April 28, 2017
Friday was the final conference day. We were watching 3 bills – safe places program for youth – HB 844, the bill attacking the Judiciary – SB 249; and the tax fairness bill – HB 209. Then Kat sat in on a few other conferences for bills we are interested in but were too busy to testify on, such as HB 1488 about the medical marijuana program – it passed; the rail conference was interesting – they reached agreement on SB 1183. More info on our bills will be sent later.
Here’s what happened at Friday’s conference committees…
HB 844 HD1 SD1 SAFE PLACES FOR YOUTH PILOT PGM; AT-RISK YOUTH; COORDINATOR; ($)
DEAD THIS SESSION. This bill did not get funding, so it died. Advocates have tried for many years to get this started in Hawai`i…we’re getting closer, but we need to keep on pushing for more programs for our youth.
SB 249 SD2 HD1 REDUCTION IN RETIREMENT FOR JUDGES
DEAD THIS SESSION. We are glad this bill died, however, since our legislature works on a biennium calendar, this bill is alive next session and the Senate Chair said they would bring it back. What a waste of time and resources when so many in our community are suffering.
HB 209 HD1 SD1 LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLD RENTERS; EITC; TAX RATES; FOOD EXCISE TAX CR
PASSED! Thanks to the tremendous work of HAWAI`I APPLESEED. It’s only about half of what is needed, but it is real progress.
1) The higher tax rates on our top earners will be made permanent
2) The improvements to the Food Credit will be made permanent
3) There will be a 20% non-refundable Working Family Credit/EITC for 5 years