotel tax for complimentary accommodations (SB 1194 SD2 HD1);
- Recapitalize the Hurricane Relief and Rainy Day Funds (SB1092 SD1 HD1 and SB 1094 SD1 HD1);
- Provide tax relief for working low income residents(SB 98 SD1 HD1);
- Propose a constitutional amendment to permit the appropriation of public funds for some private preschool programs (SB 1084 SD1 HD1);
- Establish the School Readiness Program to prepare young children for school environments (SB 1093 SD2 HD2);
- Create a publicly funded Early Childhood Education Program (SB 1095 SD2 HD2); and
- Require financial institutions to report instances of suspected financial abuse of an elder (SB 102 SD2 HD1).
The House Minority Caucus stood together in opposition to measures that would:
- Apply the general excise tax to Internet sales (SB 948 SD1 HD1);
- Provide modest cost-savings that could cause businesses to lose the right to appeal the actions of the Hawaii Labor Relations Board (SB 877 SD1 HD2);
- Potentially open the door to billboard advertising along highways and on the rail system (SB 1209 SD1 HD1);
- Raise application and renewal fees for individuals and companies that conduct mortgage loan origination activities (SB 1069 SD2 HD2); and
- Amend the definition of "student instructional hours" for elementary and secondary schools to apply to non-educational activities (SB 238 HD2). The bill failed to pass with a 30-21 vote.
In Our Communities
Foster Village Town Hall Meeting on UH athletics
Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson hosted a meeting on April 10 with new UH Athletic Director Ben Jay to outline his vision for the university's athletic programs.
Mililani Town Hall Meeting on transportation
Reps. Fukumoto and Cheape attended an April 10 meeting with other legislators and the state and city transportation departments to update community members on upcoming transportation projects.
Above: Reps. Fukumoto and Cheape talk with constituents at a town hall meeting
In The News
Above: Reps. Fale, Fukumoto, Johanson and Cheape
Article: The GOP's Local Youth Movement
Midweek, April 3
Letter to the Editor: House coalition doing good job
Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Star-Advertiser, April 5
Community Voices: Worthy Education Goals Must Be Realized Openly And Responsibly
Rep. Richard Fale
Civil Beat, April 8
Community Voices: Hemp and Hawaii: A Winning Combination
Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Civil Beat, April 10
If you have any questions or concerns about measures in the House or Senate, 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.
Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson
T: (808) 586-9470
Rep. Beth Fukumoto
Minority Floor Leader
T: (808) 586-9460