Hawaiʻi Minimum Wage Hike Advances in Legislature

April 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips


Photo by Wendy Osher.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A Senate bill that seeks an increase in the state’s minimum wage, advanced out of the House on Tuesday, ahead of tomorrow’s second crossover deadline.

The bill seeks yearly increases over four years beginning next year to: $7.75 per hour in 2015, $8.50 in 2016, $9.25 in 2017, and $10 in 2018.

The bill also seeks an increase in the tip credit to 50 cents per hour beginning in 2015, and 75 cents per hour beginning in 2016; provided that by Jan. 1, 2015, the combined amount the employee receives in wages and tips is at least $7 more than the applicable minimum wage.

The bill was among a list of more than 150 Senate bills on a variety of issues that was advanced by the House on Tuesday. Other items that advanced include: a bill that makes kindergarten attendance mandatory for five-year-old children in the state; a measure that establishes Alicia’s Law to combat internet crimes against children; legislation that appropriates funds to establish, staff and operate a Hawaiʻi Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Site; and a bill that amends bill to prohibit reality television programs from qualifying for the state’s Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production Income Tax Credit.  

House members released the following list, highlighting some of the key senate-originating measures that advanced for further consideration:

Education: 

  • SB2424, SD2, HD1: requires the state Department of Education in conjunction with other state departments and agencies to develop a master strategy for cooling all public schools facilities. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds to fund projects that demonstrate efficient methods to air-condition classrooms.
  • SB2516, SD2, HD1: appropriates funds to the State Public Charter School Commission to support its facilities pilot project, based, in part, on the need and performance of charter schools.
  • SB2768, SD2, HD2: makes kindergarten attendance mandatory for five-year-old children in the state.

Housing and Homeless:

  • SB2533, SD1, HD1: addresses Hawaiʻi’s affordable housing needs through appropriations of fund and the issuance of general obligation bonds.
  • SB2442, SD1, HD1: helps meet the current and projected needs for affordable housing in Hawaiʻi by appropriating monies to the Rental Housing Trust Fund for the construction of micro units, family units, and elder housing units to be leased to individuals and families meeting certain income requirements.

Kupuna:

  • SB2346, SD1, HD2 provides necessary services and support programs for the health and well-being of Hawaii’s older population by appropriating funds for the Kupuna Care Program, Aging and Disability Resource Center and Healthy Aging Partnership Program; and establishing a public education and awareness campaign on long-term care. Majority Package.
  • SB2345, SD1, HD1 protects Hawaii’s kūpuna from financial fraud and abuse by appropriating funds for the operation of the investor education and other related financial education programs targeted at kūpuna within the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Majority Package.
  • SB2399, SD2, HD1 authorizes the High Technology Development Corporation to establish a geriatric research and technology park that will serve the emerging elderly population and stimulate economic growth and appropriates funds for the project.

Transparency in Government:

  • SB2629, SD1, HD1: provides greater transparency in lobbying activities by requiring persons who engage in lobbying during any special session to file a statement of expenditures with the Hawaiʻi State Ethics Commission within 30 days after adjournment sine die of the special session.
  • SB2634, SD1, HD2: requires individuals who spend more than $750 on lobbying during a statement period to itemize each expenditure in certain categories.

Health and Health Connector:

  • SB2470, SD1, HD1: amends the functions, operations, organization, and oversight of the Hawaiʻi Health Connector.
  • SB2866, SD1, HD1: makes an emergency appropriation to provide funds for the functions of the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation and its regions.
  • SB2434, SD2, HD1: specifies additional duties for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Services Coordinator position in the Executive Office on Aging and appropriates funds to establish a full-time position to assist the coordinator with information and referral, counseling, education, support groups, and safety services.
  • SB2054, SD3, HD3: requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders up to a maximum benefit amount for certain individuals, and requires the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization to contract for the performance of an actuarial analysis of the projected costs of providing insurance coverage for screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
  • SB2495, SD3, HD1: prohibits the use of electronic smoking devices in enclosed public areas and other specified locations.

Public Safety:

  • SB2687, SD1, HD2: extends from two to four years after April 24, 2012, the statutory period during which victims of child sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against the victim’s abuser and certain legal entities, including the State or its political subdivisions.
  • SB702, SD2, HD2: establishes Alicia’s Law to combat internet crimes against children by instituting an Internet Crimes Against Children Fee to be assessed against a defendant for each felony or misdemeanor conviction and creating an Internet Crimes Against Children Special Fund to train and equip, or otherwise enable, local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute internet crimes against children and assist groups working directly to fight internet crimes against children.
  • SB2729, SD2, HD1: amends the fine structure and amounts for violations of the prohibition against operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device in the state.
  • SB2315, SD1, HD1: appropriates funds to the state Department of Public Safety to provide substance abuse treatment to inmates of the Hālawa Correctional Facility.
  • SB2308, SD1, HD1: appropriates funds to the Department of Public Safety to provide for programs and services for children of incarcerated parents and to assist with family reunification.

