CAP Watch Update: Final Reading Report #1

Final Reading Report2014 JUSTICE BILLS THAT PASSED FINAL READING

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

CAP worked on 9 bills that were scheduled for Final Reading in both chambers. Eight of the nine bills passed. The ninth bill is the Juvenile Justice bill (HB 2490) that had a Floor Amendment. The final vote on this bill will be Thursday, May 1st, the closing day of the 27th Legislature. Of the eight bills that passed today, there is only one that is bad – HB 2205.   Not a bad record and I feel fairly confident that HB 2490, the Juvenile Justice Probation bill will pass tomorrow (although I am aware that anything can happen, and it does).

I spent the majority of yesterday in the House and caught a few bills in the Senate.  Senator Hee made a very emotional and compelling speech on minimum wage, which passed both House and Senate. More on this below in CAP Comments following the bill.

The House session started at 9am and I left around 5:30 or so, after they announced that the Turtle Bay bill was postponed until Thursday. The people from the North Shore (O`ahu) in their green shirts sat patiently all day waiting for their bill. It was sad, especially because the Senate voted 25-0 for the bill earlier.

There were a few bills that had big discussion (ours passed without discussion in the House). The bill that requires an annual report on police misconduct (SB 2591) had a huge debate with a final vote of: 30 ayes (include 3 ‘ayes with reservations’ from Republicans Johanson, Matsumoto, and Fukumoto) and 20 no votes, mostly from the conservatives.

Two bills were “Recommitted” by the House, a nice way of saying they are dead after they emerged from conference committee. One is about Chiropractors’ scope of practice (SB 2478) that had passed the Senate 24-1 (Green voting no) and the other was about the salary of the Executive Director of the Hawai`i Housing Finance and Development Corporation (SB 2799).

Another bill that generated a lot of discussion was about a financial audit of the state by the legislative auditor and the issue appeared to be privacy of taxpayer information. I have not read the bill or heard anyone talk about it during session, so yesterday was the first time I heard of it.

Minimum wage (SB 2609) generated lots of discussion with only 1 no vote: McDermott. More details will be in the bill list following this report. Same day voting generated lots of discussion in both chambers. In the Senate the final vote was 24-1 (Slom voting no), however, there were 10 ‘ayes with reservations”. The House also had a long discussion and their final vote was 40 ayes (including 15 ayes with reservations), 10 nays and 1 excused (Ito).

Lastly, SCR 120 requesting the Governor to explore a public-private partnership for expansion of the correctional system passed. More below. DON’T BE DISCOURAGED. This is a great organizing tool. Every person to whom I have mentioned this is appalled that we would even consider a proposal from a corporate prison. We have plenty of work to do to get the word out and we can do it!

I will keep watch and let you know when we need to contact the Governor’s office on bills we want him to sign.

OK here are the bills that are going to be sent to the Governor:

SB 2308 SD1 HD1     FUNDING PGMS FOR CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS. $       http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/SB2308_CD1_.pdf

Makes an appropriation to the department of public safety for programs and services for children of incarcerated parents and to assist with family reunification. (CD1)

Conference Committee Report:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/CommReports/SB2308_CD1_CCR84-14_.htm

Final Votes:
House: 50-0-1 (Ito excused)
Senate: 25-0

CAP Comments: This bill funds programs for children of incarcerated parents, who are 6-7 times more likely than other children to be incarcerated themselves. This supports programs that maintain and strengthen the connection between parents who are incarcerated and their children. The original ask from Public Safety was $250,000. The Legislature allocated $125,000 for these programs. We want to make sure that the funds are used for programs and not consultants!

***

SB 2315 SD1 HD1     SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT SERVICES AT HALAWA.   $               http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/SB2315_CD1_.pdf

Appropriates funds to the PSD to provide substance abuse treatment services to Halawa Correctional Facility inmates. (CD1)

Conference Committee Report:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/CommReports/SB2315_CD1_CCR139-14_.htm

Final Votes:
House: 50-0-1 (Ito excused)
Senate: 25-0

CAP Comments: This bills funds additional substance abuse treatment at Halawa. The Legislature allocated $110,000 for this express purpose. We will want to know by next session how many more treatment slots this bought, the number of men who participated, the number of men who completed the program, etc. It is difficult to track how effective the funding has been because there are pockets of funding all over the place.

***

HB 2116 HD2 SD1    ELIMINATING LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS.     http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/HB2116_CD1_.pdf
Eliminates sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders. (HB2116 CD1)

Conference Committee Report:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/HB2116_CD1_.pdf

Final Votes:
House:  49-0-2 (Wooley, Ito excused)
Senate: 25-0

CAP Comments: Removing Juvenile Life Without Parole from Hawai`i Revised Statutes is a good start. Our juvenile statutes are in need of reform and this session, the Legislature did tackle and pass some good bills regarding the options for addressing youthful lawbreakers. It is unusual that a bill passes in its first year and credit must go to law student, Christiaan Mitchell who was the lead advocate on this along with the DC based Campaign for Fair Sentencing for Youth’s James Dold. These two gentlemen are awesome. CAP helped keep the bill moving, but these guys did the heavy lifting!

***

HB 2037 HD1 SD1    PROJECT KEALAHOU                       $                                                                             http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/HB2037_CD1_.pdf

Appropriates funds for the continued funding of Project Kealahou within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division of the Department of  Health. (HB2037 CD1)

Conference Committee Report:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/CommReports/HB2037_CD1_CCR124-14_.htm

Final Votes:
House:  49-0-2 (Wooley, Ito excused)
Senate: 25-0

CAP Comments: This worthy project got more money than they asked for! We are glad to see a program for girls gets some funding. They asked for $50,000 and got $216,000. We hope that this becomes a line item in the budget as they are using strategies on the leading edge of juvenile justice!

