Excellent Status Summary of 2019 Progressive Bills as of April 12, 2019 – courtesy of YPDA!

Economic Justice Measures

The following Economic Justice Action Committee bills have made it through second crossover. Click on a link to send a message of support.

  • SB789 SD2 HD2 & HB1191 HD1 SD2 both propose to raise the minimum wage. How that happens will depend on a Conference Committee draft. Ask the likley conferees to support a $17 minimum wage for all workers, to consider a tax credit for employers that provide health insurance, and to keep language that would eliminate the subminimum wage for disabled workers. Send email.
  • SB301 SD1 HD1 would close the tax code loophole that allows Real Estate Investment Trusts to make $billions off of Hawaiʻi land and natural resources without paying a dime in corporate income tax to the state. As it stands, this bill does not propose to deposit any of the new REIT revenue into the rental revolving fund, where it would help fund affordable housing development. Let’s ask the conferees to change that. Send email.
  • SB390 SD2 HD1, the SNAP Double Up bill, would help low-income families have access to fresh, locally-grown produce, while also channeling federal funds into local agriculture by requiring the Department of Agriculture to create a dollar-for-dollar matching program for beneficiaries of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to purchase Hawaiʻi-grown produce. Send email.
  • SB9 SD1 HD1 would establish a Section 8 insurance fund from which landlords could be reimbursed should their units be damaged after renting them out via Section 8 to low income renters. While our position is that this fund is unecessary and while we oppose the premise that low-income renters are not good tenants or trustworthy because they are poor, the reality is we are in an affordable housing crisis and Section 8 wait times are far too long. If landlords need this reassurance to make their units available to low income families, then so be it. Send email.
  • HB1274 HD1 SD1 would affirm the right of graduate student workers at the University of Hawaiʻi to form a union and collectively bargain. This is a fundamental labor right, and it is disgraceful that Democrats—whose party dominance in Hawaiʻi was built on the power of organized labor—would oppose this basic human right for workers. Send email.
  • HB1193 SD1 & HB1190 HD1 SD1, two tax fairness bills, would both bring a greater level of equity to our state tax system by increasing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, and eliminating the lowest income tax bracket for people in poverty, respectively. Both are small adjustments, but both can be significant help to struggling families in Hawaiʻi. Send email.

Social Justice Measures

The following Social Justice Action Committee bills have made it through second crossover. Click on a link to send a message of support.

  • SB192 SD1 HD2 authorizes unsecured bail for nonviolent and indigent arestees and implements some of the pretrial taskforce recommnedations, which would alleviate some of the overcrowding in our county jails caused by mass incraceration of nonviolent offenders. It’s a small step toward badly needed criminal justice reform, but one well-worth supporting. Send email.
  • HB1383 HD2 SD1 would decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis (3 grams or less) and allows for expunchment of criminal records for those convicted of posession of 3 grams or less. The bill would also create a taskforce to make recommendations on changing marijuana use penalties and outcomes. This is a baby step toward genuine drug policy reform. This may be our last chance to ask for a stronger bill. The decriminalized amount should be at least as large as the amount allowed under medical marijuana laws, which is 4 ounces. Send email.
  • HB285 HD1 SD2 would eliminate the exemption county police officers currently enjoy that hides records of their misconduct from the public. This is a police transparency and accountability measure that, in light of an already especially deadly year in law-enforcement, to say nothing of documented instances in which the public’s need to know would have prevented further tragedies from occuring, is badly needed. Send email.
  • SB1025 SD1 HD2 would expand the Kupuna Caregivers program, a badly needed system of support for caregivers who, often, are working multiple jobs themselves while caring for aging loved ones. As Hawaiʻi’s population continues to skew toward the older end of the spectrum, this support will become increasingly important. Send email.
  • SB471 SD2 HD1, HB1312 HD1 SD1, SB567 SD2 HD2 and SB1124 SD2 HD1, together, form a homelessness services package being supported by Partners In Care and Bridging the Gap. The bills will provide wrap-around homelessness services, an investment in housing first and affordable housing subsidies, and provide mental health services (the final two), respectively. Send email.

Environmental Justice Measures

The following Environmental Justice Action Committee bills have made it through second crossover. Click on a link to send a message of support (or opposition for the last three).

  • SB522 SD2 HD2 creates the plastic source reduction working group to make recommendations for eliminating single-use plastic packaging, establishes the Solid Waste Prevention Coordinator within the Department of Health, and appropriates funds. This does not go nearly far enough in protecting our environment, so we’re asking for the conferees to strengthen it. Send email.
  • HB765 HD1 SD2 & HB1487 HD1 SD2 would each move us toward better planning for sea level rise and climate change when it comes to new construction and urban planning. Send email.
  • HB1586 HD1 SD2 was once a bill aimed at establishing a badly-needed, new executive department dedicated to all things environment and renewable energy. Short-sighted politicians pulled a Gut & Replace on this bill, and now it’s the vehicle for the Aloha Stadium redevelopment project. Without getting too much into the weeds, stadiums are not economic drivers, they are economic sink holes. This shows where the priorities of our “leaders” lie. We need to demand that this bill be reverted back into a vehicle to establish the new Department of the Environment. Our future depends on a healthy planet, not a healthy college football following. Send email.
  • HB307 SD1 expands the definition of “renewable energy” to a dangerously vague level (“other self-replenishing non-fossil fuel resources”). This bill’s language is too broad and could have terrible repercussions on our renewable energy future in the islands. Send email.
  • HB1025 HD1 SD2 allows the Board of Land and Natural Resources to issue lease extensions without any oversight. Send email.

Open Government Measures

The following Open Government bills have made it through second crossover. Click on a link to send a message of support (or opposition for the last three).

  • SB412 SD2 HD1 & HB1485 HD2 SD1 each establish Automatic Voter Registration measures in the state of Hawaiʻi. HB1485 adds high school students, 16+, to an in-school, optional pre-registration initiative to even further boost the participation of young people in democracy. Send email.
  • HB1248 HD1 SD2 would expand the Vote By Mail pilot program Hawaiʻi lawmakers passed last session by enacting voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2022. A small number of polling places would still remain open to process in-person votes, but the reality is that anyone who can vote in person can also vote by mail, but the opposite is not true. Vote By Mail expands access to democracy for rural voters, kupuna, military servicemembers and young people. Send email.
  • SB427 SD2 HD1 would establish Ranked Choice Voting for special federal elections and special elections of vacant county council seats. It’s a pilot bill, but there’s no reason we can’t suggest that the conferees expand the measure to establish RCV in all elections. RCV is a fundamentally more democratic way of voting, and with today’s technology, it can be easily implenented to save the state money by eliminating the need for a primary election. Send email.
Stay tuned for more action alerts on this and other issues coming out of our committee reports. Subscribe below:

Additional Resources:
Living Wage Talking Points
Bail Reform Talking Points
Marijuana Legalization Talking Points
Automatic Voter Registration Talking Points

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person. I presently serve now as a volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org In a past life I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s