CAPWatch Conference Update – Day 4

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
HB 1501 HD2  SD1     DRUG PARAPHERNALIA; POSSESSION AND DELIVERY;CIVIL VIOLATIONS
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1501_HD2_.pdf

The House and Senate agreed on language although the House version had a fine of $100 for the violation and the Senate had “up to $500” for the violation. The effective date was changed to “upon approval”. The House agreed to the Senate version and the bill passed.This bill will now go to the floor for a final vote before it is sent to the Governor. 

JUVENILE JUSTICE
HB 844 HD1 SD1       SAFE PLACES FOR YOUTH PILOT PGM; AT-RISK YOUTH; COORDINATOR; ($)
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB844_HD1_.pdf

The Senate had proposed adding the language from HB 1466 about a Youth Commission into this measure. The House did not agree saying the bill (HB 1466) needed work so they could not agree to insert that language, however, Chair Morikawa of the House Human Services Committee said that she will work on a Youth Commission bill and introduce next session. This bill has an appropriation, so we will see if there is clearance from the money committees.

CONFERENCE RECONVENES TODAY TUESDAY, APRIL 25TH at 9:05 AM

LEAD
HB 1195 HD1  SD1    HOMELESSNESS; APPROPRIATIONS
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1195_SD1_.pdf

Tentative GOOD NEWS! I sat in on the budget conference yesterday and the LEAD appropriation ($200,000) to get the pilot project up and running was put back into the budget! Now it has to pass the final floor vote before it goes to the Governor.  Warning: I have been doing this work for 20 years and I caution myself and all of us to understand that in the last few days of session, anything can happen. I am, however, cautiously optimistic that the legislature sees the value of LEAD for Hawai`i. 

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
SB 895 SD1 HD2       CRIMINAL TRESPASS
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB895_HD2_.pdf

This bill that CAP has been opposing passed yesterday with the House and Senate agreeing on the following amendments: In Section 2, the signs shall be appropriately spaced; in Section 4, language added to say that no convictions shall be a felony or under the habitual property offender statute; and the effective date was changed to “upon approval”.

NOTES FROM THE BUDGET CONFERENCE

LEAD – $800,000 to Dept. of Healthʻs Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) for mental health and substance misuse outreach – $200,000 of this is for the LEAD pilot program

COMMUNITY COURT OUTREACH – Funding to continue this program was put into the budget and will go to the Public Defenderʻs office to be shared with the Prosecutor and the Judiciary.

DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Money for malpractice insurance for doctors in the medical division
  • Lease/rent money for the Narcotics Enforcement Division
  • Money for psychological testing of deputy sheriffs
  • $1.5 million for lease/rent money for the department to move

 HOUSING

  • $3 million for Housing First
  • $1.5 million for homeless housing
  • $250,000 for legal services (ids, jobs, etc.)

JUVENILE JUSTICE – $240,000 appropriation to the Office of Youth Services (donʻt know if this includes $ for HB 844 – will find out today)

KAHO`OLAWE ISLAND RESERVE COMMISSION (KIRC)

  • $1,675,000 for 2018
  • $1,947,000 for 2019

MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM – DOH – Staffing up the program for the opening of dispensaries.

4 Good Resos on Friday 4.21.17

Sorry for the late post…

The following resolutions were schedule for today at 8:00 am by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

www.capitol.hawaii.gov to verify. CAP is in strong support of all four resolutions. 

