Conference Update – Days 5 & 6

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:

JUDICIAL RETIREMENT
SB 249 SD2 HD1       REDUCTION IN RETIREMENT FOR JUDGES
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB249_HD1_.pdf

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.

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

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.

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

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

CAPWatch Conference Update – Day 4

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
HB 1501 HD2  SD1     DRUG PARAPHERNALIA; POSSESSION AND DELIVERY;CIVIL VIOLATIONS
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HB1501_HD2_.pdf

The House and Senate agreed on language although the House version had a fine of $100 for the violation and the Senate had “up to $500” for the violation. The effective date was changed to “upon approval”. The House agreed to the Senate version and the bill passed.This bill will now go to the floor for a final vote before it is sent to the Governor. 

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 Senate had proposed adding the language from HB 1466 about a Youth Commission into this measure. The House did not agree saying the bill (HB 1466) needed work so they could not agree to insert that language, however, Chair Morikawa of the House Human Services Committee said that she will work on a Youth Commission bill and introduce next session. This bill has an appropriation, so we will see if there is clearance from the money committees.

CONFERENCE RECONVENES TODAY TUESDAY, APRIL 25TH at 9:05 AM

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

Tentative GOOD NEWS! I sat in on the budget conference yesterday and the LEAD appropriation ($200,000) to get the pilot project up and running was put back into the budget! Now it has to pass the final floor vote before it goes to the Governor.  Warning: I have been doing this work for 20 years and I caution myself and all of us to understand that in the last few days of session, anything can happen. I am, however, cautiously optimistic that the legislature sees the value of LEAD for Hawai`i. 

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
SB 895 SD1 HD2       CRIMINAL TRESPASS
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB895_HD2_.pdf

This bill that CAP has been opposing passed yesterday with the House and Senate agreeing on the following amendments: In Section 2, the signs shall be appropriately spaced; in Section 4, language added to say that no convictions shall be a felony or under the habitual property offender statute; and the effective date was changed to “upon approval”.

NOTES FROM THE BUDGET CONFERENCE

LEAD – $800,000 to Dept. of Healthʻs Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) for mental health and substance misuse outreach – $200,000 of this is for the LEAD pilot program

COMMUNITY COURT OUTREACH – Funding to continue this program was put into the budget and will go to the Public Defenderʻs office to be shared with the Prosecutor and the Judiciary.

DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Money for malpractice insurance for doctors in the medical division
  • Lease/rent money for the Narcotics Enforcement Division
  • Money for psychological testing of deputy sheriffs
  • $1.5 million for lease/rent money for the department to move

 HOUSING

  • $3 million for Housing First
  • $1.5 million for homeless housing
  • $250,000 for legal services (ids, jobs, etc.)

JUVENILE JUSTICE – $240,000 appropriation to the Office of Youth Services (donʻt know if this includes $ for HB 844 – will find out today)

KAHO`OLAWE ISLAND RESERVE COMMISSION (KIRC)

  • $1,675,000 for 2018
  • $1,947,000 for 2019

MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM – DOH – Staffing up the program for the opening of dispensaries.

4 Good Resos on Friday 4.21.17

Sorry for the late post…

The following resolutions were schedule for today at 8:00 am by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

www.capitol.hawaii.gov to verify. CAP is in strong support of all four resolutions. 

SEX ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS
HCR 133               URGING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES DEVELOPED BY THE  MALAMA KAKOU PROJECT FOR THE TESTING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS AND REQUESTING AN ANNUAL REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON THE TESTING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS IN THE STATE
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR133_.pdf

PRE-TRIAL TASK FORCE
HCR 134               REQUESTING THE JUDICIARY TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING CRIMINAL PRETRIAL PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES TO MAXIMIZE PUBLIC SAFETY, MAXIMIZE COURT APPEARANCES, AND MAXIMIZE PRETRIAL  RELEASE OF THE ACCUSED AND PRESUMED INNOCENT.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR134_.pdf

EXTENDING HCR 85 TASK FORCE 1 YEAR
HCR 157               REQUESTING THAT THE CORRECTIONAL JUSTICE TASK FORCE CONTINUE ITS STUDY OF  EFFECTIVE INCARCERATION POLICIES TO REDUCE THE DETAINEE AND INMATE POPULATION  WHILE PRESERVING PUBLIC SAFETY, LOWER RECIDIVISM, AND IMPROVE HAWAII’S CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM. http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR157_HD1_.pdf

WORK FURLOUGH FOR WOMEN
HCR 158               ENCOURAGING THE CONTINUATION AND EXPANSION OF COMMUNITY-BASED WORK  FURLOUGH PROGRAMS TO ASSIST FEMALE INMATES TRANSITION BACK INTO SOCIETY.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/HCR158_.pdf 

HCR 85 Program Subcommittee with Lorenn Walker Tues 4.18.17

The HCR 85 Program Subcommittee will meet this coming Tuesday, April 18, at 2:00 p.m.  The meeting place will be the First Circuit Courtʻs 3rd Floor multipurpose Room (777 Punchbowl Street). The multipurpose room is at the end of the hallway leading to the Ewa side of the building. The most convenient parking is at the Makai Garage at the corner of Punchbowl and Halekauwila.

