CAP Watch Conference Report: Day 6 WOW!

DAY 6 FINAL DAY  – FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014

What a day!

Final day of session. We had conferences on 8 bills that we worked on this session. The budget was not done yet and most of the conferences were convening and reconvening all day. I am pleased – no, I am actually ecstatic to report that today 6 of the 8 bills passed and they all got some money! 

CAPConference ReportWe tracked 12 bills in conference that we supported all session. Of those 12 bills, 9 PASSED!  Only one of the 9 is problematic. 75% of the bills we worked on and tracked in conference passed! That is amazing.75% passed and all with funding!

When the Conference Drafts are posted, I will send along a list of what passed (and perhaps shouldn’t have) and what didn’t pass (and should have). This has been a long week of conference committees and meetings. We cover a wide range of issues that affect incarcerated individuals and those returning home; always mindful of the challenges one faces while incarcerated and also those reintegrating into the community face after being away for years.

Your voice matters!

 Here’s what happened today (I am still in a state of shock – joyous shock!):

 

HB 2037, HD1, SD1     RELATING TO PROJECT KEALAHOU. $

The CD1 is not posted yet. This program for girls asked for $50,000 and got $216,000! It is a program within the Department of Health’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division that is trauma-informed care. They are also training the staffs at the Detention Center in Kapolei and at HYCF. There are not enough programs for our youth and there are a paucity of programs for girls. This is a good investment in Hawai`i’s future.

***

HB 2371, HD1, SD1           TAX CREDITS FOR LOW INCOME RESIDENTS

This bill is make pau (dead). Sad that addressing poverty is so problematic for the legislature. Lifting up our struggling families helps everyone.

*** 

HB 2490 HD2, SD2      RELATING TO JUVENILE JUSTICE       $
(This bill is from the Pew JJ Working Group)

The CD1 of this bill has not been posted yet. I have been told by my colleagues that the amendments were those requested by the Office of Youth Services and the Judiciary. We have been talking all session and are on the same page about reserving HYCF beds for violent youthful offenders and reforming probation to address the needs of the youthful lawbreakers. An allocation of $1,250,500 was approved! This will start moving in the right direction and we are happy that it passed with funding.

*** 

SB 2609 SD1 HD2       RELATING TO MINIMUM WAGE

The CD1 is not posted yet. Sen. Hee was definitely the champion on this bill. He pushed and pushed. The state’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage has not been increased since 2007. The tip credit is 25 cents. Had to compromise on some things, however, in the end here is what it looks like:

  • increased the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by January 2018 (we were hoping for $10.10 by 2017).
  • tip credit would expand to 75 cents,  up from 25 cents
  • businesses could deduct the tip credit on workers who earn at least $7 more than the minimum wage, up from 50 cents

***

SB 2308 SD1 HD1       FUNDING PGMS FOR CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS. $

The CD1 is not posted yet. The legislature appropriated $125,000 to the Department of Public Safety for programs/services to children of incarcerated parents.

***

SB 2315, SD1, HD1     APPROPRIATION FOR PROVIDE SUBSTANCE ABUSE TX SERVICES @ HALAWA

The CD1 is not posted yet. The legislature appropriated $110,000 to the Department of Public Safety for this needed service that will supplement their existing budget. I’ll be tracking how much treatment is happening to ensure that this money is used for this express purpose.

*** 

SB 2884, SD2, HD1            RELATING TO PAROLE.   Legislative Appropriations; Discharged Persons

For some strange reason this bill, that did not ask for funds, died. I need to find out the back story on this. It had a WAM and FIN referral, which was weird, but is a way to kill a bill with no fingerprints. It is odd, though, that this bill passed all the committees and did not have disagreement in conference and then died because it didn’t get clearance from WAM and FIN (when no money was involved).

*** 

HB 2363, HD2, SD2     PUBLIC SAFETY.   Reentry Pilot Project; NV, Low-risk Drug Offenders; $

The CD1 is not posted yet.There was no disaagreement on the bill and the legislature appropriated $250,000 to get this pilot project going. Whew…this was a squeaker and I was getting nervous as the clock was  winding down to the 6 pm deadline.

***

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:

The bills have to go through final reading on Tuesday or Thursday next week.  We hope it’s Tuesday.

Then the bills that pass final reading (and most do) go to the Governor, who has 45 days to sign, veto or let the bill become law without his signature (like he did with SB 68 last year  – our mandatory minimum bill). TheGovernor generally issues an “Intent to Veto” list sometime in June and has until early July to decide.

Your voice, your taking the time to comment, your love for our community is what made this happen. Together we are a mighty force. Your voice, together with my voice, and the many voices of the community made a beautiful choir that the legislature could not ignore. It was awesome. We are moving forward. 

Now we’ve got to pump up the volume!

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”  
Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

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