SEX ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS
HCR 133               URGING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES DEVELOPED BY THE  MALAMA KAKOU PROJECT FOR THE TESTING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS AND REQUESTING AN ANNUAL REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON THE TESTING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS IN THE STATE
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR133_.pdf

PRE-TRIAL TASK FORCE
HCR 134               REQUESTING THE JUDICIARY TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING CRIMINAL PRETRIAL PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES TO MAXIMIZE PUBLIC SAFETY, MAXIMIZE COURT APPEARANCES, AND MAXIMIZE PRETRIAL  RELEASE OF THE ACCUSED AND PRESUMED INNOCENT.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR134_.pdf

EXTENDING HCR 85 TASK FORCE 1 YEAR
HCR 157               REQUESTING THAT THE CORRECTIONAL JUSTICE TASK FORCE CONTINUE ITS STUDY OF  EFFECTIVE INCARCERATION POLICIES TO REDUCE THE DETAINEE AND INMATE POPULATION  WHILE PRESERVING PUBLIC SAFETY, LOWER RECIDIVISM, AND IMPROVE HAWAII’S CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM. http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR157_HD1_.pdf

WORK FURLOUGH FOR WOMEN
HCR 158               ENCOURAGING THE CONTINUATION AND EXPANSION OF COMMUNITY-BASED WORK  FURLOUGH PROGRAMS TO ASSIST FEMALE INMATES TRANSITION BACK INTO SOCIETY.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR158_.pdf 

HCR 85 Program Subcommittee with Lorenn Walker Tues 4.18.17

The HCR 85 Program Subcommittee will meet this coming Tuesday, April 18, at 2:00 p.m.  The meeting place will be the First Circuit Courtʻs 3rd Floor multipurpose Room (777 Punchbowl Street). The multipurpose room is at the end of the hallway leading to the Ewa side of the building. The most convenient parking is at the Makai Garage at the corner of Punchbowl and Halekauwila.

The guest for this Tuesdayʻs meeting will be Lorenn Walker, Executive Director of the Friends of Restorative Justice. Lorenn will talk about restorative justice generally, and about the restorative justice program she founded and operates at the Womenʻs Community Correctional Center.

Lorenn Walker is a restorative justice attorney and health educator who has been helping those involved in the correctional system for many years. She holds a JD degree from Northeastern University School of Law (1982) and a MPH degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Public Health (1996).  She is widely recognized as one of countryʻs leading restorative justice experts and is co-author of Restorative justice today: practical applications (Los Angles, Sage Press 2013) as well as many articles on restorative justice.

Lorennʻs pioneering restorative justice work has attracted national attention and she is the recipient of many national honors and awards including the Steve de Shazer Memorial Award and the John W. Byrd Pioneer Award for Restorative and Community Justice from the National Conference on Restorative Justice. She is also a Senior Fulbright Specialist for international peacemaking and conflict management skill building training.

Here is a link to Lorenn’s web page where you can learn more about her work, her publications, and her many achievements. http://lorennwalker.com/biography/

Here is a link to the Hawaii Friends of Restorative Justice Website: http://hawaiifriends.org

CAPWatch: Update on bills and resos

Fro Kat:

Aloha Justice Advocates!

            Life has been really crazy since I got back from Aotearoa. I’ve been a discussant at Chaminade after the film13Th (along with DeMont Connor), on 2 different panels at the Law School, spoke at the social justice committee of a local church along with testifying on resolutions and bills. 

            On Thursday, April 13th, at the beginning of the PBS hearing it was announced that there was only one reso to be considered. I was the only person there (besides the staff) so I spoke out about SCR 169. It was then announced that there was a new SCR 169 with a House Draft that was about a completely different issue and it would be heard at 2 pm that day. SCR 169 is the one where CAP re-wrote the reso!

            The pre-trial reso passed. That’s good, something has to be done about bail — 51% of OCCC are pre-trial detainees costing us more than $2 a month. On my way out of the hearing, Vice Chair LoPresti told me that the reso was now about disaster preparedness.

            Since all 13 of the bills we are working on or against passed, I am now analyzing the bills and committee reports and watching to see who will be on the conference committees.

            Today I’m requesting you to look at HCR 50 HD1. (Although CAP would like to see Citizens Unitedoverturned, we do not support a constitutional convention.) CAP Testimony: 4.18.17 JDL HCR 50 OPPOSE

CAP Action Alert for Thursday 4.13.17

COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY

Rep. Gregg Takayama, Chair
Rep. Matthew Lo Presti, Vice Chair
Thursday, April 13, 2017
10:00 am
Room 312

SCR 126 SD1       REQUESTING THE JUDICIARY TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE AND MAKE  RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING CRIMINAL PRETRIAL PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES TO MAXIMIZE PUBLIC SAFETY, MAXIMIZE COURT APPEARANCES, AND MAXIMIZE PRETRIAL  RELEASE OF THE ACCUSED AND PRESUMED INNOCENT.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SCR126_SD1_.pdf

CAP POSITION: SUPPORT  

Talking Points:

  • At the end of February, 51% of the people in OCCC were pre-trial detainees/innocent until proven guilty.
  • The department of public safety described their role as, “The Judiciary sends them to us; we lock them up.”
  • Something must be done to reduce the pre-trial population, many of whom were houseless at the time of arrest
  • Most people at OCCC are imprisoned for small kine crimes (lowest felony, misdemeanors, violations) and could not make bail
  • Research shows that pre-trial detainees are more like to go to prison than those who are released
  • Even a few days in jail disrupts someone’s life and impacts their future

 

SCR 169 SD1       REQUESTING THE TASK FORCE ESTABLISHED TO STUDY EFFECTIVE INCARCERATION POLICIES TO  IMPROVE HAWAII’S CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM, ALSO IDENTIFY IN ITS FINAL REPORT SITES FOR A NEW CORRECTIONAL FACILITY THAT ARE TEN ACRES OR LESS IN SIZE.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SCR169_SD1_.pdf

How disingenuous! Oh yes, mention the task force looking to “improve Hawai`i’s correctional system” while the decisions have already been made to build a big jail and an even bigger prison on O`ahu with absolutely no planning and discussion about what we want our correctional system to look like for the next 50-100 years. Right now, Hawai`i is an outlier – our people are incarcerated for things we never imprisoned people for a few decades ago and our folks serve longer sentences than those for similar crimes in other jurisdictions.

Why have we turned our Criminal Justice System into the CriminalProcessing System? Cui Bono? Who Benefits? Prison Corporations, Consultants. This is an industry that we should not be trying to develop in Hawai`i.

Hawai`i is at a crossroads and this reso could be a great opportunity to support inclusive, collaborative, discussions about Hawai`i’s correctional future.

 CAP Testimony – We included a re-written resolution!  4.13.17 PBS SCR 169 SD1 COMMENTS

 Talking Points:

  • How can we talk about sites and buildings BEFORE we discuss who we are building for?
  • Do we really want OCCC to be a shelter and center for people dealing with public health challenges?
  • 51% of the people at OCCC as of 2.28.17 were pre-trial detainees, costing taxpayers more than $2 million a month
  • Why are we in a rush to build before we reform the bail system, fully implement Justice Reinvestment, and fund things like the Community Court Outreach and LEAD programs – things at hand right now?
  • Our focus should be on how Hawai`i will implement and what is needed to facilitate the implementation of best practices that are data driven and evidence-based.

CAPWatch – Report from the front

2nd Crossover of Bills at the Legislature

THIRD READING FOR CAP 2017 JUSTICE BILLS

4.11.17 – 2ND CROSSOVER UPDATE

Yesterday, the rest of the bills that CAP has been working on were heard in THIRD READING. All were on what is called the “Consent Calendar”. This means that these bills were discussed in caucus so no floor discussion was needed/allowed. All thirteen* of the bills we have been working on all session have now passed three readings in both chambers.
*This includes SB 249, which was on the quicksheet that was sent out.

This made it a very different Third Reading than in previous sessions. In the House there were a few bills that engendered discussion. The one we are working on is SB 249 – the judicial retirement bill that had 12 no votes and 6 w/reservations votes. But there was lots of drama on this one. Rep. Thielen rose to speak and said that this bill was to “punish” the Judiciary for some of their decisions. That made Majority Leader Saiki stand up and call for a recess. They came back after their pow wow and Rep. Thielen withdrew the word “punish” with “impact”. Then Rep. Tupola (Minority Leader) made a motion to recommit the bill (which would send it back to committee – i.e. dead this session). Another confab and then they came back and she withdrew her motion. Then Rep. Ward stood and called for a roll call vote (on the bill) and another confab took place. They came back and Rep. Ward withdrew his roll call motion. The final vote 39-12-0. There is dis-satisfaction so maybe this bill will die.