The guest for this Tuesdayʻs meeting will be Lorenn Walker, Executive Director of the Friends of Restorative Justice. Lorenn will talk about restorative justice generally, and about the restorative justice program she founded and operates at the Womenʻs Community Correctional Center.

Lorenn Walker is a restorative justice attorney and health educator who has been helping those involved in the correctional system for many years. She holds a JD degree from Northeastern University School of Law (1982) and a MPH degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Public Health (1996).  She is widely recognized as one of countryʻs leading restorative justice experts and is co-author of Restorative justice today: practical applications (Los Angles, Sage Press 2013) as well as many articles on restorative justice.

Lorennʻs pioneering restorative justice work has attracted national attention and she is the recipient of many national honors and awards including the Steve de Shazer Memorial Award and the John W. Byrd Pioneer Award for Restorative and Community Justice from the National Conference on Restorative Justice. She is also a Senior Fulbright Specialist for international peacemaking and conflict management skill building training.

Here is a link to Lorenn’s web page where you can learn more about her work, her publications, and her many achievements. http://lorennwalker.com/biography/

Here is a link to the Hawaii Friends of Restorative Justice Website: http://hawaiifriends.org

CAPWatch: Update on bills and resos

Fro Kat:

Aloha Justice Advocates!

            Life has been really crazy since I got back from Aotearoa. I’ve been a discussant at Chaminade after the film13Th (along with DeMont Connor), on 2 different panels at the Law School, spoke at the social justice committee of a local church along with testifying on resolutions and bills. 

            On Thursday, April 13th, at the beginning of the PBS hearing it was announced that there was only one reso to be considered. I was the only person there (besides the staff) so I spoke out about SCR 169. It was then announced that there was a new SCR 169 with a House Draft that was about a completely different issue and it would be heard at 2 pm that day. SCR 169 is the one where CAP re-wrote the reso!

            The pre-trial reso passed. That’s good, something has to be done about bail — 51% of OCCC are pre-trial detainees costing us more than $2 a month. On my way out of the hearing, Vice Chair LoPresti told me that the reso was now about disaster preparedness.

            Since all 13 of the bills we are working on or against passed, I am now analyzing the bills and committee reports and watching to see who will be on the conference committees.

            Today I’m requesting you to look at HCR 50 HD1. (Although CAP would like to see Citizens Unitedoverturned, we do not support a constitutional convention.) CAP Testimony: 4.18.17 JDL HCR 50 OPPOSE

CAP Action Alert for Thursday 4.13.17

COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY

Rep. Gregg Takayama, Chair
Rep. Matthew Lo Presti, Vice Chair
Thursday, April 13, 2017
10:00 am
Room 312

SCR 126 SD1       REQUESTING THE JUDICIARY TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE AND MAKE  RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING CRIMINAL PRETRIAL PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES TO MAXIMIZE PUBLIC SAFETY, MAXIMIZE COURT APPEARANCES, AND MAXIMIZE PRETRIAL  RELEASE OF THE ACCUSED AND PRESUMED INNOCENT.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SCR126_SD1_.pdf

CAP POSITION: SUPPORT  

Talking Points:

  • At the end of February, 51% of the people in OCCC were pre-trial detainees/innocent until proven guilty.
  • The department of public safety described their role as, “The Judiciary sends them to us; we lock them up.”
  • Something must be done to reduce the pre-trial population, many of whom were houseless at the time of arrest
  • Most people at OCCC are imprisoned for small kine crimes (lowest felony, misdemeanors, violations) and could not make bail
  • Research shows that pre-trial detainees are more like to go to prison than those who are released
  • Even a few days in jail disrupts someone’s life and impacts their future

 

SCR 169 SD1       REQUESTING THE TASK FORCE ESTABLISHED TO STUDY EFFECTIVE INCARCERATION POLICIES TO  IMPROVE HAWAII’S CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM, ALSO IDENTIFY IN ITS FINAL REPORT SITES FOR A NEW CORRECTIONAL FACILITY THAT ARE TEN ACRES OR LESS IN SIZE.
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SCR169_SD1_.pdf

How disingenuous! Oh yes, mention the task force looking to “improve Hawai`i’s correctional system” while the decisions have already been made to build a big jail and an even bigger prison on O`ahu with absolutely no planning and discussion about what we want our correctional system to look like for the next 50-100 years. Right now, Hawai`i is an outlier – our people are incarcerated for things we never imprisoned people for a few decades ago and our folks serve longer sentences than those for similar crimes in other jurisdictions.

