Bills to keep an eye on during 2016 state legislative session

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Should Hawaii’s minimum wage be raised to $16 per hour? Should Hawaii gubernatorial candidates be allowed to pick their running mates? Should fantasy football be considered gambling?

Lawmakers are looking into these proposals and more, as bills are introduced in the 2016 legislative session.

Here are a few that we’ve spotted:

SB2463: Requires employers to pay employees at least $16 per hour by 1/1/2020.

SB2419 and HB2142: Proposes a constitutional amendment to allow each gubernatorial nominee to appoint a person from the same political party as a running mate for lieutenant governor in the general election.

SB2418 and HB2141: Proposes an amendment to article V, section 6, of the Hawaii State Constitution to provide that the attorney general be elected as a nonpartisan elected official rather than appointed by the governor.

SB2426 and HB2132: Prohibits denying a student a meal for the first: (1) thirty days of a semester while the student’s application for free or reduced lunch is being processed; or (2) week the student’s meal fund balance is zero or negative. Authorizes DOE to adopt rules or policies on the collection of funds for negative student meal balances.

SB2425 and HB2159: Exempts teachers involved in educational trips from certain ethics code provisions.

SB2372 and HB2050: Requires the counties to accept the surrender of a private road in cases where there has been an absence of any act of private ownership over the road for five years. Exempts the State and counties from performing any maintenance on a surrendered road and from liability arising from use of the road until the State or county performs maintenance work on the road. Deems a highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail that has been commonly used by residents of a particular area for emergency access purposes or for health and safety reasons to be publicly accessible for those reasons, without regard to actual ownership or responsibility for maintenance.

SB2429 and HB2111: Establishes fantasy competition as a violation of the gambling laws. Provides an affirmative defense under limited situations.

SB2430 and HB2007: Establishes a lean government advisory board to make recommendations for improving state government efficiency.

SB2442 and HB1725: Recognizes celebrations of Children and Youth Day as an official State event.

HB1988: Appropriates money to install water fountains in the State Capitol reflecting pools to reduce cleaning costs and add a choreographed water fountain show with light displays and Hawaiian music to increase tourism.

The deadline to introduce bills this legislative session is Jan. 27. View the complete legislative calendar here. Is there a particular bill you’re interested in? Let us know using the form below.

Since Hawaii operates with a legislative biennium, bills introduced in 2015 can be brought back up again this year, plus all bills introduced in 2016.

According to “A Citizen’s Guide to Participation in the Legislative Process”:

“… any bill pending at the adjournment of a regular session in an odd-numbered year, i.e., the first year of a legislative biennium, will automatically carry over to the regular session of the next even-numbered year, i.e., the second year of the legislative biennium, with the same bill number and bill status; therefore, for these carryover or carried-over bills, reintroduction in the second year of the legislative biennium may not be necessary.

Be aware that each house may set additional internal deadlines relating to bill introduction. A house may set forth deadlines after which only a limited number of bills may be introduced by each legislator. Each house may also require that bills be filed by a certain time on a deadline day. It may be helpful to check the Hawaii State Legislature’s website for updated information.”

In 2015, Hawaii had 1,515 House bills and 1,379 Senate bills. In 2016 to date, Hawaii has 656 House bills and 718 Senate bills.

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