Another bill in the House that had a lot of discussion of SB 704 – Vacation Rentals – Air B&B bill. It passed, but there were 7 no votes and 11 w/reservations. Could be in trouble.

The Rail tax bill – extending the rail tax 2 years. There were 10 no votes and 3 w/reservations.

There was little to no discussion in the Senate.

This was disconcerting. Are the policies under which we must all live being developed behind closed doors? Is transparency as dead in Hawai`i as it appears to be in DC? This is really appalling and disturbing.

In an effort to raise our voices, there are two resolutions being heard by the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday. The first one – SCR 126 SD1 is good and we want to see the Judiciary reform the bail system and pre-trial practices; the second one, however, asks the HCR 85 Task Force to identify sites. This group has no money, no expertise, and a HUGE TASK to be completed. What is this about?

CAPWatch Quick Update

Here is the status of justice bills CAP has been testifying on this session:
CAPWATCH QUICKSHEET – 4.8.17
Today is third reading on the rest of our bills (some have already passed).
Here is where we stand as of now:
  • 12 bills still in play
  • 4 bills have already pass third reading (HB 1246; SB 718; SB 895; HB 209)
  • 8 bills up for third reading today (SB 603; HB 845; HB 463; HB 478; HB 1135; HB 844; HB 1195;HB 1501)
  • 7 bills are OK, 4 bills need work; 1 is really BAD SB 895
Also here is the reso sheet: CAPWATCH 4.7.17 RESO UPDATE…all crossed over except for decriminalizing marijuana (sad since more than 20 state have decriminalized cannabis and the sky has not fallen. 
 
Kat has  been doing lots of public speaking in the last several weeks, which is why posts have been sporadic. We are working to counter the alternative facts put out of the Department of Public Safety.  
 
When we started the session, there were 77 housing and homeless bills. At this point in the session, the legislature has put $66 million to design THE MOST UNAFFORDABLE HOUSING IN HAWAI`I…A JAIL AND PRISON. 
 
Steven Stills was correct: THERE IS SOMETHING HAPPENING HERE…WHAT IT IS AIN’T EXACTLY CLEAR…or is it???

Bills and Resos today 4/3 and tomorrow 4/4

This is the last hearing for these bills. If can, please support them. All of them are good and will help Hawai`i move toward more safe, healthy, and just communities! WAM is decision-making only, but very important for the community to be on record supporting reform!

MONDAY, APRIL 3, 2017

Senate COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS

Sen. Jill Tokuda, Chair
Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Vice Chair
Monday, April 3, 2017
1:35 p.m.

HB 844 HD1       SAFE PLACES 4 YOUTH PILOT PGM; AT-RISK YOUTH; COORDINATOR;  ($) HMS, WAM
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB844_HD1_.pdf
Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a two-year Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program in partnership with private organizations to coordinate a network that youth can access for safety and where youth can obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services. Establishes a Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program Coordinator position. Appropriates funds. GATES, BELATTI, BROWER, CREAGAN, EVANS, HAR, HOLT, KEOHOKALOLE, C. LEE, LOPRESTI, MORIKAWA, NAKASHIMA, NISHIMOTO, OHNO, OSHIRO, TODD, WOODSON, Johanson, Quinlan, San Buenaventura

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORT
CAP Testimony: 4.3.17 WAM HB 844 HD1 SUPPORT

TALKING POINTS:

  • The Safe Place Network will link together many existing resources for youth and families, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA/YWCAs, Family Centers and Neighborhood places
  • It will provide young people with ways to deal with problems before they get into trouble with the law
  • It will provide early intervention that avoids involvement with the juvenile justice, child welfare systems and helps youth and families resolve their issues
  • The 24-hour crisis response will follow the National Safe Place model, in which community partners, such as fire stations and public bus systems are recruited as places where young people can go in an emergency

