Wed. 4/26 & THurs. 4/27
Yesterday was the deadline for all non-fiscal bills. CAP still has 3 bills in conference committee. They have been “rolled over” each day because they have appropriations. Today, Friday April 28th is the last day for money bills.
The 3 bills are:
SB 249 SD2 HD1 REDUCTION IN RETIREMENT FOR JUDGES
Unlike other recent adjustments to retirement benefits, which covered legislators, judges, senior executive branch officials, and general state and county employees, this bill targets only judges. This is highly unusual and raises concerns that this bill is a further challenge to judicial independence. At the House Finance hearing on this bill, the State Employment Retirement System (ERS) advised in response to a question that implementing this measure could cost $50,000 to $100,000 on the front end, and estimated that it would be approximately 10 to 20 years before the State sees significant savings. CAPʻs concern with this bill is the separation of powers doctrine and honoring the checks and balances established with 3 EQUAL BRANCHES of government.
HB 844 HD1 SD1 SAFE PLACES FOR YOUTH PILOT PGM; AT-RISK YOUTH; COORDINATOR; ($)
Youth advocates have been working on this bill for many years. We have gotten far this year and Kat is hopeful that this program is funded so that we help our youth and keep them out of the correctional system. No one Kat has spoken to knows if the funding for this program is in the $240,000 allocated to Office of Youth Services in the budget.
HB 209 HD1 SD1 LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLD RENTERS; EITC; TAX RATES; FOOD EXCISE TAX CR
This bill has wide support, due to the incredible work of Nicole Woo and Hawai`i Appleseed. The sticky issue appears to be the decision to eliminate taxes for the lowest income brackets or a tax credit for low income renters. Actually, to do both would be best. We will see what emerges. Kat is hopeful that some relief for our struggling families will pass.