CAPWATCH 2016 Session Wrap-Up

CAPWATCHAll 5 of our bills have now been sent to the Governor and his policy staff is now reviewing them.

In addition to the 7 measures that emerged from conference committee (the 5 on the Gov’s desk; the $1.1 million in budget for homeless youth (as in HB 1774) and Act 34 (SB 2916) that was signed into law on April 29th), we also worked on 3 resolutions that passed:

HCR 4 – REQUESTING THE AUDITOR TO AUDIT THE ASSET FORFEITURE PROGRAM OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/HCR4_.pdf
This is a long-overdue audit of this program that has earned Hawai`i a “D” in a 2010 and ranked us even lower – “D-“ –  in 2016 for its civil forfeiture laws because of:

  • Low bar to forfeit and no conviction required
  • Poor protections for innocent third-party property owners
  • 100% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement

 

HCR 85 HD2 SD1 – REQUESTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TASK FORCE TO STUDY EFFECTIVE INCARCERATION POLICIES TO IMPROVE HAWAII’S CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/HCR85_SD1_.pdf
The last committee added the amendments we suggested – adding OHA and a formerly incarcerated woman since the needs of men and women are different.

 

HCR 127 HD1 SD1 – REQUESTING THE LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE BUREAU TO CONDUCT A STUDY ON THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL SYSTEMS OF STATE GOVERNMENT OF DECRIMINALIZING THE ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF DRUGS FOR PERSONAL USE IN HAWAII.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/HCR127_SD1__.pdf
This resolution has been substantially weakened to look at only Class C and lower marijuana offenses, review Portugal’s decriminalization policies and explore the impacts of decriminalization.

 

2 other bills that we worked on passed their committees: both were for low income renter’s credits –  HB 2166 and SB 2833 (which morphed into a developers’ bill so we let go). CAP co-signed letters with Appleseed on HB 2166 and were sad that it never got scheduled for conference. People exiting incarceration are generally at the low end of the economic spectrum so every little bit helps.

There was a substantial amount of money appropriated to address the thousands of people who live unsheltered in Hawai`i nei ($12m). CAP asserts that until we address poverty, we will never see our way out of the social morass that our neglect has caused. Our legislators need to hear your voice (don’t be trumped). Our message must be that WE ARE HERE, ALL OF US, and our elected officials must HEAR us: STOP MAKING HAWAI`I A PLAYGROUND FOR THE SUPER-RICH! TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE.

Here is Civil Beat’s story on the session…

2016 Legislature: A Session Of Progress — For The Most Part
Lawmakers didn’t address all the issues Hawaii needed, but on school AC, affordable housing and more, they made a welcome difference.
MAY 9, 2016 · By The Civil Beat Editorial Board

Mahalo for caring about our communities – our world. The Legislature can be very frustrating, but it is a venue where the people can be heard. Being respectful, knowledgeable about the issues you are working on, and sharing aloha can gain allies in very unusual places. Justice is non-partisan. It is a human issue. Mahalo for caring. No Justice – No Peace.

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