Environment and Invasive Species: 

  • SB2343, HD1: protects Hawaiʻi’s environment and economy and the health and lifestyle of its people by appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014-15 to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for projects undertaken in accordance with the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council for prevention, control, outreach, research and planning. Majority Package.
  • SB2920, SD2, HD1: protects Hawaiʻi’s environment, agriculture and economy, and the health of Hawaiʻi’s residents and visitors from the devastating effects of invasive little fire ants by creating a pilot project to develop model strategies for controlling and eradicating the little fire ant, developing a canine detection pilot program, and implementing a statewide public awareness and education campaign.
  • SB3024, SD2, HD1: increases financial resources to support conservation and natural resource protection programs in the state by allocating funds from the Transient Accommodations Tax to support beach restoration, state parks, the Hawaiʻi Statewide Trail and Access Program and the Conservation and Resource Enforcement Special Fund.
  • SB3121, SD1, HD1: requires legislative approval of any exchange of public land for private land by majority vote of both houses of the Legislature.
  • SB3065, SD1, HD1: appropriates funds for the state Department of Budget and Finance to investigate and, if appropriate, execute an exchange of existing state land for certain parcels of land currently owned by Dole food company, Inc., that contain important watershed, forest reserve and agricultural land.
  • SB2110, SD2, HD1: commits and restores appropriate staffing levels so the Department of Agriculture can properly administer and regulates pesticides in accordance with the Hawaii Pesticides Law.
  • SB3036, SD2, HD1: addresses erosion on Oʻahu’s North shore by requiring the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program to create a North Shore Beach Management Plan for the area stretching from the Kawailoa to Waialeʻe ahupuaʻa and appropriating funds for the development of the plan.
  • SB2731, SD2, HD2: enables the operation of car-sharing companies which represents a green transportation innovation that can significantly reduce miles traveled, oil imports, greenhouse gases, and household transportation costs, in the state by creating a car-sharing vehicle surcharge tax.

Agriculture:

  • SB2175, SD2, HD2: authorizes the dean of the University of Hawaiʻi College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to establish a two-year industrial hemp phyto-remediation and biofuel research program.
  • SB2110, SD2, HD1: appropriates funds to facilitate increased pesticide education and regulation.

Economic Development and Tourism:

  • SB718, SD2, HD1: supports long-term economic growth by the State by appropriating funds to the Hawaiʻi Strategic Development Corporation to continue the HI Growth Initiative. Also, appropriates funds to perform studies and analysis relating to the establishment of one or more facilities on Hawaiʻi Island for quarantine operations.
  • SB2968, SD2, HD2: establishes a temporary income tax credit for qualified hotel construction and renovation costs.
  • SB2079, SD2, HD1 amends the Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production Income Tax Credit by (1) requiring a film production to comply with all applicable statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations of the federal, state, and county governments and secure all necessary film permit approvals with the appropriate state or county agency if film production takes place on state or county property; (2) prohibiting production costs that have been financed with state funds from qualifying for the tax credit beginning July 1, 2014; and (3) prohibiting reality television programs from qualifying for the tax credit.
  • SB2583, SD1, HD1: appropriates funds, contingent on a dollar-for-dollar match of funds by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for the purpose of funding an engineering assessment of the proposed venture between NASA and the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems to establish a laser optical communications ground station in the state.
  • SB3053, SD2, HD1: appropriates funds to establish, staff and operate a Hawaiʻi Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Site. Establishes a chief operating officer position for the test site and an advisory board to oversee and manage operations.

Energy:

  • SB2658, SD3, HD2: relating to solar energy on agricultural land. Complement the uses of utility scale solar energy generation and local food production on agricultural land with an overall productivity rating of Class B or C even if percentage of acreage limits are exceeded, by requiring a special use permit for the solar energy facility.
  • SB2198, SD1, HD1: creates a Renewable Energy Fuels Task Force within the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to perform a feasibility study and make recommendations on renewable energy strategies.

Fiscal Initiatives:

  • SB2829, SD1, HD1: appropriates general funds to recapitalize the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund or “Rainy Day” Fund, to help rebuild the State’s depleted fiscal reserves and ensure ongoing State financial stability.

Native Hawaiian Issues:

  • SB3122, SD2, HD2: authorizes the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to pursue authorization to conduct residential development and to impose association fees on certain parcels of land in the Kakaʻako Makai area that were transferred to OHA, as part of the settlement of claims related to public land trust revenues.
  • SB2953, SD1, HD3: allocates to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands a to be determined percent of the royalties received by the State from geothermal resources located on lands under the jurisdiction of the department.

Other:

  • SB1007, SD2, HD2: increases liability protections for the State and counties by extending the conclusive presumption for legally adequate warning to include dangerous non-natural conditions on unimproved lands and makes permanent the liability protections based on posting warnings signs regarding outdoor recreation on public lands by Act 82, Session Laws of Hawaiʻi 2003.
  • SB2026, SD1, HD2: establishes the offense of cruelty to animals by slaughtering or trafficking pet animals for human consumption as a misdemeanor.

House members say a majority of the bills that advanced will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures.  The committees will then work to determine which of the measures will be presented for final consideration.

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