2017 Justice Bills: 29th Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Session ended around 6:30 pm (from 9 am) – long day on hard wooden benches. Kat ran between House and Senate. The big drama was around the rail bill (HB 1138) which eventually failed and the website has something Kat has never seen before – House CDs and Senate CDs. Both different and no agreement. The bill is DEAD. And there are multiple copies of the drafts posted. There is more interesting stuff to report – coming soon!

CAP ended the committee hearings with the passage on 3rd reading for 13 bills we worked on. We started conference with 12 bills having been assigned conferees (the Senate did not assign conferees to HB 463) and one bill (SB 603) did not get scheduled for conference.

Of the 11 bills that went to conference, 8 passed (most good or an OK start; 1 – SB 895 –  not so good).

The 3 bills that died in conference were SB 249 – Judicial Attack (we’re glad); HB 844 – Safe Places for Youth (no funding – we’re sad); and HB 1195 – Appropriations for various Houseless programs (I think at least some of the funding for most of the programs in this bill came through other measures. The $200,000 funding for the LEAD pilot program is in the DOH budget appropriation (that’s great!).

ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION
HB 1246 CD1 Criminal Offenders; Alternative Programs; Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1246_CD1_.HTM         
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/HB1246_CD1_CCR23_.htm

This bill just adds electronic monitoring as an alternative to incarceration for those on (1) Home detention, curfew or both; (2) Supervised release, graduated release, furlough, and structured educational or vocational programs; (3) Similar programs created and designated as alternative programs by the legislature or the director of public safety for inmates who do not pose significant risks to the community.

5.2.17 – PASSED FINAL READING
HOUSE:  48-0-3  Representative(s) Har, McDermott, Tupola voting no
SENATE: 21-0-4 Excused, 4 (Senator(s) Dela Cruz, Galuteria, Green, Kidani).

COMMUNITY COURT OUTREACH
SB 718 CD1    COMMUNITY COURT OUTREACH PROJECT
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB718_CD1_.pdf
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/SB718_CD1_CCR99_.htm

This bill makes the project permanent subject to the availability of sufficient funds; deletes the requirement that the Judiciary enter into memoranda of agreement to specify the terms and conditions of each agency’s participation in the project; requires the prosecutor and the public defender to participate in the project; deletes the appropriation since funding is in budget; adds that the Chief Justice, as an alternative recommendation in the report to the Legislature and the Governor on the project, may recommend that the project be terminated; effective 7.1.17.

5.2.17 – PASSED FINAL READING
HOUSE:  50-0-1 Rep. Ichiyama excused
SENATE: UNANIMOUS

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

ID:
HB 845  CD1              INMATES; IDENTIFICATION CARDS; REENTRY; ($)
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB845_CD1_.pdf
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/HB845_CD1_CCR24_.htm

This bill does not require the department to ensure that every person is released with proper identification. It merely says the department should inform folks of the availability of departmental assistance to obtain the person’s birth certificate, social security card, and any other relevant identification documents necessary for transition. It is the department’s responsibility to ensure that people are safely released into the community. When folks exit with nothing, what are they supposed to do? The legislature allocated $25,000 to public safety and again, there is no reporting requirement. $25,000 more to the department to play with; no accountability.

5.2.17 – PASSED FINAL READING
HOUSE:  UNANIMOUS
SENATE: UNANIMOUS

Kulani:
HB 478 CD1   KULANI, WAIAWA AGRICULTURE OPERATION; APPROPRIATION ($)
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB478_CD1_.pdf
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/HB478_CD1_CCR112_.htm

This is a good bill that should sustain the agricultural programs at Kulani and Waiawa. It allocates $50,000 at each facility for an ag manager and $50,000 for farm equipment at each facility. Again, no reporting required.

5.2.17 – FINAL READING
HOUSE:   UNANIMOUS
SENATE:  UNANIMOUS

JUSTICE REINVESTMENT
HB 1135 CD1             PUBLIC SAFETY;  JUSTICE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1135_CD1_.pdf
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/HB1135_CD1_CCR33_.htm

This bill was a simple one page housekeeping measure to make the Hawai`i Justice Reinvestment Initiative permanent. It is now a 15 page bill mostly about restitution; an important subject that should be widely discussed, rather than sneaked into a bill.

5.2.17 – PASSED FINAL READING
HOUSE:   UNANIMOUS
SENATE:  UNANIMOUS

SENTENCING

Criminal Trespass:
SB 895 CD1                CRIMINAL TRESPASS
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB895_CD1_.pdf
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/SB895_CD1_CCR41_.htm

This bill has been widely opposed during hearings. The state keeps trying to say that it is not a bill about sweeps of the houseless, however the bill makes it a petty misdemeanor for staying on improved state land. The only good thing we can say is that it prohibits a felony conviction. What will it take to finally convince policymakers that we need housing that our people can afford?

5.2.17 – PASSED FINAL READING
HOUSE:  44-7-0 Representative(s) Gates, LoPresti, Tokioka voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) DeCoite, Ing, Lowen, McKelvey, San Buenaventura, Thielen, Tupola voting no (7) and none excused (0).
SENATE: 20-4-1 (Galuteria excused) Aye(s) with reservations: Senator(s) Ihara, Taniguchi. Noes, 4 (Senator(s) Green, K. Kahele, Ruderman, L. Thielen). Excused, 1 (Senator(s) Galuteria).

Drug Paraphernalia:
HB 1501 CD1             DRUG PARAPHERNALIA; POSSESSION AND DELIVERY; CIVIL VIOLATIONS
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1501_CD1_.pdf
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/HB1501_CD1_CCR11_.htm

This bill reduces the sanction for the possession of drug paraphernalia from a felony to a violation with a fine up to $500 and is effective upon approval (Gov’s signature).

5.2.17 – FINAL READING
HOUSE:  42-9-0   Representative(s) Aquino, Cullen, Say, Yamane voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Choy, Har, Kong, Matsumoto, McDermott, Ohno, Oshiro, Tupola, Ward voting no (9) and none excused (0).
SENATE: UNANIMOUS

TAX CREDITS
HB 209 CD1               TAX FAIRNESS BILL
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB209_CD1_.pdf
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/CommReports/HB209_CD1_CCR121_.htm

Mahalo to Hawai`i Appleseed for their great organizing work on this bill. It’s only about half of what is needed, but it is real progress.  It makes permanent higher tax rates on our top earners; the Food Credit will be made permanent; and there will be a 20% non-refundable Working Family Credit/EITC for 5 years. (we have been testifying in favor of a state tax credit for about 2 decades, so this is a great start!

 5.2.17 – PASSED FINAL READING
HOUSE:  44-6-1  Representative(s) Oshiro, Tupola, Ward voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Choy, Har, Ito, Kong, Say, Tokioka voting no (6) and Representative(s) Ichiyama excused (1).
SENATE: UNANIMOUS

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