The following was published in Senator Slom’s Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Report for March 27, 2012.
The State Senate passed more than 350 bills over to the State House by the March 8 First Crossover deadline. The usual cadre of bad bills that call for more taxes, cost, unfunded mandates, special funds, fees and attacks on your personal liberty and freedom still thrive.
As a general rule, I have been consistent in voting “no” against all new taxes and fees as well as voting “no” on the creation of new special funds.
Here is a synopsis and update some of the bills that were voted for in the Senate during First Crossover voting on March 6 and 8:
I voted against SB 2787 which will authorize HECO and other utilities to implement a surcharge to help it enforce “reliability standards and interconnection requirements”. Amended in House, pending Finance Committee hearing.
SB 2785 is the bill that authorizes the installation of the inter-island “high voltage electric transmission system” ($3 billion undersea cable) and related infrastructure (windmills). I voted “no”. Pending decision in House Finance Committee; passed House CPC committee.
SB 2824: This bill applies the bottle recycling tax (6¢ per container) to dietary supplements. I voted “no” on this. Deferred in House Health committee.
Likewise I also voted “no” on SB 2511, that taxes “single use check-out bags” at a rate that could be as high as 20¢ per bag. House EEP and ERB amended bill. Pending in House Finance committee.
SB 3017: I voted against this bill on applying the transient accommodations tax to complimentary accommodations. This bill expands the TAT and I voted “No!” SD2 still alive in House.
SB 2747: This bill mandates owners or managers of public parking places with a hundred parking spaces or more to have electric vehicle parking and at least one electric vehicle charging station. This takes away parking from users of conventional vehicles while still preserving space for ADA accessibility. There are not many electric vehicles. Another bill that merited a “no” vote. Amended in House, pending House Finance committee hearing.
Still another bill that I was poised to vote “no” on was SB 2822 which would have implemented a tax on electronics recycling. Instead the bill was amended so that a task force can look into the issue. Amended in House EEP; pending House Finance (FIN) committee.
I voted “no” on SB 2226 which would implement a tax on purchases from made on the internet from merchants such as Amazon.com. Gut and replaced with HB 1695. Referred to House Finance Committee.
In keeping consistent with my “no new taxes” policy, I also voted against a new tax on tobacco products (SB 2422). Still alive in House; pending hearing in House Finance committee.
I was among six Senators who voted against SB 2592 that creates a children’s savings account under the Dept. of Budget & Finance. Still alive in House, pending Finance Committee.
The land trust bill (SB 2783) that conveys properties in Kaka’ako Makai valued at $200 million, over to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) was also passed. I voted “no” on this bill that is supported by OHA as well as the Governor. Passed out of 3 House committees and pending hearing in House Finance.
SB 2923: Voted against the ban on commercial opihi harvesting after the bill was amended on the floor. Stalled in House. No hearings.
I voted “no” at First Crossover on the following bills that create new special funds:
SB 2110: Preservation of Hawaii’s moving images (films). A new special fund is being created for this. Senate draft still alive in the House, pending hearing in Finance committee.
SB 2424: A new special fund is created for regulation of professional employer organizations (PEOs). Passed and amended in 4 House committees with final referral to House Finance.
SB 2111: Establishment of the Hawaii film and digital media special fund. House ERB committee deleted special fund – pending Finance.
SB 3050: Another film and digital media bill moves responsibilities of this industry form DBEDT to the Hawaii Tourism Authority and creates a new special fund for development. Gutted and replaced with the contents of HB 2338 HD2 by House ERB and Tourism committees.
SB 2506: In an effort to move the State ID functions from the attorney general’s office to the State Dept. of Transportation, a new special fund is being created to support this. The bill also complies with the nationally mandated Real I.D. Act of 2005. Referred to House FIN.
SB 2348: This bill reinstates the State Educational Facilities Improvement Special Fund which was set to be repealed on July 1, 2013. Stalled in the House. No hearings.
SB 2466: Establishes a long-term care facility special fund. Amended in House and pending hearing in Finance Committee (FIN).
SB 2467: Establishes the Hospital Sustainability Program special fund and a new fee (tax). Stalled in House, no hearing.
Shovel Ready Projects: I voted “with reservations” on SB 2012, a Senate showcase bill that issues $500 million in general obligation bonds to fund repair and maintenance and/or capitol improvements to a number of state facilities. The bill is being met with a lukewarm reception in the House. The state should be doing repair and maintenance as part of its normal routine instead of waiting for such legislation. Apparently stalled in House, no hearing since referral to House Finance (FIN) committee on February 22.
Permanent Resident Bill Iced: The Senate recommitted SB 212, a bill that was resurrected this year to define “permanent resident” for use in the next reapportionment coming in 2021. The bill had unanimous support in the Senate Judiciary & Labor committee but was killed on the senate floor after the chair motioned it back into committee. Some neighbor island legislators oppose counting military populations for reapportionment.
Libraries Bill: I voted “yes” to support the libraries bill (SB 2994) that allows private non-profit organizations to continue to support their local, public library (as they have for years) without being affiliated with the statewide Friends of the Library organization. During the hearing process for the bill, it was found that the head State Librarian failed to answer questions on why local friends had to join the larger group. SB 2994 was heard and amended in the House Education committee. Pending hearing in House Finance Committee.
Meanwhile the Senate Education committee gut and replaced HB 1054 and inserted most of the contents and intent of SB 2994 here. Now there are 2 bills that support private non-profit local library support organizations that do not want to be affiliated with the larger, statewide Friends of the Library group. For more information on this and all other bills, call my office at 586-8420.
You can look up all bills by bill number at the State Legislature’s website at: