Hawaiʻi House adjourns, prioritizes financial relief and support of local families
The Hawaiʻi House of Representatives officially adjourned sine die on Thursday, marking the end of the 32nd legislative session. Throughout the past four months, House leaders said the chamber made significant progress on the priority areas of affordable housing, financial relief for low-income families, mental health services, and protecting Hawaiʻi’s natural resources.
“The Legislature delivered priority legislation that provides financial relief and support for local families,” said Speaker Scott K. Saiki (D-25, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, Downtown) in a news release.
“I would like to thank the hard work and collaboration of my colleagues to build more affordable housing, provide financial relief to working families, provide mental health resources, and protect our natural environment to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” said House Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura (D-15, Hā‘ena, Wainiha, Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Keālia, Kāpa‘a, portion of Wailuā, Kawaihau).
On closing day, the House passed the final version of the state budget and priority fiscal bills that include funding for the state’s critical programs and infrastructure. The measures are now prepared to become law upon Governor Josh Green M.D.’s signature.
“This budget represents a responsible balance between the needs of today and building a strong foundation for tomorrow. We look forward to working through the interim to continue discussions with committee chairs, departments, and others involved to continue refining the budgets of all departments,” said House Committee on Finance Chair Kyle T. Yamashita (D-12 Upcountry Maui).
In addition, the House prioritized ethics reform measures introduced on behalf of 33 recommendations made in the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct (CISC) Final Report, convened last session as part of the House’s ongoing commitment to transparency, accountability, and improving public trust. The legislature also passed good government bills proposed by the State Ethics Commission, Campaign Spending Commission, Office of Elections, the Office of the Attorney General, and Office of the Honolulu Prosecutor.
“The House reaffirms that ethics reform legislation sets the tone in ensuring the highest standards of integrity among our elected officials. It reinforces our commitment to transparency, accountability, and improving public trust,” said House Committee on Judiciary Chair David A. Tarnas (D-8, North & South Kohala).
House leaders provided the following 2023 legislative highlights:
- HB1397 HD1 SD2 CD1 – Establishes a supportive housing pilot program in the Statewide Office on Homelessness and Housing Solutions.
- HB300 HD1 SD1 CD1 – Deposits $100 Million in FY24 and $180 Million in FY25 into the Rental Housing Revolving Fund.
- HB300 HD1 SD1 CD1 – Appropriates $170 Million to plan and build teacher housing at Mililani, Waipahū, Nānākuli, Koʻolaupoko, and on the Neighbor Islands.
Tax Relief for Local Familes
- HB954 HD2 SD2 CD1 – Increases the household and dependent care services tax credit for five years. Increases the refundable earned income tax credit for five years. Increases the income thresholds and credit amounts of the refundable food/excise tax credit for five years.
- HB300 HD1 SD1 CD1– Appropriates $100 million for the Hawaiʻi Green Infrastructure Authority to provide solar loans to low-income families.
- HB948 HD2 SD2 CD1 – Establishes a two-year child and adolescent crisis mobile outreach team pilot program on Oʻahu and one neighbor island site to expand existing crisis response services.
- HB950 HD1 SD1 CD1 – Authorizes psychiatrists or advanced practice registered nurses, after examination of a person for assisted community treatment indication, to request assistance from the attorney general to file an assisted community treatment petition
- HB907 HD2 SD2 – Temporarily allows for the reimbursement of services provided through telehealth via an interactive telecommunications system and two-way, real-time audio-only communications in certain circumstances.
- HB953 HD1 SD1 CD1 – Requires DLNR to develop and publish a website and mobile application that includes the application processes, including a means of collecting any fees, for a permit, license, or reservation needed to conduct recreational and commercial activities in the State. Requires DLNR to make available existing application processes in a digital format to be used on the website and mobile application. Appropriates funds for the establishment of the website and mobile application.
- HB300 HD1 SD1 CD1 – $194 million to protect manage, and restore natural resources, including native forests, native plants and animals, aquatic resources, coastal lands, and freshwater resources.
- HB300 HD1 SD1 CD1 – $44 million in Capital Improvement Projects for state parks, public land management, and conservation activities, statewide.
- HB300 HD1 SD1 CD1 – $60 million for boating and ocean resources renovations and improvements statewide.
