Legislative Updates: Cannabis, Criminal Justice, Food/Farms, Reproductive Rights

Aloha Friends,
I wish this were not the case and truthfully the weekend work is wearing on me as well. However, if we do not show up with testimony by Monday morning, we will surely end up paying a price for our neglect. Hence.. here is another “all hands on deck” call to action.

We are approaching the half-way point in the legislative process. House bills are thus in the final House committee and getting ready to pass over to the Senate, and vice versa.

Any bill that does not “cross over” in the very near future, will be dead for this session. Thus, this is the last chance for the very important measures listed below, and your testimony in support is urgently needed.

Committee Hearings Scheduled For
(testimony in SUPPORT needed by 9 am Monday 03/01)

Criminal Justice Reform
SB1260 Eliminates the use of monetary bail for traffic offenses, violations, and nonviolent petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor offenses, with certain exceptions. Must-Read – Civil Beat “Restore Justice: End The Cash Bail System.” ​

Cannabis – Decriminalization, and Legalization
SB758 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=758) – Increases from 3 grams to 1 oz the threshold for decriminalization
SB767 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=767) – Legalizes the personal use, possession, and sale of cannabis

SB335 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billnumber=335&billtype=SB&year=2021) – Requires at least 50% of state ag lands leased for local food production

SB337 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billnumber=337&billtype=SB&year=2021) – Cover Crop Incentives

SB338 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billnumber=338&billtype=SB&year=2021) – Food Hub Pilot Program

SB341 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billnumber=341&billtype=SB&year=2021) – Taro Tax Exemptions

SB1251 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billnumber=1251&billtype=SB&year=2021) – Farm to School
For bullet point bill descriptions and testimony assistance for all 5 measures, read HAPA – “Support Good Food and Agriculture Bills!” (https://www.hapahi.org/blog/support-good-food-and-agriculture-bills)

Reproductive Health Care For Rural Communities
HB576 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=576&year=2021) Reduces costs and ensures that patients and health care providers are not forced to travel to another island for reproductive health care. See Planned Parenthood Hawaii – bullet points (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sSNAjZHsbPq-Bpo1Z2O4ZRo_nBq9fwEZu06Q0fRjD8U/edit) .

Environmental Protection
SB350 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=350) – Clean water shoreline testing, environmental justice, requires water quality testing, and informing the public of health risks.

HB1352 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1352) – Requires: (1) Inventory of lands that are leased or controlled by the federal government including surplus military lands; (2) Disclosure of known contaminants or environmental hazards associated with the inventoried lands (3) Proposed alternative uses for the lands

Tax Fairness – Budget
SB56 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=56&year=2021) – A progressive and comprehensive proposal increasing taxes on high earners, corporations, and property speculators, and temporarily removes certain GET exemptions, in order to raise the revenue needed to avoid cuts in social services and environmental protection.

HB290 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=290&year=2021) – Eliminates the weight tax exemption for private vehicles owned by military personnel taxing those vehicles the same as Hawaii resident-owned vehicles.

Special Action Alert from Capitol Watch
Sierra Club of Hawaii
OPPOSE HB1015 by Monday, March 1 (https://www.hawaiicapitolwatch.org/2021-blog/2021/2/23/watch-out-for-these-water-license-bills)

Update on HB1286 COVID Travel: Blocking County Protections

HB1286 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1286&year=2021) proposes to strip the County from its ability to set travel rules during the pandemic and implements a one size fits all COVID screening policy. This measure has passed all of its committees in the House and awaits a final floor vote before it crosses over to the Senate for further deliberation and votes. Please contact YOUR district Representative and ask them to vote “NO” on the floor when it arrives there. You can find out who your Representative is and their contact info by going here: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/fyl/

Increasing Hawaii’s Minimum Wage

SB676 (https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=676&year=2021) increases Hawaii’s minimum wage from $10.10 to $12 effective July 1, 2022. This is a modest but good step in the right direction, and certainly nothing business needs to fear.

Regardless of which island you live on, please help send a strong message of support to YOUR district Representative and Senator today if you can. It’s easy. IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO – PLEASE Just go to this simple “one-click form” (https://p2a.co/D1SMTxU) and voila, the Representative and Senator who represent you and your district will receive a message indicating your support.

Hawaii has the highest cost of living, yet 20 states have a higher minimum wage.

Pandemic or no pandemic, the minimum wage is going up this year in 26 other states. Our frontline workers who literally slave away at minimum wage jobs in stores, offices, and fast-food restaurants across the state – deserve a raise.

While $12 in 2022 is a good start, we continue to encourage legislators to amend SB676 to include an incremental phased-in increase to $17 in 2026.

Kuleana Academy Leadership Development

Perhaps the most important action of the day: Regardless of where you live in Hawaii, if you have roots within your community, have a burning desire to make our world a better place, believe in putting people and the planet ahead of corporate profits, and have some track record of community involvement (not just talking about it on FaceBook) – please consider applying to the Kuleana Academy (https://www.hapahi.org/kuleana) .

Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) is now accepting applications for the 6th Kuleana Academy. This is a five-month political leadership development and non-partisan candidate training program for emerging leaders in Hawai‘i. Watch this short video and apply here (https://www.hapahi.org/kuleana) .

Other Stuff

Many readers ask me how they can be most effective with the least amount of energy and time. This short blog piece I wrote recently provides that answer: The Political Power You Don’t Know You Have

Please take action and then share this email with your friends and networks. And then, after the work is done, please join me in taking the rest of the weekend off 😉

Gary Hooser
Pono Hawaii Initiative

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another 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. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “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.

9 Responses to Legislative Updates: Cannabis, Criminal Justice, Food/Farms, Reproductive Rights

  1. Jerilyn Puamana Guyang says:

    Mahalo NUI again, Gary Hooser for all your service to all our Hawai’i Nation Communites!


  2. Jerilyn Puamana Guyang says:

    Mahalo NUI, Gary Hoosier for all your service to all of us in Hawai’i Nei ~ especially for keeping us informed and awakened in the process of law in Hawai’i.

    Aloha 🙏🏽💖

    • garyhooser says:

      Happy to help do my part. Thank you for being involved and active in the civic process. It’s important.

      • Jerilyn Puamana Guyang says:

        As I shared on FB, I believ it is crucial to stay informed and awake in this process…and to speak up when necessary… as otherwise, we remain complacent and get taken advantage of. We live in a place where we have the honor to speak up with free speech, and we might as well use this evolutionary process to serve for the highest good of of all.

        And Mahalo NUI again!!
        Very GRATEFUL for your service. 🌈

      • garyhooser says:

        Mahalo again Jerilyn. Lmk if you ever want to get more involved in policy and politics. We need more people and new energy such as what you bring. We have an upcoming Kuleana Academy that is all via Zoom, please check it out at our http://www.hapahi.org website. And or if you know others who might be interested. Best, gary

  3. Dennis OShea says:

    Mahalo Gary for the kick in the okole. I needed it, and have submitted testimony on four bills. Don’t give up on us. Dennis Maui

    On Sat, Feb 27, 2021 at 12:26 PM GaryHooser’s Blog wrote:

    > garyhooser posted: “Aloha Friends, I wish this were not the case and > truthfully the weekend work is wearing on me as well. However, if we do not > show up with testimony by Monday morning, we will surely end up paying a > price for our neglect. Hence.. here is another “all hand” >

  4. Ingrid Peterson says:

    Mahalo, Gary! You (and Will Caron of Appleseed) inspired me to submit testimony on these bills, something I’ve never done before.

    **Something you might want to know: my House Representative Patrick Pihana Branco just told me that when I used the one-click, convenient link to contact him about the minimum wage bill, he wanted to email me back but was unable to from that message from me because it took him to an organization. He wasn’t sure that it was really from me. (We knee each other well from speaking many times while he was campaigning.) In the future, I’ll email him directly, although that does take a little more time and effort.

    He does support raising the minimum wage. He hasn’t researched it in depth yet, but thinks it should probably be over $15, at least. He also thinks it shouldn’t be dependent on the vote in the legislature, but should depend on economic indicators such the cost of living and should rise automatically, with something like COLA. Of course, I lobbied for $17 by 2026 and passed on good resources like Rise Up Hawaii, Appleseed, and PONO Hawaii (and you.)

    He emailed me & called me about another email I’d sent him about the Safe Travels HB 1286, which we differ on. If we don’t have another surge from the more contagious and probably more dangerous variants, perhaps it will be a moot point.

    PS He told me the water bill HB 1015, opposed by the Sierra Club and you, has died, but I’m sure you already know that.

    • garyhooser says:

      Thank you Ingrid for checking in and most of all for reaching out to connect with your Representative, Rep. Branco. I will check the issue you mention as to him not being sure the email was from you and not being able to respond directly. I have not heard this from the many others who have used the one-click system but will check it out. And yes, it is much more direct and effective for you and others to email their Reps and Senators directly…as then as you point out, you actually develop a relationship with that person.

      That’s good news also that Rep Branco supports the increase. I agree it should increase automatically at some level just above the cost of living, but this will not work unless we first get to the $17 or higher level. On HB1286 – I’m thinking and hoping that will die in the Senate and be seen as unnecessary and a moot point.

      Back to minimum wage: The next step in the process is the bill will cross over from the Senate to the House on Tuesday and then the House Labor Committee must schedule a hearing and pass it out. We will need additional help pushing the House again IF the Labor Committee chaired by Rep. Onishi from the Big Island for any reason decide not to hear and pass out the bill. But will keep you posted. All the best. Gary

Leave a Reply to garyhooser Cancel 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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s