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Hawaiʻi State Senate highlights priority bills passed this session

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Legislative Courtyard. File photo PC: Hawaiʻi State Senate.

After the Hawai’i State Senate session adjourned May 5, it released a roundup of priority bills that passed, including those in agriculture, housing, economic recovery, education and health.

The news release touted the state budget as topping the list of noteworthy bills. The budget includes $8.7 billion in general funds and $16.9 billion in all methods of funding for FY23. It will also provide $6 billion in capital improvement project funding for FY22 and FY23, as well as $48.9 million in grants-in-aid for various projects.

To view all bills passed during the 2022 Legislative Session, visit the Hawai‘i State Legislature website. Gov. David Ige has until June 27 to provide the legislature with notification of any intent to veto.


Other priorities that passed during this year’s session include the following:

Housing and real estate development

  • SB206 SD2 HD1 CD1 prohibits discrimination, including in advertisements for rental property, in rental transactions based on participation in a section 8 housing choice program or any permanent supportive housing program or requirements related to participation in these housing assistance programs. Requires the Hawaii Public Housing Authority and the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission to provide informational materials.
  • SB2251 SD2 HD2 CD1 allows the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to develop mixed-income and mixed-financed housing projects. Prohibits the development or construction of housing projects on ceded land that is vacant on or after Jan. 1, 2022.
  • SB2588 SD1 HD1 CD1 appropriates funds to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority for the rehabilitation, remodeling, renovation and repair of housing units

Economic recovery

  • SB2398 SD2 HD2 CD1 creates the Pulehunui community development district to allow for planning, development, and maintenance of public lands in Pulehunui, Maui. Amends the Hawaii community development authority membership to include the director of business, economic development, and tourism; chairperson of the board of land and natural resources; and director of the office of planning or planning and permitting of each county, or their respective designees, in which a community development district is located. Amends community representatives on each board from three to two at-large members. Establishes membership for quorum on matters related to the Pulehunui community development district.
  • SB2473 SD2 HD2 CD1 amends the focus, scope, responsibilities, and powers of the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC). Amends the definition of the term “agriculture” as the term relates to the ADC. Transfers the administrative attachment of the ADC from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. Amends the requirements and responsibilities of the board of directors of the ADC. Amends the required contents of the Hawaii agribusiness plan. Appropriates moneys.
  • HB1983 HD1 SD2 CD1 establishes the state media industry development liaison to plan, develop, and execute a statewide media industry development strategy for purposes of establishing a collaborative media industry development program. Appropriates funds for the state media industry development liaison and an administrative assistant position.


  • SB2184 SD1 HD1 CD1 establishes a Digital Learning Center within the Department of Education. Appropriates funds to staff and administer the Digital Learning Center.
  • SB2821 SD2 HD1 CD1 requires the Department of Education to provide menstrual products free of charge to all students on all public school campuses.
  • SB2862 SD1 HD1 CD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Education to install air conditioning units for public school classrooms that have not received air conditioning units.

Agriculture, aquaculture and food security

  • SB2284 SD2 HD1 CD1 establishes provisions relating to the Department of Agriculture’s governing of the business of aquaculture. Grants exclusive property rights to persons who lawfully obtain the cultured progeny of wild plants and animals by brood stock acquisition. Authorizes the Department of Agriculture to regulate the transportation, purchase, possession, and sale of specific aquaculture products as may be necessary to protect indigenous species. Requires the Department of Agriculture to prepare programmatic environmental impact reports and acquire land for aquacultural purposes.
  • SB3197 SD2 HD1 CD1 establishes a farmer apprentice mentoring program. Makes an appropriation to the Department of Agriculture to establish and implement the program. Appropriates funds.
  • HB1568 HD2 SD2 CD1 requires the Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Public Safety, Department of Defense, and University of Hawaii system to ensure that a certain percentage of food purchased for public schools, youth campuses, public hospitals, public prisons, and University of Hawaii system academic programs consists of fresh, local agricultural products or local value-added, processed, agricultural, or food products. Requires each of those departments and the University of Hawaii system to annually report to the legislature on progress made toward meeting these benchmarks and clarifies the information to be reported.


  • SB2624 SD2 HD2 CD1 requires the Department of Health to implement a telehealth pilot project and publish an evaluation report on the telehealth pilot project outcomes. Requires the Department to implement and administer a rural health care pilot project to provide physicians and nurse practitioners serving selected rural areas with an availability fee and reimbursements for certain expenses and submit to the Legislature an evaluation report on the rural health care pilot project outcomes. Appropriates funds to support the pilot projects.
  • SB3236 SD2 HD1 CD1 appropriates funds to provide enhanced payments to state-licensed skilled nursing facilities, community care foster family homes, and expanded adult residential care homes that are caring for Medicaid patients; provided that the Department of Human Services shall obtain the maximum amount of federal matching funds available for this expenditure.
  • HB1980 HD2 SD2 CD1 permits, but does not require or prohibit, Medicaid, health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to cover telephonic behavioral health services under certain circumstances. Clarifies that telephonic services do not constitute telehealth.

