CAP Action Alert: Testimony Needed for Bills on Feb. 9, 2017

Bills being heard include the worst bill of the session – HB 462! See below. We need testimony in opposition of this bill!

ACTION ALERTCOMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY

Rep. Gregg Takayama, Chair
Rep. Matt LoPresti, Vice Chair
Thursday, February 9, 2017
10:00 am
Room 312

HB 1501 Drug Paraphernalia; Possession and Delivery; Civil Violations PBS, JUD
Changes drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to civil violations. SAN BUENAVENTURA, CREAGAN, EVANS, MIZUNO, NISHIMOTO, TODD, WOODSON, Brower, DeCoite

This bill makes possession of drug paraphernalia a civil fine of $100.

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORT
CAP Testimony: 2-9-17-pbs-hb-1501-support

Talking Points:

  • 74% of all people in Hawai`iʻs correctional system are Class C felons, misdemeanants, petty misdemeanants, technical parole and probation violators (many for dirty drug screens)
  • Removing the felony offense and NOT imprisoning people for non-serious offenses could save Hawai`i millions of dollars that could be spent addressing the public health and social challenges many of our people face
  • Research is clear that criminal records are a huge barrier to employment and upward mobility, therefore, reducing this class c felony to a civil violation would prevent lots of harm

***

HB 1517  Imprisonment; Minimum Terms
Requires judges, instead of the Hawaii paroling authority, to determine the minimum term of imprisonment a convicted offender must serve before becoming eligible for paroleSAIKI

CAP is not sure if this bill would create unintended consequences with Hawai`iʻs indeterminate sentencing, so Kat has sent the bill to some trusted colleagues for analysis and opinion. We’ll let you know, when I find out more.

***

HB 462 CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES – WORST BILL OF THE SESSION!
Requires the department of public safety to solicit proposals for a new correctional facility at Waiawa Correctional Facility. TAKAYAMA, CREAGAN, DECOITE, EVANS, LOPRESTI, MIZUNO, THIELEN

This is another proposal with absolutely no forethought, no planning, no analysis. The current OCCC process has been and continues to be an abject failure and they now want more money to plan for more and bigger facilities despite crime at the lowest level in decades! Why do we continue to do corrections the 19th way? This bill ignores Hawai`i data and continues bilking the taxpayers for a failed system. It again is a top-down approach that ices out the community from any discussion. What is wrong with these folks????

This is what the bill proposes to do:

  • Requires DPS to solicit proposal for a 3,000-bed prison at Waiawa (for folks from Halawa, Arizona and Waiawa)
  • Relocate OCCC to Halawa (after the above is built)
  • Allows DPS to enter into public-private partnership for planning, design, and construction
  • Allows DPS to enter into a lease-option contact with any private owner of the new correctional facility at Waiawa

YIKES! THIS OPENS THE DOOR TO CORPORATE OWNED PRISONS IN HAWAI`I

CAP POSITION: STRONG OPPOSITION
CAP Testimony: 2-9-17-pbs-oppose-hb-462

  • The current OCCC process has left the community and the HCR 85 Legislatively-appointed Task Force out of the discussion of what we should do about overcrowded facilities
  • We should NEVER let corporate prisons come to Hawai`i. There are plenty of horror stories about how these unethical companies have left jurisdictions bankrupt with broken facilities after they get their “end of lease balloon payments”
  • Putting OCCC at Halawa where public transportation is 2 miles from the gate is nothing short of inhumane to families who try to visit their loved ones
  • Requiring DPS to solicit bids, when the current process is a mess, is irresponsible and unconscionable.

PLEASE HELP US STOP THIS BILL!

***

HB 478 Public Safety; Kulani Correctional Facility Agriculture Operation; Appropriation ($)  PBS, FIN
Appropriates funds for a full-time agricultural management position and equipment for the Kulani correctional facility agriculture operation. ONISHI, CREAGAN, DECOITE, HAR, JOHANSON, KEOHOKALOLE, MORIKAWA, NAKASHIMA, OHNO, OSHIRO, TAKAYAMA, TODD

This is the start of a good program for the men at Kulani. In the past there was an agricultural program there.

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORT  

Talking Points:

  • This is a good program for the people at Kulani – 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 there
  • Learning how to farm is a needed skill as the state moves toward food sustainability

***

HB 464 Criminal Offenses; While Awaiting Trial; Bail; Sureties  PBS, JUD
Provides that no financial or property surety shall be required for bail in a case in which no felony is alleged. Provides that a person who commits a criminal offense while on bail for which no financial or property surety was required shall be guilty of a class C felony.  TAKAYAMA, LUKE

Kat is consulting with others on this bill and will get back to you. She is wondering why Hawai`i always leans to the punitive side. The bill says that a new criminal offense but doesn’t specify the level of offense. So, if a person was arrested for stealing a $2 energy drink and is released on own recognizance (no bail $) and then steals a sandwich because s/he is hungry that person is now a felon. WHY? We’ll get back to you on this when Kat hears from trusted colleagues.

CAP Comments: 2-9-17-pbs-hb-464-comments

 *** 

HB 13    Corrections Officers; Concealed Weapon; Off-Duty. PBS, JUD
Authorizes off-duty corrections officers to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit. TAKAYAMA (Introduced by request of another party)

This bill begs the question:  WHY???

CAP Asking Why?: hb-13

 ***

HB 1135 Public Safety  (SB 1001 COMPANION) PBS, JUD
Amends Act 139, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, to delete the repeal and reenactment provision in section 14. SOUKI (Introduced by request of another party)

CAP POSITION: STRONG SUPPORT  

Talking Points:

  • Very important bill that eliminates the sunset/repeal of certain sections of the Justice Reinvestment law (Act 139) enacted in 2012.
  • We need to support reforms to reduce the imprisonment of low-level lawbreakers sentenced for non-serious offenses in our bloated system
  • TREATMENT WORKS – PRISON DOESNʻT!

If any of these bills move you, please testify. If you have information CAP needs to make cogent, compelling testimony, please email me with your thoughts. Mahalo nui!

YOUR VOICE MATTERS & WE HONOR IT AND YOU!

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