Post-Conference Update

From advocating for good bills, to killing bad bills, and watch-dogging for the resurrection of the water theft bill, we've been practically living at the Capitol over the past few weeks and riding the emotional rollercoaster that is legislative session.

Yesterday all the remaining bills needed to pass out of conference committee, where House and Senate conferees draft a final version of the bill. Over the next week, the bills that passed conference require a final reading from the House and Senate. If approved by both chambers, these bills are sent to the Governor for consideration. 

The bad news. Here are the bills we liked that died in conference:

These bills died because they did not get House/Senate conferees assigned, did not get scheduled for a conference hearing, or did not get approval from the Finance and Ways and Means Committee's to move forward.

  • HB 765 - Planning for sea level rise

  • HB 1191 and SB 789 - Raising the minimum wage

  • HB 1487 - Honolulu sea level rise pilot project

  • SB 412 - Automatic voter registration

  • SB 1000 - Requiring new buildings to be electric vehicle charger ready

The good news. Here are the bills we liked that passed conference:

  • HB 401 - Public agencies to implement vehicle fleet energy efficiency programs

  • HB 551 - Extending the work/funds for the cesspool conversion plan

  • HB 556 - Hawai‘i to adopt electric appliance efficiency standards

  • HB 808 - Species protection for rays

  • HB 852 - Restructuring the State Energy Office and appropriating funds for a carbon tax study

  • HB 1548 - Appropriating $750k to combat Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death

  • HB 1558 - Appropriating funds for a 2050 Sustainability Plan Update

  • SB 301 - Taxation of Real Estate Investment Trusts

  • SB 375 - Strategic Plan to double local food production by 2030

  • SB 390 - Appropriating funds for SNAP beneficiaries to receive "double bucks" for local produce

  • SB 522 - Establishing a plastics reduction working group

  • SB 1353 - Establishing an industrial hemp program

More good news, a few bills that we opposed were sucessfully deferred in conference too:

  • HB 307 - Broadening the definition of "renewable energy" and amending the solar tax credit 

  • HB 1025 - Authorizing extension of public land leases 

Overall, we were most effective in stopping several bad bills from passing and were successful in advancing a handful of environmental bills this session, helping to set the path for advocacy in the interim to ramp up and prepare for the 2020 session and upcoming election. I hope you will continue to engage with us as we build power and grow Hawai‘i's movement to advance a progressive environmental agenda that is rooted in equity and justice. 

Lastly, we want to extend a sincere mahalo to everyone who has been answering our calls of action- whether that be calling or emailing your legislators, showing up to testify, sharing posts on social media, and sending us kind words of encouragement. This work is challenging, yet so important, and having the support of our members and allies has meant so much to the Sierra Club ‘ohana.