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S U N DAY 5/5/19




State lawmakers adjourned the 2019 session on Thursday after reviewing hundreds of bills on issues ranging from homelessness to legalization of marijuana. Here is the status of some of the most significant measures. Bills that have been passed have been sent to Gov. David Ige for his signature or veto. The governor also can allow bills to become law without his signature. Lawmakers can override the governor’s veto with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.

State budget

HB 2 HD1 SD1 CD1 & HB 1259 SD1 CD1

Would authorize $16 billion in general treasury spending on government operations and $3.4 billion in construction spending over the two years be­ ginning July 1. Additional spending is contained in dozens of appropriations bills.

Election recounts

SB 216 SD2 HD1 CD1

Would require an auto­ matic recount of votes when the difference be­ tween two candidates is 100 votes or one­quar­ ter of 1% of the total number of votes cast, whichever is greater.

Vote by mail

HB 1248 HD1 SD2 CD1

Would enact voting by mail for all elections beginning in 2020, while requiring a limited number of voter service centers to remain open to allow for same­day registration and voting and to receive personal delivery of mail­in ballots, among other services.

Eruption aid

HB 1180 HD1 (Act 9)

Provides a $20 million grant and $40 million in loans to Hawaii County to help fund the recovery from last year’s eruption of Kilauea Volcano.

FAILEDthe recovery from last year’s eruption of Kilauea Volcano. Office vacancies Would have required a special

Office vacancies

Would have required a special election be held to fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate and state Legislature that occur when someone resigns or dies during their term. Currently, the governor chooses a replacement from a list of nominees submitted by the respec­ tive political party.

Capitol security

Would have required the state Department of Accounting and General Services to increase security at the state Capitol, including vehic­ ular barriers and security screening equipment.


Would have expanded the period that former state legislators and executive branch employees are restricted from lobbying from one year to two years, and banned behind­ the­scenes lobbying activities.

Tax returns

Would have required candidates for president, vice president, governor, lieutenant governor and mayor to disclose their federal income tax returns before the can­ didates can be listed on

a general election ballot.

Would have prohibited electors from voting for

candidates for president and vice president who did not disclose their taxes.


Would have prohibited the governor and mayors from maintaining outside employment or earning outside compensation while in office beginning two months after their terms of office begin.

Ranked voting

Would have required ranked­choice voting in certain elections.

Records exemption

Would have allowed government officials

to cite a deliberative process privilege in withholding the release of public records. The measure was introduced

in response to a Hawaii

Supreme Court decision that found this exemp­ tion did not exist in state law, contrary to rulings

by Hawaii’s Office of Information Practices.

Staggered hours

Would have allowed public employees the option of working staggered work hours to help reduce traffic and commute times.

TAXES PASSED Vacation rentals
Vacation rentals

SB 1292 SD2 HD3

Would require transient vacation rental com­ panies such as Airbnb to act as tax collection agents for the state, and would require the platforms to identify the rental properties and their owners to the state Department of Taxation.

REIT deduction

SB 301 SD1 HD1 CD1

Would eliminate the state tax deductions for dividends paid out by real estate investment trusts, effectively requir­ ing the trusts to begin paying Hawaii corporate income taxes.

Rental car tax

SB 162 SD2 HD3 CD1

Would increase the state tax surcharge on rental cars from $3 per day to $5 per day for Hawaii residents. Visitors without a Hawaii driver’s license already pay $5 per day. Would increase the tax take for the state Highway Fund from the rental car tax from about $50 million a year now to about $80 million a year. That fund pays for construc­ tion and maintenance of state highways.

Movie tax credit

SB 33 SD3 HD 2 CD1

Would make the motion picture, digital media and film production income tax credit more generous by increasing the amount of credits that can be claimed each year from $35 mil­ lion to $50 million.

Resort fee tax

SB 380 SD1 (Act 20)

Imposes the state hotel room tax on resort fees that are calculated separately from the advertised hotel room rate.