Why have we turned our Criminal Justice System into the CriminalProcessing System? Cui Bono? Who Benefits? Prison Corporations, Consultants. This is an industry that we should not be trying to develop in Hawai`i.

Hawai`i is at a crossroads and this reso could be a great opportunity to support inclusive, collaborative, discussions about Hawai`i’s correctional future.

 CAP Testimony – We included a re-written resolution!  4.13.17 PBS SCR 169 SD1 COMMENTS

 Talking Points:

  • How can we talk about sites and buildings BEFORE we discuss who we are building for?
  • Do we really want OCCC to be a shelter and center for people dealing with public health challenges?
  • 51% of the people at OCCC as of 2.28.17 were pre-trial detainees, costing taxpayers more than $2 million a month
  • Why are we in a rush to build before we reform the bail system, fully implement Justice Reinvestment, and fund things like the Community Court Outreach and LEAD programs – things at hand right now?
  • Our focus should be on how Hawai`i will implement and what is needed to facilitate the implementation of best practices that are data driven and evidence-based.

CAPWatch – Report from the front

2nd Crossover of Bills at the Legislature

THIRD READING FOR CAP 2017 JUSTICE BILLS

4.11.17 – 2ND CROSSOVER UPDATE

Yesterday, the rest of the bills that CAP has been working on were heard in THIRD READING. All were on what is called the “Consent Calendar”. This means that these bills were discussed in caucus so no floor discussion was needed/allowed. All thirteen* of the bills we have been working on all session have now passed three readings in both chambers.
*This includes SB 249, which was on the quicksheet that was sent out.

This made it a very different Third Reading than in previous sessions. In the House there were a few bills that engendered discussion. The one we are working on is SB 249 – the judicial retirement bill that had 12 no votes and 6 w/reservations votes. But there was lots of drama on this one. Rep. Thielen rose to speak and said that this bill was to “punish” the Judiciary for some of their decisions. That made Majority Leader Saiki stand up and call for a recess. They came back after their pow wow and Rep. Thielen withdrew the word “punish” with “impact”. Then Rep. Tupola (Minority Leader) made a motion to recommit the bill (which would send it back to committee – i.e. dead this session). Another confab and then they came back and she withdrew her motion. Then Rep. Ward stood and called for a roll call vote (on the bill) and another confab took place. They came back and Rep. Ward withdrew his roll call motion. The final vote 39-12-0. There is dis-satisfaction so maybe this bill will die.

Another bill in the House that had a lot of discussion of SB 704 – Vacation Rentals – Air B&B bill. It passed, but there were 7 no votes and 11 w/reservations. Could be in trouble.

The Rail tax bill – extending the rail tax 2 years. There were 10 no votes and 3 w/reservations.

There was little to no discussion in the Senate.

This was disconcerting. Are the policies under which we must all live being developed behind closed doors? Is transparency as dead in Hawai`i as it appears to be in DC? This is really appalling and disturbing.

In an effort to raise our voices, there are two resolutions being heard by the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday. The first one – SCR 126 SD1 is good and we want to see the Judiciary reform the bail system and pre-trial practices; the second one, however, asks the HCR 85 Task Force to identify sites. This group has no money, no expertise, and a HUGE TASK to be completed. What is this about?

CAPWatch Quick Update

Here is the status of justice bills CAP has been testifying on this session:
CAPWATCH QUICKSHEET – 4.8.17
Today is third reading on the rest of our bills (some have already passed).
Here is where we stand as of now:
  • 12 bills still in play
  • 4 bills have already pass third reading (HB 1246; SB 718; SB 895; HB 209)
  • 8 bills up for third reading today (SB 603; HB 845; HB 463; HB 478; HB 1135; HB 844; HB 1195;HB 1501)
  • 7 bills are OK, 4 bills need work; 1 is really BAD SB 895
Also here is the reso sheet: CAPWATCH 4.7.17 RESO UPDATE…all crossed over except for decriminalizing marijuana (sad since more than 20 state have decriminalized cannabis and the sky has not fallen. 
 
Kat has  been doing lots of public speaking in the last several weeks, which is why posts have been sporadic. We are working to counter the alternative facts put out of the Department of Public Safety.  
 
When we started the session, there were 77 housing and homeless bills. At this point in the session, the legislature has put $66 million to design THE MOST UNAFFORDABLE HOUSING IN HAWAI`I…A JAIL AND PRISON. 
 
Steven Stills was correct: THERE IS SOMETHING HAPPENING HERE…WHAT IT IS AIN’T EXACTLY CLEAR…or is it???