 

HB 478 SD1      KULANI, WAIAWA AGRICULTURE OPERATION; APPROPRIATION ($)   PSM/AEN, WAM
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB478_SD1_.pdf
Appropriates funds for a full-time agricultural management position and equipment for Kulani correctional facility agriculture operations and a full-time agricultural management position and equipment for Waiawa correctional facility agriculture operations.ONISHI, CREAGAN, DECOITE, HAR, JOHANSON, KEOHOKALOLE, MORIKAWA, NAKASHIMA, OHNO, OSHIRO, TAKAYAMA, TODD

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORT
CAP Testimony: 4.3.17 WAM HB 478 SD1

TALKING POINTS:

  • This is a good program for the people at Kulani and it now includes funding for Waiawa – working outside in fresh air is good for health
  • Growing food for the facility would result in cost savings and better nutrition for the people living and working there
  • Learning how to farm is a needed skill as the state moves toward food sustainability
  • An agricultural manager will keep the program on track and hopefully will provide reports to the legislature on their progress

*****

TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2017

senate COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY AND LABOR

Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, Chair
Sen. Karl Rhoads, Vice Chair
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
9:30 am
Room 016

HB 1501 HD2  DRUG PARAPHERNALIA; POSSESSION AND DELIVERY;CIVIL VIOLATIONS         JDL, WAM
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1501_HD2_.pdf
Reclassifies drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to violations subject to a fine of $100. SAN BUENAVENTURA, CREAGAN, EVANS, MIZUNO, NISHIMOTO, TODD, WOODSON, Brower, DeCoite

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORT
CAP Testimony: 4.4.17 JDL – HB 1501 HD1

TALKING POINTS – PROVIDED BY DRUG POLICY FORUM OF HAWAI`I – MAHALO!

– The costs of enforcing these drug paraphernalia offenses as felonies are astronomical. Locking up the current 167 nonviolent offenders is costing the State more than $20 million.
– These tax dollars are better spent on community programs and rehabilitation of nonviolent, low-risk drug offenders – in other words, the very people most likely to be imprisoned for drug paraphernalia offenses.
– Claims by prosecutors and police that they need this type of broad, harsh law in order to “get the bad guys” are reflective of 1980s thinking. Hawai’i should instead continue to focus on innovative alternatives to incarceration like the LEAD pre-arrest diversion program and the Community Court Outreach.
– Immigrants convicted of class C felonies are potentially deportable under current immigration laws.
– Hawaii’s drug laws, like those on the mainland, disproportionately target certain communities of color. The effect of having such a harsh penalty for drug paraphernalia means individuals from these communities are very likely to wind up behind bars for a longer time as a result of being pressured to accept a plea bargain.

***** Continue reading

2 Important Bills on Thursday 3/30: ID and LEAD

ACTION NEEDED NOW: We need to respectfully ask the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Scott Nishimoto repnishimoto@capitol.hawaii.gov (Ph: 586-8515)for a hearing on SB 603 SD1 HD1 – the bill on admin and disciplinary segregation. The bill is really messed up now – calling only for a report from the department and then another section about the EIS for OCCC (asking consultants to look for 4.5 acre or larger sites) and conferring with the HCR 85 task force. The department is against it saying they have policies. Incarcerated people have been murdered in segregation in Hawai`i and Arizona. If JUD doesn’t hear the bill, it is dead this session. This bill needs to get to conference. Please contact Chair Nishimoto today…time is running out.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 2017

COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY AND LABOR

Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, Chair
Sen. Karl Rhoads, Vice Chair

COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS

Sen. Jill Tokuda, Chair
Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Vice Chair

Thursday, March 30, 2017
9:50 am
Room 211

TO TESTIFY: Go to www.capitol.hawaii.gov, sign in, click orange submit testimony button, put bill number in box. Scroll down and follow instructions.