Online tax

SB 495 SD2 HD1

Would impose the state excise tax on transac­ tions by online retailers who are outside the state but do $100,000 worth of business in Ha­ waii, or do 200 or more transactions with people in Hawaii per year.

Estate tax

SB 1361 SD1 (Act 3)

Increases estate taxes for estates in Hawaii valued at more than $10 million for tax purposes.


Vacation registry

Would have prohibited online vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb from accepting a booking for a rental unless it is on the county’s list of approved,

legal units.

Education tax

Would have increased the state general excise tax from 4% to 4.5% to provide funding for the Department of Educa­ tion and the University of Hawaii.

Gas tax increase

Would have increased the state gasoline tax, weight tax and vehicle registration fees to collect an extra $40 million a year for road maintenance and other highway projects. Proposed by Gov. David Ige’s administration.

Conveyance tax

Would have increased the conveyance tax rate for sales of residential investment properties worth $2 million or more.

Carbon tax

Would have created a

new carbon emissions tax on coal, oil and other fossil fuels. The new tax would replace the state gasoline tax as well as the barrel tax on oil shipped into the state.

Cigarette tax

Would have increased the state tax on ciga­ rettes to $4.20 per pack.

Landlord credit

Would have offered landlords an income tax credit for renting to families that earn less than 80% of median income.

New preschools

SB 78 SD2 HD 2

Would provide more than $1.3 million to open 10 new preschool classrooms in public

schools. Gov. David Ige originally sought more than $3 million to open

22 additional preschool


Youth suicide

SB 383 SD2 HD1 CD1

Would require the De­ partment of Education to establish a mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention program to identify at­risk students and prevention procedures.

Student health

HB 250 HD2 SD1 CD1

Would appropriate about $750,000 to implement, maintain and expand the Hawaii Keiki:

Healthy and Ready to Learn program, which provides health services to K­12 students in public schools.

UH Regents

HB 398 HD1 SD2 CD1

Would reduce the Uni­ versity of Hawaii Board of Regents from 15 to

11 members.

Children in need

SB 388 SD2 HD2 CD1

Would establish a work­ ing group to create a system in which children

who live in stressful envi­ ronments and face aca­ demic challenges can be evaluated and assessed. Would examine lowering the age for alternative or vocational school from

16 to 14 years.

HINET funding

SB 50 SD2 HD1

Would appropriate $455,000 a year to hire seven full­time staff for the Hawaii Nutrition Em­ ployment and Training Program, which helps low­income college students apply for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and provides reimbursement for other educational and living expenses.


School starts

Would have required the Department of Education to organize a task force to study the implications of stagger­ ing school start times.

Teacher housing

Would have provid­ ed housing subsidy vouchers to teachers employed by the De­ partment of Education who teach in hard­to­fill schools. The housing vouchers were to be used to cover rent or mortgage payments.

UH Promise

Would have expanded the University of Hawaii Promise Program to its four­year institutions. The program now provides scholarships to cover unmet direct costs for students at UH commu­ nity colleges.

Board of Education

Would have returned the appointed Board of Education to an elected board.



Would have limited standardized tests at public schools to those required by state and federal law and provide parents with an option to opt out of others.

Student union

Would have allowed graduate student assis­ tants employed by the University of Hawaii to collectively bargain.



Would have estab­ lished the Three to Six Out­of­School program to provide care and continued learning for K­12 students in public schools after the end of the school day.

Community service

Would have made community service a requirement to graduate from high school.



SB 1405 SD2 HD2 CD2

Would require public school teachers to confiscate electronic cigarettes from students who are younger than 21 years old.

Crosswalk safety

SB 693 SD2 HD1 CD1

Would prohibit pedes­ trians from starting to cross a roadway once the crosswalk count­ down timer begins.



