New law classifies urn theft as felony crime

Local News

It’s now a felony to steal an urn.

Gov. David Ige signed HB 1578 into law Tuesday, establishing the offense of an urn theft as a class C felony.

This comes on the heels of families having urns stolen from plots at Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Pearl City.

“Taking of a funeral urn is such a hurtful crime, not only to the families involved, but to the entire community,” said Rep. Gregg Takayama, D, Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades, “and so we’re glad that the punishment should fit the crime.”

“Never in our wildest dreams we thought we needed a law, which we really do, that places a value on an urn, which is not a monetary value, but an emotional and spiritual value of the urn,” said Rep. Roy Takumi, D, Pearl City, Manana, Waipio.

Last June, Lisa Wond discovered four urns missing from her family’s grave site at Sunset Memorial.

“The governor enacting this bill today means a lot for other families, so that they’ll be spared what we had to endure,” she said.

Anyone caught stealing an urn could face five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The law also requires recyclers to document any urns brought in, just as they do with copper.

Other bills signed into law Tuesday:

HB 1753 Relating to Mopeds: Requires registration, inspections and number plates for mopeds

HB 1807 Relating to Military Service: Authorizes reserve and National Guard members to receive paid military leave while on inactive-duty training

SB 2652 Relating to Taxation – Locally Produced Renewable Energy: Establishes a 5-year renewable fuels production tax credit

HB 1902 Relating to Sex Trafficking; Prostitution: Creates the offense of sex trafficking where a person advances prostitution by the use of force, threat, fraud or intimidation or where a minor is prostituted. Classifies sex trafficking as a violent crime and a class A felony.

HB 1907 Relating to Sexual Assault: Requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all stored kits and report to the Attorney General. The AG is then required to report to the Legislature.

HB 1897 Relating to Insurance Coverage of Health Screenings: Ensures that all insurers in the state provide insurance coverage for sexually transmitted disease screenings, including HIV and AIDS.

SB 2319 Relating to Insurance: Requires health insurers in the state, including health benefits plans under the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund and Medicaid managed care programs to cover reimbursement for contraceptive supplies intended to last for up to a 12-month period for insured.

SB 2317 Relating to Health: Requires and appropriates funds for the Department of Health to conduct child death reviews, implement a program to perform maternal death reviews, and submit annual reports to the Legislature.

HB 2772 Relating to the University of Hawaii: Adopts the preliminary recommendation of the affirmative consent task force, including requiring the University of Hawaii to train employees and students on sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking policies.

HB 2489 Relating to the Department of Defense: Appropriates funds for a veterans’ services counselor IV position within the office of Veterans’ Services to address problems and needs of all veterans, with a primary focus on female veterans.

HB 1041 Relating to Hunting: Establishes a statewide Game Management Advisory Commission to serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Land and Natural Resources for policies and criteria regarding public hunting.

SB 2904 Relating to Aquatic Mitigation Banks: Authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources to establish and operate aquatic mitigation banks to restore, enhance or preserve aquatic habitats or resources.

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