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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
SB99: Preserve Young Bros Monopoly on Inter-Island Shipping
By Grassroot Institute @ 8:27 PM :: 11348 Views :: Kauai County, DHHL, Energy, Environment

Senate Bill 99 -- Relating to clarification of role of Public Utilities Commission and elimination of competition for water carrier services

Hawaii Votes’ Bill of Interest 4-19-2011 From Grassroot Institute

At first glance, Senate Bill 99 looks to be about improving the structure and functioning of the Public Utilities Commission. But near the bottom of the measure is a section that essentially gives a monopoly to existing water carriers in Hawaii. The bill says the commission shall not approve an application for any other company to operate as a water carrier if the existing carriers are providing adequate service, among other reasons.

The PUC stated in its own testimony, “The Commission defers to the Legislature as to whether the State’s policy should be to prohibit the entry of additional water carriers into the market in Hawaii. This bill would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for companies to gain entry into the water carrier market in Hawaii … .”

A water carrier, PASHA of Hawaii, recently did get interim approval to operate in the Islands through Dec. 31, 2013, but according to various testimony submitted to the House Finance Committee, which last heard SB99, PASHA offers less services than the existing carrier, Young Brothers; it does not have refrigerators; it has roll-on and roll-off capacity for cargo; and it does not service the ports of Lanai and Molokai.

Many people who testified in support of the bill said that PASHA gets to “cherry-pick” the more lucrative shipping business and was not required to service all ports, as is the case of Young Brothers.

Rather than figuring a way to improve competition among water carriers, and thereby give consumers some choice and perhaps lower prices, SB99 shows that lawmakers are going the monopoly route instead.

Although no more public testimony will be heard on any more bills, it’s not too late for members of the public to let legislators or the governor know what they think about SB99, which is scheduled to be heard in a conference committee meeting on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. in conference room 016.

Email the chair of the conference committee, Sen. Rosalyn H. Baker, at

Here is a list of all bills still alive this session:

To send an email to all legislators, go to:

Or find your individual Senator or Representative at:

To contact the governor, go to:

Start a discussion at or on HawaiiVotes Facebook.

Hawaii Votes is a free public service of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Its purpose is to inform citizens, community leaders, business people, media, and public officials about legislation that affects their families, schools, jobs and communities. The site empowers citizens to take a more active part in the democratic process, and hold their elected representatives accountable. Hawaii Votes gives users instant access to concise, plain language and objective descriptions of bills, substantive amendments, and votes that take place in the Hawaii Legislature. Unlike any other bill tracking utility, Hawaii Votes is unique because all legislative actions are described - not just those selected by a particular interest group. It is searchable by legislator, keyword, and 50 subject categories, so users can create their own custom "voting record guide." See the Web site at


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