Maui News

Work against human trafficking among new state measures by Hawaiʻi women’s caucus

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WLC dedicated its legislative package to former Maui state senator and WLC co-convener Roz Baker.

Bipartisan members of Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus discussed Wednesday its legislative package to help improve the lives of Hawaiʻi’s women, children and families, which include work against human trafficking, bolstering custody evaluator plans and establishing a childcare accreditation program.

The caucus collaborated with the YWCA of O’ahu to present the legislation, and state Rep. Linda Ichiyama hailed the WLC measures in a news release.

“Ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children remains one of our top priorities,” she said. “I urge my colleagues to listen to the community voices and support these important measures in the upcoming session.”


The package includes the following five bills and one resolution:

  • HB579/SB235 – Establishes a Human Trafficking Prevention Program in the Attorney General’s office, requires reporting on commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  • HB580/SB236 – Expands the victim-counselor privilege under the Hawaiʻi rules of Evidence to include confidential advocates employed by the University of Hawaiʻi.
  • HB581/SB237 – Require custody evaluators to complete a domestic violence training course every three years.
  • HB582/SB238 – Extends the time to file a civil action for childhood sexual abuse to age 50 and allows the court to order a party to undergo trauma-informed training.
  • HB583/SB239 – Establishes a childcare accreditation program within Department of Human Services (DHS) and extends deadline for Preschool Open Doors Program for providers to become accredited.
  • HCR7 – Requests DHS Med-QUEST Division to expand types of providers allowed to provide lactation consultant services.

This year, WLC dedicates its legislative package to former Maui state senator and WLC co-convener Roz Baker.

“Our former colleague Roz Baker was a champion for women’s rights and a staunch advocate for our caucus here at the Legislature for over two decades,” Maui state Sen. Lynn DeCoite said in the release. “We look forward to continuing her legacy as we aim to implement policy that improves the quality of life for all women and families.”


The Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus co-conveners for 2023-2024 are Senators Michelle Kidani (D-18, Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Crestview, Waikele, portion of Waipahu, Village Park, Royal Kunia) and Lynn DeCoite (D-7, Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe and Molokini), and Representatives Linda Ichiyama (D-31, Salt Lake, Āliamanu, Makalapa, Pearl Harbor) and Lauren Matsumoto (D-38, Portions of Mililani and Waipio Acres, Mililani Mauka). In the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, there are 19 women Representatives out of 51 members, and 8 women Senators out of 25 members.

See the entire 2023 Women’s Legislative Caucus Package, visit the state website.


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