***

SB 2609 SD1 HD2     RELATING TO MINIMUM WAGE.                                                             http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/SB2609_CD1_.pdf

Increases minimum wage rate to $7.75 per hour beginning on 1/1/15, $8.50 per hour beginning on 1/1/16, $9.25 per hour beginning on 1/1/17, and $10.10 per hour beginning on 1/1/18. Increases the tip credit to 50 cents per hour beginning on 1/1/15, and 75 cents per hour beginning on 1/1/16; provided that beginning 1/1/15, the combined amount the employee receives in wages and tips is at least $7 more than the applicable minimum wage. (CD1)                               

Conference Committee Report:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/CommReports/SB2609_CD1_CCR133-14_.htm

Final Votes:
House: 49-1-1 (McDermott voting no); (6 w/r: Fale, Fukumoto, Har, Johanson, Kawakami, Matsumoto, Tokioka)
Senate: 24-1 (Slom voting no)

CAP Comments: This bill was the ‘Battle Royale’ this session. There was a tremendous community push led by FACE (Faith Action for Community Empowerment) and  Appleseed- Lawyers for Equal Justice and a diverse array of community groups, like us! For CAP, minimum wage helps our brothers and sisters exiting incarceration.

The sticking point was the tip credit. Many Reps expressed their concern about the tip credit,  but at the end of the day they voted to give Hawai`i  a raise and that is good!

The National Restaurant Assn, (called the ‘Other NRA’) has been putting out propaganda that denies the data from Dept. of Labor and other credible sources about minimum wage workers being ‘entry level’ high school kid jobs. Not true!

The community organizing on this bill shows what can be done in Hawai`i. It has been a two year struggle, but the people got something at last.  It is a small step indeed, but every move forward is positive. We never forget the challenges one faces reintegrating and we work on big and small ways to make life better. We all play a role in building safe, healthy, and just communities!

*** 

HB 2363, HD2, SD2     PUBLIC SAFETY.              Reentry Pilot Project; NV, Low-risk Drug Offenders; $
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/HB2363_CD1_.pdf

Provides systematic reentry programming for nonviolent, low-risk drug offenders by establishing and funding a reentry pilot project for nonviolent, low-risk drug offenders. (HB2363 CD1)

Conference Committee Report:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/CommReports/HB2363_CD1_CCR130-14_.htm

Final Votes:
House: 50-0-1 (Ito excused)
Senate: 25-0

CAP Comments: This bill was amended to appease the prosecutors, nevertheless, it is finally a start to implement Hawai`i’s Reentry Law passed in 2007 and never implemented. The legislature allocated $250,000 for a 2-year pilot program  for nonviolent drug lawbreakers. Now let’s see what they do. This is a good illustration about how passing a law is only a baby step. The real work is implementing the policy and the programs that support it.

 ***

SB 60, SD1, HD1         VICTIMS OF CRIMES. Bill of Rights for Victims; Restorative Justice         http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/SB60_CD1_.pdf

Affords victims and surviving immediate family members, and any accompanying loved ones, the right to participate in restorative justice processes for the harm suffered by the victim, upon written request, and requires those parties to be informed of this right by the police or prosecutor. (CD1)

Conference Committee Report:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/CommReports/SB60_CD1_CCR53-14_.htm

Affords victims and surviving immediate family members, and any accompanying loved ones, the right to participate in restorative justice processes for the harm suffered by the victim, upon written request, and requires those parties to be informed of this right by the police or prosecutor. (CD1)

Final Votes:
House:  49-0-2 (Wooley, Ito excused)
Senate: 25-0

CAP Comments:  This is a bill CAP supported from last session that never got to conference. They pulled it up this session, fixed some confusing language, made the date ‘upon approval’ and passed it.  The process is completely voluntary and has been supported by victims and those who lost someone due to another person’s actions because of the healing that it

Helps individuals achieve. The process is not easy for victims for the person who caused the harm. It taps into the humanity that we all share. The program that we do in Hawai`i has at least a 99% satisfaction rate among the hundreds of participants thus far. Rebuilding connections is one of the most important parts of successful reintegration. Restorative justice and ho`oponopono practices help heal a wider circle of people.

 ***

HB 2205 HD1 SD1 HABITUAL PROPERTY CRIME
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/HB2205_CD1_.pdf

Imposes a mandatory minimum term of one year imprisonment upon conviction for the offense of habitual property crime. Authorizes probation only for a first conviction of the offense of habitual property crime. (HB2205 CD1)

Conference Committee Report:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/CommReports/HB2205_CD1_CCR42-14_.htm

Final Votes:
House:  44-6-1 Fale, Say voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Awana, Hanohano, Har, Jordan, Oshiro, Tokioka voting no (6) and Representative(s) Ito excused (1).
Senate: 25-0

CAP Comments: This bill was made a bit better by the Senate when they put in the probation option (to one of the four specialty courts). Senator Hee really pushed the Senate position at the conference committee, however, the House did not want to let go of the mandatory sentence of one year (which is really dumb as those folks who will be incarcerated most likely will get no treatment or programming but will have plenty of time to learn the ‘dark arts’). This is a bill full of unintended consequences that illustrates the phrase: Be careful what you wish for. Very sad.

 

“Dripping water hollows out stone,
not through force but through persistence.”
– Ovid

 

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