We need to act now! A&B’s senators are pulling out extraordinary measures to pass A&B’s preferred version of the HB1326, which would allow them to continue to divert streams for seven more years and retain $62 million from the sale of their land.
ICYMI: Thursday, in decision making in its joint hearing in the Senate Committees on Water and Land and Ways and Means, HB 1326—the “Water Theft Bill” was killed… but now it’s possible it’s a zombie and it’s coming back. Click here to take action.
Summary of this week
HB 1326 was heard in its joint WTL/WAM hearing on Tuesday, April 2. After more than 6 hours of testimony—majority in opposition, only 2 in support, and over 700 written testimony submitted—604 against, 100 comments and 40 in support, members of the committees moved to defer decision making until Thursday, April 4th.
Thursday, WTL Chair Kahele introduced an amended bill that would cut out A&B—essentially stopping them from receiving any more extensions on their temporary permits to divert water, while also ensuring that small ranchers and farmers would have access to the water they need. WTL voted 3-2 to pass the amended version (Sen. Kahele, Riviere, and Nishihara in favor; Sen. Fevella and Keith-Agaran against; Sen. English absent).
Quickly after, WAM Chair Dela Cruz called for a recess, counted his votes, reconvened and moved to defer the bill indefinitely. Typically this means that the bill is dead for the session but more shenanigans ensue...
Where we are now
We knew it was possible the bill could come back from the dead, we just didn’t know exactly how. Now we know that A&B’s senators are working to get enough votes to bring HB 1326 to the floor. If A&B’s senators are successful in bringing the bill to the floor, then they will need 13 votes to pass the measure. They will be voting on HB1326 HD2. This is the version that passed over from the House (7-year extension to A&B and farmers), not the version with Sen. Kahele’s thoughtful amendments (3-year extension to only farmers, conditions on DLNR). This is because WAM deferred the bill before they voted on it, so it was not fully amended by the joint committee.
If HB1326 HD2 passes the Senate floor vote, then it will go directly to the Governor for signature. It will bypass the House because HB1326 HD2 is the exact same bill the House already passed out.
Which brings us to… ALL HANDS ON DECK. Let’s flood the senators’ inboxes, asking them to vote down this zombie bill once and for all. Click here to email all 25 senators, urging them to not favor A&B’s financial interests over the best interests of the streams and the people.
We need our senators’ to VOTE NO on HB 1326 HD2. Click here to take action.