HB 710 HD1 SD1 CD1

Would prohibit employ­ ment discrimination based on “reproduc­ tive health decisions,” meaning the use of any legal drug, device or medical service intended to prevent or terminate a pregnancy, or the use of any assisted reproduc­ tive technology.

Drunken driving

HB 703 HD1 SD2 CD1

Would increase the penalties for people con­ victed for driving drunk three times within 10 years, making that a fel­ ony offense. Those who

are convicted would be sentenced to a prison term of up to five years, or be sentenced to five years probation with a minimum of 10 days in jail and revocation of their licenses for three to five years.


Minimum wage

Senate bill would have

increased the current state minimum wage

of $10.10 per hour in

steps to $15 in 2023, and offered an income tax credit to small businesses to offset the

impact. House bill would have increased the min­ imum to $15 per hour

in 2024, but also set a

lower minimum wage for employees who receive employer­paid health benefits.

County wages

Would have authorized

each county to establish


higher than the state

minimum wage.

Retirement savings

Would have created

a retirement savings

program for private­sec­ tor employees who don’t otherwise have access to a savings plan provid­ ed by their employer.

Zipper toll

Would have required Department of Trans­ portation to implement a single­occupant vehicle access fee to use the Zipper Lane.

Sports betting

Would have legalized sports betting in Hawaii.

Family leave

Would have extended the Hawaii family leave law to include care for grandchildren. The law requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide up to four weeks of paid or unpaid leave each year.

Sexual harassment

Would have prohibited written nondisclosure agreements involving sexual assault and sexual harassment, and prohibited employers from retaliating against an employee for disclos­ ing or discussing sexual harassment or sexual assault.

Check cashing


minimum wage that

Would have required check cashing com­ panies to register with the state and offer voluntary payment plans to indebted customers to allow for payments of no more than 5% of the customer’s gross monthly pay.


Would have created state rules for transpor­ tation network compa­ nies operating in Hawaii, and would no longer allow the counties to regulate the companies.

Pickup passengers

Would have prohibited passengers from riding

in the beds of pickup



SAFETY PASSED Marijuana crimes
Marijuana crimes

HB 1383 HD2 SD1 CD1

Would decriminalize possession of three grams of marijuana or less, which would be punishable by a fine of


‘Red flag’ law

SB 1466 SD2 HD2

Would create a process for law enforcement or family members to use to obtain a court order preventing people from accessing firearms or

ammunition if they pose

a danger of causing

injury to themselves or others.

Asset forfeiture

HB 748 HD2 SD2

Would prohibit civil

asset forfeiture except in cases where the prop­ erty owner has been convicted of a felony.

If there is no conviction,

the seized property must be returned.

Red light cameras

SB 663 SD2 HD1 CD1

Would establish a committee to plan for the use of traffic cameras to identify and fine motor­ ists who run red lights.

Prison oversight

HB 1552 HD2 SD2 CD1

Would establish a correctional system oversight commission with authority to set population limits at each

correctional facility, in­ vestigate complaints and oversee the transition from a punitive model to

a rehabilitative approach.

Bail reform

SB 192 SD1 HD2 CD1

Would authorize defendants in custody to petition a court for unsecured bail.

Lost firearms

HB 720 HD 1 (Act 23)

Requires gun owners

to report lost, stolen or destroyed firearms. FAILED
to report lost, stolen or
destroyed firearms.

Legalize marijuana

Would have repealed all criminal penalties in con­ nection with marijuana

except for the prohibition

on furnishing marijuana to a minor.

Child sex abuse

Would have repealed

all limitations on the

time periods in which

a survivor of childhood

sexual abuse may file a civil lawsuit.

Clergy sex abuse

Would have urged the state attorney general to conduct a statewide investigation of allega­ tions of sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church or any other church.

Police misconduct

Would have required the release of names of police officers who are suspended or terminat­ ed for misconduct after the grievance process is complete. This is already required of other public employees.