Business, communications infrastructure, economic development and energy

  • SB2076 SD2 HD3 CD1 requires University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office (Office) to convene a working group to determine the appropriate governance structure to operate, maintain, and oversee broadband assets. Appropriates funds for three full-time positions for the Office and a statewide broadband initiative to be administered by the University of Hawaii
  • SB2474 SD2 HD1 CD1 requires the Public Utilities Commission to contract with a qualified consultant conduct a study on the accessibility of Hawaii’s electric system and procedures for interconnection to Hawaii’s electric system. Requires a report to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2023. Appropriates funds.
  • SB2479 HD1 CD1 requires each public housing project and state low-income housing project that is built or reconstructed after 1/1/2023, to include all broadband infrastructure necessary for tenants to have access to broadband service.

Public safety and law enforcement

  • SB2637 SD1 HD2 CD1 mandates that there be a community-based work furlough program for incarcerated women in the State. Appropriates funds.
  • SB3142 SD1 HD1 CD1 amends the title of chapter 386, part V, subpart C, HRS, to add reserve public safety law enforcement officers, and amends section 386-181, HRS, to include reserve public safety law enforcement officers to the list of volunteer occupations covered under the workers’ compensation law. Allows reserve public safety law enforcement officers who are injured under the conditions specified in section 386-3, HRS, to receive workers’ compensation. Adds reserve public safety law enforcement officers to the list of volunteers who are covered under the conditions for computing average weekly wages.
  • HB2171 HD2 SD1 CD1 establishes a Department of Law Enforcement to consolidate and administer criminal law enforcement and investigations functions of the State effective upon approval and reestablishes the Department of Public Safety as an independent Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to administer the corrections, rehabilitation, and reentry of the inmate population effective Jan. 1, 2024. Transfers the law enforcement functions of the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Law Enforcement effective Jan. 1, 2024, and the law enforcement functions of the Department of Transportation, the non-statutorily mandated functions of the investigations division of the Department of the Attorney General, and the Office of Homeland Security to the Department of Law Enforcement effective Jan. 1, 2024. Establishes a training center and also establishes a law enforcement complex for the department of law enforcement. Establishes positions and appropriates funds.


  • SB2370 SD2 HD1 CD1 establishes the Office on Homelessness and Housing Solutions within the Department of Human Services to be headed by the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness. Appropriates funds for the administration of the Office on Homelessness and Housing Solutions. Establishes five full-time equivalents.
  • SB3235 SD1 HD1 CD1 establishes the Safe Spaces for Youth Pilot Program within the Department of Human Services. Requires the pilot program to collaborate with all state and county departments that offer services to ensure the well-being of youth in Hawaii to coordinate the identification of youth who are experiencing homelessness and placement of these youth at a shelter for homeless youth. Requires the Department of Human Services to contract with nonprofit organizations to provide shelters for homeless youth. Requires the Department of Human Services to submit a report to the Legislature before the Regular Session of 2025. Appropriates funds.
  • HB2512 HD2 SD2 CD2 permits recipients of accommodations or services from an ohana zone site to request a ninety-day extension of the accommodations or services. Expands regulatory exemptions for ohana zones pilot program contracts. Extends the sunset date for the ohana zones pilot program to 6/30/2026. Appropriates funds for the ohana zones pilot program.

Environment and climate change

  • SB2283 SD2 HD1 CD1 requires the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute to conduct a study to examine the potential for the production and use of renewable hydrogen in the State and the potential role of renewable hydrogen in achieving a local, affordable, reliable, and decarbonized energy system and economy. Requires a report to the Legislature.
  • SB2511 SD2 HD2 CD1 expands the renewable energy technologies income tax credit to include firm renewable energy systems and long-duration renewable energy storage systems. Caps the amount of credit that may be claimed by a taxpayer and the total amount of tax credits for certain firm renewable energy systems and long-duration renewable energy storage systems that may be claimed in a taxable year. Specifies that the income tax credit is available for eligible systems that are placed in service before Jan. 1, 2046.
  • HB1672 HD1 SD2 expands the purpose and rationale for which counties may create special improvement districts to include environmental research, restoration, and maintenance; natural resource management; and natural hazard mitigation to improve environmental conditions and provide community benefits. Effective July 1, 2022.


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