- SB1230 SD2 HD1 CD1 – Prohibits firearms in certain locations and premises. Requires possession and disclosure of a license to carry. Prohibits leaving an unsecured firearm in a vehicle unattended. Prohibits consuming or being under the influence of alcohol, an intoxicating liquor, or a controlled substance when carrying a firearm. Prohibits carrying or possessing firearms on certain private property without express authorization. Requires annual reports from the department of the attorney general on carry licenses. Amends the requirements for, and revocation of, firearms permits and licenses. Amends the disqualification of persons from owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm. Expands the qualified immunity for health care providers who provide information on firearms applicants to include physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses.
- HB90 – Amends section 11-342, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, to increase transparency by requiring candidate committees and noncandidate committees to file fundraiser notices regardless of the price or suggested contribution for attending the function.
- HB91 HD1 SD1 – Deems the right to a contested case hearing waived if a person fails to request the hearing within thirty days after receipt of the Campaign Spending Commission’s preliminary determination. Allows the Commission to file its order in the First Circuit Court for confirmation as a civil judgment. (SD1)
- HB92 SD1 – Increases the amount of fine from $1,000 to $5,000 that may be assessed against a noncandidate committee making only independent expenditures that has received at least 1 contribution of more than $10,000, or spent more than $10,000 in an election period, for campaign spending law violations. Allows the Campaign Spending Commission to order the fine be up to 3 times the amount of the unlawful contribution or expenditure, and to order that the payment of the fine assessed against a noncandidate committee, or any portion thereof, be paid from the personal funds of the candidate or the funds of the noncandidate committee or if the noncandidate committee cannot pay, the personal funds of the candidate or officers of the noncandidate committee. (SD1)
- HB93 – Amends sections 11-322 and 11-333, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, to require the Campaign Spending Commission (“Commission”) to publish on its website the names of candidate and persons who qualify as noncandidate committees who fail to file an organizational report or a corrected organizational report with the Commission.
- HB97 HD1 SD1 – Requires the Campaign Spending Commission to serve preliminary determinations of probable cause via first-class mail. Establishes a presumption of receipt when mailed to the address contained in the candidate or committee organizational report. (SD1)
- HB99 – Limits to $100 the total amount of cash a candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee may accept from a single person during each election period.
- Limits to $100 the total amount of cash a candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee may accept from a single person during each election period.
- HB137 HD1 – Beginning 1/1/2025, requires the statement of expenditures filed by lobbyists and other persons who engage in lobbying activities to include certain information on the identity of the legislative or administrative action that was commented on, supported by, or opposed by the person filing the statement during the statement period. (HD1)
- HB138 – Requires the State Ethics Commission to establish and administer a lobbyist training course and makes the lobbyist training course mandatory for all lobbyists.
- HB141 HD1 SD1 – Beginning 1/1/2025, requires each state legislator to include within the legislator’s disclosure of financial interests the names of certain lobbyists with whom the legislator has a relationship. Effective 1/1/2025. (SD1)
- HB142 – Prohibits lobbyists from making gifts that are prohibited under state ethics law.
- HB710 HD1 SD2 CD1 – Provides that a person commits a class B felony offense of obstruction of justice if the person intentionally influences; obstructs; impedes; or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice by means of force, threat of force, coercion, fraud, or deception.
- HB712 HD1 SD1 – Encourages boards to maintain recordings of board meetings on the board’s website regardless of whether the written minutes of the meeting have been posted. Requires boards to provide the State Archives with a copy of any recording of a board meeting before removing the recording from the board’s website. Requires the written minutes of board meetings to include a link to the electronic audio or video recording, if available online. Effective 10/1/2023.
- HB717 HD1 SD2 CD1 – Prohibits under certain circumstances state employees from appointing, hiring, promoting, or retaining relatives and household members and from making or participating in certain other employment-related decisions and from awarding a contract to or otherwise taking official action on a contract with a business if the employee’s relative or household member is an executive officer of or holds a substantial ownership interest in that business. Imposes administrative fines for violations.
- SB1076 SD2 HD2 CD1 – Requires the Office of Elections to prepare a digital voter information guide; post the guide on its website in compliance with certain accessibility standards; and mail each ballot with a notice that states a voter information guide may be found on its website. Requires the Attorney General and county corporation counsels to draft explanations of proposed constitutional or charter amendment ballot questions and translate them into certain languages for purposes of the digital voter information guide.