Felony citations

Would have allowed police to issue citations instead of making arrests for nonviolent class C felonies, misdemeanors, petty misdemeanors and violations.

Sex offenders

Would have required adults arrested for felony sexual offenses to pro­ vide DNA samples.

Sanctuary state

Would have prohibited state and county law en­ forcement agencies from complying with federal immigration detainers or honoring requests for nonpublic information absent a warrant signed by a judge.


Would have allowed people to be charged with manslaughter when

they knowingly distribute

a dangerous drug in

any amount and another person dies as a result of ingesting that drug.

Speedy trial

Would have created

a legal right of victims of sexual assault and

witnesses of sexual

offenses to a speedy trial

in criminal cases.


Sugary drinks

SB 549 SD1 HD2

Would require restau­ rants that sell children’s meals that include a beverage to make the default beverage a healthy drink, such as water, lowfat milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

Genderless IDs

HB 1165 HD2 SD2

Would allow residents the option of having an “X” for their gender on a driver’s license and state

identification card.


HB 297 HD1 SD1

Would add the Aedes aegypti mosquito with the Wolbachia bacteria to the state’s animal import list. The mosquito would hope­ fully suppress existing


Mental illness

SB 1124 SD2 HD1 CD1 & SB 567 SD2 HD2 CD1

Would make it easier to obtain court orders requiring mentally ill persons to undergo outpatient treatment. Appropriates $100,000 for providing legal assistance with petitions for assisted community treatment and related court proceedings.

Kupuna care

HB 465 HD1 SD2 & SB 1025 SD1 HD2

Would increase funding for the kupuna care program which provides

services such as chores, meals, personal care and transportation to seniors, and requires the Executive Office on Aging to develop a plan to maximize the number of caregivers served by the program.



Would have banned the sale of flavored tobacco products.

Tax relief

Would have eliminated the Hawaii income tax for the state’s poorest residents. Currently Ha­ waii taxes residents with annual taxable earnings of $4,800 or less than 1.4% of their incomes.

Food tax credit

Would have increased

the refundable food ex­ cise tax credit to an un­ specified amount. That credit, which is designed to offset the impact of the state excise tax on food, is now worth up to $110 for the poorest Hawaii families.

Dental insurance

Would have restored adult dental health benefits to Medicaid beneficiaries.

Pot and opioids

Would have allowed marijuana to be pre­ scribed for the treatment of opioid addiction and other substance abuse disorders.

Pot for anxiety

Would have added anxiety disorders to the growing list of medical conditions for which marijuana can be pre­ scribed.

Cigarette ban

Would have banned the sale of cigarettes in Hawaii by progressively raising the minimum age to purchase them to 100 years old in 2024.


Would have allowed parents and guardians to cite conscientious beliefs as the basis for gaining an exemption for their child from vaccina­ tion and immunization requirements. Currently state law allows objec­ tions based on medical and religious reasons.

Fluoridated water

Would have required public water to be fluo­

ridated, which improves dental health.


Would have prohibited the use of glyphosate, an herbicide, within

100 feet of a school during school hours.

Ray protection

HB 808 HD1 SD2 CD1

Would prohibit know­ ingly taking, possessing, abusing or entangling a ray in state marine waters, with fines of up to $10,000 for repeat offenders. The bill origi­ nally included sharks.

Rapid ohia death

HB 1548 HD1 SD2 CD1

Would appropriate $750,000 for next year to combat rapid ohia death. The original bill proposed spending more than $2 million.

Charger rebate

HB 1585 HD1 SD2 CD1

Would authorize the Public Utilities Com­ mission to administer a rebate program to those who install eligible new electric vehicle charging systems or upgrade existing ones.

Vehicle surcharge

SB 409 SD2 HD1 CD1

Would impose a $50 surcharge for the annual registration renewal of electric vehicles.