HB 845 HD2, SD1 INMATES; IDENTIFICATION CARDS; REENTRY; ($)    PSM, JDL/WAM
 http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB845_SD1_.pdf
Requires the Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with county and state agencies, and, upon request of the inmates, to issue civil identification cards to inmates and to assist inmates in obtaining the inmates’ birth certificate, social security card, and other relevant identification necessary for successful reentry into society. Requires the Department of Public Safety to initiate the process of assisting inmates released to work furlough, extended furlough, or community placement programs at least ninety days prior to the inmates’ release. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1)  GATES, CREAGAN, ING, C. LEE, LOWEN, OHNO, TAKAYAMA, DeCoite, LoPresti, Nakamura, Quinlan, Todd, Woodson

We need to get this bill to conference.

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORTVERY IMPORTANT BILL!

Talking Points:

  • Identification is a vital piece of successful reentry and reintegration
  • Hawai`i is the ONLY STATE with NO AGREEMENT WITH THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN
  • This bill requires the department to get crackin’ on this vital reentry piece!
  • Without proper identification, formerly incarcerated persons cannot * Secure housing * Employment * Open a bank account *Cash a check * Register to vote * Get a library card

HB 1195 HD1, SD1      RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS                     PSM, JDL/WAM
 http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1195_SD1_.pdf
Appropriates funds to the Department of Health and Department of Human Services, including the Office of Youth Services, to provide homeless outreach services and rental subsidies to reduce and prevent homelessness. Takes effect on 7/1/2075. (SD1)

This bill funds the Honolulu pilot for the successful LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diverison) program from Seattle. CAP is part of the Hawai`i LEAD Hui.

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORTVERY IMPORTANT BILL!

Talking Points:

  • Of the 16,000 arrests made on Oahu last year, 61% involved people who were severely mentally ill or abusing drugs, according to the Honolulu Police Department
  • 43% of detainees in HPD’s central cell block last year were homeless. Of those, 72% had a serious mental illness or substance abuse problem
  • A community of service providers, community organizations, agencies, and policymakers have been meeting since June 2016 to build the infrastructure that is vital to make this program work

Real thought, planning, and discussion about how to best serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community who suffer from a variety of challenges was the basis for this community initiative and this forms the foundation for this program

Contact Senate Judiciary NOW – Ask them to pass HB 1489!

From Kat:

Kia Ora from Aotearoa!

I am shocked that the Senate Judiciary Committee has deferred HB 1489 – the bill that would codify in state statute the tremendous work of Patsy Mink.

I am sending Barbara Polk’s email and asking that you contact the committee by email asap to ask them to pass HB 1489…a bill that had no opposition.  Please contact the committee now!

The Senate Judiciary Committee deferred this bill yesterday, despite NO negative testimony in any of its three hearings, and lots of supportive testimony in each.  A majority of JUD committee members, including Chair Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, sponsored the Senate companion bill, but did not hear it.  Now they have deferred the House bill.  I don’t think we should let this lie. If the 100% Democratic Senate cannot pass a bill that guarantees civil rights to more than half the population of the state, it needs to hear what we think.

Here is the bill’s short description:

Prohibits a state agency or program or activity receiving state financial assistance from excluding from participation, denying benefits to, or discriminating against a qualified individual by reason of disability, sex, including gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. (HB1489 HD1)

I would suggest emailing the committee members asking why they deferred a bill that had no public opposition. And if there is no response by today, blanketing the Senate with emails (sens@capitol.hawaii.gov) objecting. Time is of the essence–the bill has also been referred to WAM, so if it does not pass 2nd reading in the Senate by Friday, it dies.

For more information, to read the bill, and see testimony:

Vice Chair Karl Rhoads <senrhoads@capitol.hawaii.gov>, Senator Laura Thielen <senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov>,
Senator Donna Mercado Kim <senkim@capitol.hawaii.gov> and Senator Mike Gabbard <sengabbard@capitol.hawaiil.gov>