Gaming Council, Checkout Bag Fees: 372 Senate Bills Advance

March 7, 2012, 9:41 AM HST · Updated March 7, 9:44 AM
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State Capitol building, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Hawaii Senate passed 372 bills yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s first cross-over deadline.

The list includes a measure that seeks to resolve longstanding ceded land claims for past due revenues to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The $200 million settlement proposal passed in a 24 to 1 vote, with the lone dissenting vote cast by Sen. Sam Slom.

Other bills of interest seek to repeal junior kindergarten programs, propose a fee collection for single-use checkout bags, and propose the establishment of a nine-member gambling commission to analyze of the social and economic costs and benefits of different forms of gambling in Hawaii.

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Key senate items that advance include the following:

Economy

SB 2012, the Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012, gained passage in the Senate during an earlier vote on February 21, 2012.  The bill seeks to issue $500 million in general obligation bonds to fund the repair and maintenance or capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of various departments including: the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, Judiciary, and others.

SB 3050, relating to film, television, digital, and new media development advanced out of the Senate on Tuesday.  It seeks to assign to the Hawaii Tourism Authority the responsibilities for film, television, digital, and new media development. It would also repeal the film industry activities within the Department of Business, Economic, Development, and Tourism.

SB2111, relates to film and digital media industry development. It would establish the Hawaii film and digital media special fund; and amend the motion picture, digital media, and film production income tax credit.

Education

SB2789, relating to education, would require (beginning with contracts negotiated for the contract period beginning July 1, 2013) that teachers be employed by the Department of Education for three years before being eligible for tenure. It would also provide the Department the directive, means, and flexibility to establish a performance management system that cultivates and supports highly effective educators and that implements our State’s race to the top commitments.

SB2484, relating to taxation, would authorize a state income tax credit for certain expenses paid or incurred by a school teacher during the taxable year.

SB 2648, relating to campaign finance, would authorize campaign funds to be used to award scholarships to students attending an institution of higher education or vocational education school full time in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.

SB2005, proposes a constitutional amendment to Article X, Section 6, of the state constitution, to modify the appointment process for the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii. It would also repeal reference to the candidate advisory council for the board of regents of the University of Hawaii.

SB2545, relating to education, would establish an Executive Office on Early Learning. The bill would also establishes an Early Learning Advisory Board to replace the Early Learning Council. The measure would repeal junior kindergarten programs at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, it would require students to be at least five years of age on July 31 of the school year in order to attend kindergarten.

SB2546, relating to the University of Hawaii, would amend the form and function of the UH Regents Candidate Advisory Council and repeal section 304A-104.5, of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, effective 7/1/2050.

SB2115, relating to charter schools, would establish a new chapter governing charter schools based on the recommendations of the Charter School Governance, Accountability, and Authority Task Force established by Act 130, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011.

Energy & Sustainability

SB 3003, relating to geothermal resources, would establish a differentiation between “geothermal resources exploration” and “geothermal resources development”. It would designate the two categories as permitted uses in all State land use districts and conservation district zones.

SB 2001, relating to the Public Land Trust, seeks to amend the Hawaii state planning act to include promoting the development of indigenous renewable energy resources that are located on public trust land as a source of firm power.  It would also seek to ensure that the development of energy resources on public trust land directly benefits native Hawaiians and public beneficiaries of the trust.

SB2281, relating to Environmental Impact Statements, authorizes an agency or an applicant to bypass the preparation of an environmental assessment and proceed directly with an environmental impact statement for proposed actions that are determined by the agency to require an environmental impact statement.

SB2511, relating to environmental protection, would require businesses in the state to collect a fee for single-use checkout bags provided to a customer.  The measure would also allow businesses to keep 20% of the fees for the first year of the program and 10% of the fees thereafter, subject to income and general excises taxes. All fees would be deposited into a special account in the environmental management special fund.

Human Services

SB2579, relating to minors, would establish a new chapter for the safe harbor of sexually exploited children. The measure would grant the Family Court exclusive jurisdiction over any person under 18 who is charged with certain offenses of prostitution. It would also establish that persons who are under 18 and suspected of or charged with certain offenses of prostitution shall not be prosecuted, and shall be subject to the provisions of the safe harbor for sexually exploited children chapter.

SB2319, relating to the homeless, seeks to appropriate unspecified funds to the homeless programs office of Department of Human Services and the rental housing trust fund. The measure would also appropriate unspecified funds to Department of Health for substance abuse treatment, mental health support services, and clean and sober housing services, and to DHS for a homeless prevention program, rental assistance program, and matching funds for shelter plus care grants.

Transportation

SB3010, relating to transportation, proposes the temporary exemption to the Department of Transportation and its contractors from certain state requirements for certain bridge rehabilitation projects.

SB2960, relating to aeronautics, would prohibit the Department of Transportation from assessing landing fees upon air carriers for flights landing at Molokai Airport, Lanai Airport, Kapalua-West Maui Airport, Hana Airport, Kalaupapa Airport, and Waimea-Kohala Airport.

Health

SB2228, relating to pseudophedrine, would establish an electronic tracking system for the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine base. The measure would require the Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division to implement the electronic tracking system in conjunction with the existing narcotics tracking system.

SB416, relating to health, would provide authorization to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to bring the Hawaii Medical Center East facility under its governance through formal affiliation, acquisition, or both.

Consumer Protection

SB2427, relating to the PUC, would impose a requirement that the Public Utilities Corporation implement best practices in the areas of regulatory frameworks, rules and procedures, and information technology and public access.

SB2429, relating to foreclosures, proposes the implementation of the 2011 recommendations of the Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force, and other best practices, to address various issues relating to the mortgage foreclosures law and related issues affecting homeowner association liens and the collection of unpaid assessments. The measure would make permanent, the mortgage foreclosure dispute resolution program, and the process for converting nonjudicial foreclosures of residential property into judicial foreclosures. The bill would repeal the provision excluding participants of the dispute resolution program from converting nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings to judicial actions.

Hawaiian Affairs

SB2783, relating to the Public Trust Lands, would convey Kakaako Makai lands to Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and resolves all disputes and controversies, and extinguishes, discharges and bars all claims, suits, and actions relating to OHA’s portion of income and proceeds from the public trust lands for the period November 7, 1978 through June 30, 2012

Miscellaneous

SB2893, relating to gambling, would establish a nine-member gambling commission exempt from section 26-34, Hawaii Revised Statutes, attached to the office of the auditor, to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the social and economic costs and benefits of different forms of gambling and their impacts on the State in order for legislators to make informed policy decisions regarding gambling.

SB2494, relating to animal cruelty, would require specified persons who own, control, or have custody or control of ten or more dogs over age four months with intact sexual organs to meet minimum standards of care to ensure the proper treatment and care of dogs and the dogs’ offspring. The bill would prohibit any person from owning or having custody of more than thirty dogs over age of one year with intact sexual organs. It would also require the licensing of dog breeders; authorizes each county to develop license requirements and fees; establishes minimum standards of care; authorizes each county to pursue civil penalties for non-compliant dog breeders.  (Other animal cruelty bills include the following: SB2492, SB2503, SB2208)

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