Albizia trees

SB 464 SD2 (Act 13)

Allows a property owner to enter a vacant, privately owned and di­ rectly adjacent property to control or remove an albizia tree to minimize its risk to human health.

FAILED Waste disposal
Waste disposal

Would have updated the Department of Health’s waste management goals, including reduc­ ing solid waste before disposal by 70% and achieving source reduc­ tion by 50% by 2030.

Sea level rise

Would have required sea level rise projections to be included in new plans and updates to existing plans created under the Hawaii State Planning Act as well as the plans of the Public Utilities Commission.

Water permits

Would have extended by seven years the deadline for converting short­term permits to use public water into long­term leases.

Solar projects

Would have authorized the development of utility­ scale solar projects on prime agricultural lands.

Ala Wai Canal

Would have provided local matching funds for an Army Corps of Engineers flood control plan for the Ala Wai Canal to satisfy a federal requirement that Hawaii provide $125 million in matching funds for the $345 million project. Gov. David Ige has said he has the authority to provide the near­term funding for the project without legislative approval.

Sea level planning

Would have prohibited development in areas projected to be signifi­ cantly affected by sea level rise.

Managed retreat

Would have required the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commis­ sion to decide which areas should implement armoring or managed retreat in response to sea level rise.


Would have prohibited the approval of any agreement that allows the use of coal for elec­ tricity production.

Marine debris

Would have made the counties responsible for removing and disposing of marine debris.

Polystyrene ban

Would have prohibited restaurants statewide from serving food in polystyrene foam con­ tainers.

Straw ban

Would have prohibited full­service restau­ rants from providing single­use straws to cus­ tomers unless requested by the consumer.


Local housing

HB 820 HD1 SD1 CD1

Would require the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. to study and plan a potential ALOHA homes program to develop low­cost homes for sale to Hawaii residents on

state­owned lands within

a half mile from public transit stations.

Ohana Zones

HB 257 HD2 SD1 CD1

Would allow the Ohana Zones program, which was created to provide temporary housing and services to the home­ less, to utilize private land. Would extend the time to implement the program to 2023.

Housing services

SB 471 SD2 HD1 CD1

Would appropriate

$10.8 million for each

of the next two years to

fund the Housing First program, rapid re­hous­ ing program, family assessment centers and homeless outreach and civil legal services. The bill initially proposed spending $16.5 million per year.

FAILEDThe bill initially proposed spending $16.5 million per year. Ohana expansion Would have expanded the Ohana

Ohana expansion

Would have expanded the Ohana Zones program to provide temporary housing and services to the homeless from at least three to at least six sites on Oahu and two on each of the neighbor islands

if the program has the capacity.

Renter’s credit

Would have boosted the renter’s credit that low­income residents can claim on their taxes, increasing the amount of the credit per qualified exemption from $50 to $150. The credit has not been increased since


Mobile clinics

Would have provided funding for two mobile health clinics to serve homeless people, one of which would have oper­ ated on Hawaii island.

Heading home

Would have established

a program to help home­

less people reunite with

family members in their home states.

Beach hotline

Would have required signs to be posted in parks and beaches from Kalaeloa to Makaha with phone numbers for agencies that assist homeless people.

Landlord support

Would have provided various financial incen­ tives to private property owners who rent to homeless people.



Would have established

a transitional homeless

shelter of micro units below the Nimitz Viaduct

or other areas on Oahu.

Nonprofit help

Would have established

a three­year pilot pro­

gram to allow nonprofit organizations to provide housing to homeless people, including tem­ porary encampments on property owned by the organizations.

Rent supplement

Would have appropri­ ated funds for the Rent Supplement Program, which would provide “shallow” subsidies for low­income households who are nearly self­ sufficient.

Mental health

and homeless

Would have had the Department of Human Services design a pilot project to provide shelter and mental health treatment to certain homeless individuals.

Elderly housing

Would have established

a long­term rental

assistance pilot program

for people more than 60 years old who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.