Report from the front: Conference Day 4, Tues. 4/25

CAPWATCH CONFERENCE UPDATE

We were following 8 bills in conference on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 from morning until late afternoon. 4 passed (Ag projects at Kulani and Waiawa; Electronic monitoring; ID; Justice Reinvestment); 2 (LEAD & Community Court) are in the budget. Hereʻs the status of the bills:

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 committee is awaiting clearance from the money committees before they can vote. The budget is done and now they are haggling over specific appropriation bills. The Office of Youth Services received $240,000 in the budget, and I am trying to find out if it includes funding for this bill. I hope so. CONFERENCE RECONVENES WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26TH at 9:05 AM in Room 229

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

Although LEAD $ is within the $800,000 appropriated to DOH’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, this bill is known as the “Christmas tree” bill because there are several appropriations to different agencies. We are lucky that the appropriation for LEAD is in the budget – the bill is still in play because of all the other appropriations awaiting clearance from the money committees. CONFERENCE RECONVENES WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26TH at 9:05 AM in Room 229

COMMUNITY COURT OUTREACH
SB 718 SD1 HD1       COMMUNITY COURT OUTREACH PROJECT
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB718_HD1_.pdf

Although this project got funding in the budget, this bill is still in play. It was said that they are “seeking clarification”, whateva da heck dat means! CONFERENCE RECONVENES WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26TH at 2:00 PM in Room 325

KULANI & WAIAWA AG MANAGERS & EQUIPMENT APPROPRIATION
HB 478 HD1 SD1       KULANI, WAIAWA AGRICULTURE OPERATION; APPROPRIATION ($)
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB478_SD1_.pdf
H: Takayama, LoPresti – Co-Chairs; Onishi, Thielen
S:  Nishihara – Chair; Gabbard, Kahele – Co-Chairs

PASSED! with appropriations for 1 year: $50,000 for each Manager and $50,000 each for equipment at Kulani and Waiawa. This is a win, especially in these tenuous economic times.

ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION
HB 1246 HD2 SD2     PRE-TRIAL RELEASE; ALTERNATIVE PGMS; ELECTRONIC MON & SURVEILL; ($)
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1246_HD2_.HTM
H: Takayma, Nishimoto, LoPresti – Co-Chairs; Gates, Ward
S:  Nishihara, Chair; Shimabukuro, Co-Chair; Wakai

PASSED with language to allow the department of public safety to require electronic monitoring for referrals to drug treatment and for those on home detention. Well…itʻs hard to believe that this bill could have been made worse…but they did it! There was one more thing, but Kat couldnʻt understand what it was. Gotta love the “allow the department … to require” language. Who writes this stuff??? The effective date is 7.1.17.

IDENTIFICATION:
HB 845 HD2 SD2       INMATES; IDENTIFICATION CARDS; REENTRY; ($)
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB845_SD2_.pdf
H: Takayama, San Buenaventura, Gates Co-Chairs; Creagan, Thielen
S:  Nishihara, Chair; Keith-Agaran – Co-Chair; Wakai

PASSED! Although in a very weakened form thanks to the House. I have not seen the CD1, but if It does NOT require the department to ensure that every released inmate has the proper identification to get life started, it defeats the purpose of this bill. It does have a clause about getting IDs 90 days prior to going on work furlough, however, if it does not require the department to ensure that every released person has the proper id, then the bill is really toothless and a gift to the department. Hawai`i is the ONLY state without an agreement with the Social Security Administration. Without proper id a person cannot cash a check, open a bank account, register to vote, apply for jobs, or even get a library card. This is shameful and embarrassing.

JUSTICE REINVESTMENT
HB 1135 HD1 SD2     PUBLIC SAFETY;  JUSTICE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1135_SD2_.pdf
H: Takayama, San Buenaventura, LoPresti – Co-Chairs; Thielen
S: Nishihara – Co-Chair; Rhoads, English – Co-Chairs

PASSED! Another bill – simple housekeeping bill – part of the Governorʻs package that the House again screwed up. Even though Kat was in the front row it was difficult to understand what amendments were made. She knows they included victim stuff to include withholding something, then something about forfeiture without bail that she didnʻt understand. They also deleted Section 3, which the prosecutor and the crime victims compensation commission pushed for – despite the fact that mis-statements were made to the Senate to get them to include Section 3. The bill date was made effective (but they didnʻt say what it was). CAP has been doing this for 20 years. We sure donʻt get what we want and we fight hard for the people whose voices have been silenced by incarceration, so we are used to compromise. However, when the other side just cheats to get their way, it really hurts. Where is the integrity???

TAX CREDITS
HB 209 HD1 SD1       LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLD RENTERS; EITC; TAX RATES; FOOD EXCISE TAX CR
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB209_SD1_.pdf

Even though the budget is done, there is still work to be done. A refundable Working Family Credit is key. The key points of the bill are: Either eliminating the lowest-income tax brackets or updating the Renters’ Credit would help relieve heavy tax burdens on families struggling to make ends meet, and it is possible to do both. Eliminating the state income tax liability of those in the lowest-income brackets would actually cost only a fraction of the Department of Taxation’s $50 million estimate of almost identical language last session. Right now, there is some disagreement on the low-income renters’ credit vs. eliminating income tax for the  lowest-income tax brackets. CONFERENCE RECONVENES THURSDAY, APRIL 27TH at 2:00 PM in Room 309

The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

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