Second Lateral Bill Updates

Below is an update of our bill priorities as of second lateral, when bills must move to their final committee in their non-originating chamber.

Carbon Free Hawaiʻi

  • Carbon Pricing

    • HB 1584 – [Support] Office of Planning to conduct a comprehensive study of a statewide carbon tax. WAM.

  • Clean Energy

    • HB 307 – [Oppose] Broadens the definition of "renewable energy" to include other self-replenishing non-fossil fuel resources. EET/CPH.

    • HB 550 – [Support] Amends the definition of "renewable portfolio standard" to more accurately reflect the percentage of renewable energy use in the State. CPH/WAM.

    • HB 556 – [Support] Establishes minimum appliance efficiency standards for certain products sold or installed in the State. Requires the public benefits fee administrator to educate and train appliance manufacturers, distributors, and retailers about the appliance efficiency standards. CPH.

Planning for Rising Seas

  • Strengthening Coastal Zone Management Laws

    • HB 549 – [Support] Requires new developments to plan for the impacts of projected sea level rise and prohibits development in areas significantly affected by projected sea level rise. Amends policies and objectives related to coastal zone management to reduce residential exposure to coastal hazards and protect state beaches and public shoreline access. Defines "beach" and "coastal hazards". JDC/WAM.

  • Sea Level Rise planning

    • HB 461 – [Support] Requires the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission to conduct certain activities to address the impacts of sea level rise and report to the Legislature before the 2021 Regular Session. Appropriates funds for the Commission's activities and to fund the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Coordinator. WAM.

    • HB 765 – [Support] Requires incorporation of sea level rise projections in all new plans and updates to existing state plans generated under the Hawaii State Planning Act. WAM.

    • HB 1487 – [Support] Establishes the Honolulu shoreline climate protection pilot project to develop a plan to protect urban Honolulu from the impacts of sea level rise, floodwater, storms, and other impacts of a rapidly changing climate. Repeals on 6/30/2022. Appropriates funds. WAM.

Protecting Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems

    • HB 1326 – [Oppose] Allows holdover permits for stream diversions to continue until 2026. WTL/WAM.

    • HB 808 – [Support] Establishes an offense of knowingly capturing, taking, possessing, abusing, entangling, or killing a shark in state marine waters, along with penalties and fines. Expands the existing prohibition on knowingly capturing or killing a manta ray in state marine waters to apply to all rays and to also include knowingly taking, possessing, abusing, or entangling a ray. Provides certain exemptions. Effective 7/1/2050. JDC/WAM.

    • HB 551 – [Support] Extends lapse date for funds appropriated to the University of Hawaii to conduct a comprehensive statewide study of sewage contamination in nearshore marine areas. Extends lapse date for funds appropriated to the Department of Health to conduct research or gather technical assistance relating to the cesspool conversion working group's comprehensive cesspool conversion plan. WAM.

    • SCR 35 – [Support] Urging the U.S. EPA and the Hawaii Department of Health to reject the approval of a single wall tank upgrade alternative option for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and the conclusions presented in the Groundwater Protection and Evaluations Considerations Report dated July 27, 2018.

    • SB 696 – [Support] Extends various reporting deadlines and the sunset date of the cesspool conversion working group established pursuant to Act 132, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018. Extends the lapse dates for funds appropriated to conduct a comprehensive statewide study of sewage contamination in nearshore marine areas and for research and technical assistance necessary for completion of the comprehensive cesspool conversion plan. FIN.

Land Use and Development

    • HB 593 – [Oppose] Authorizes the development of utility scale solar projects on class A agricultural lands, subject to certain requirements. Repeals 6/30/2025. WAM.

    • HB 1403 - [Oppose] Requires approval of a permit application submitted by a housing development project that uses moneys from the rental housing revolving fund if a county does not issue a decision on the application within sixty days, subject to certain requirements. Exempts the foregoing projects from environmental impact statement requirements until an update to administrative rules regarding exemptions to environmental impact statement requirements takes effect. WAM.

Administrative

  • HB 1171 – [Support]. WAM. DLNR-DOFAW operating budget bill that would provide $5M to programs including:

    • Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council (HISC) prevention, early detection-rapid response, control, and outreach projects;

    • Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD) research and response; and

    • Wildfire response.

  • HCR 55 - [Support] Requesting the Governor to convene a working group to make recommendations on the consolidation of state environmental functions and the establishment of a Department of the Environment. FIN.

  • HCR 198 - [Support] Requesting the Legislature to convene a working group to discuss the economic growth potential of investing in green industry initiatives. FIN.

Waste Reduction

  • Plastics

    • HB 762 – [Support] Prohibits providing straws unless requested. JDC.

    • SCR 31 – [Support] Designating the Hawaii State Capitol building and its grounds as a single-use plastic free zone. WAM.

    • SB 522 – [Support] Single-use Plastics Working Group. FIN.

  • Recycling

    • SB 893 – [Support] Prohibits counties with a population less than 500,000 from rejecting number 1 and 2 plastic bottles presented for recycling solely because the bottles are accompanied by or adjoined to nonrecyclable bottle caps. Requires and appropriates funds for the counties to separate and appropriately dispose of such nonrecyclable bottle caps. Requires the counties to include a feasibility assessment of recycling PP materials. FIN.

Common Good Coalition

  • Automatic Voter Registration

    • HB 1217 – [Support] Automatic Voter Registration for driver's license and identification card applications. JDC.

    • HB 1485 – [Support] Establishes a process for automatically preregistering or registering public school-enrolled students who are at least 16 years old.

    • SB 412 – [Support] Automatic Voter Registration for driver's license and identification card applications. FIN.

  • Taxation of Real Estate Investment Trusts

  • Social Services

    • SB 390 – [Support] Department of Agriculture to create a dollar-for-dollar match program for beneficiaries of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program who purchase Hawaii-grown produce. FIN.

Support SB1068: Na Ala Hele Funding

Like to hike? Support this bill that provides funding to the Department of Land and Natural Resources Na Ala Hele Program. Na Ala Hele is a state trail and access program that managing over 128 trails that span 850 miles throughout Hawai‘i.

SB1068 has a hearing this Friday—please submit written testimony in SUPPORT of this bill. You can copy and paste the below testimony for quick action and can submit this through your capitol account or via email to WTLtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov (make sure to include your name and contact information if submitted via email).

Sample testimony:

Subject: Testimony in support of SB1068 - WTL hearing on Friday 2/1 at 1:15pm


“Aloha Chair Kahele, Vice Chair Keith-Agaran, and members of the Senate Water and Land Committee. I’m writing in strong support of SB1068, which appropriates funding for Na Ala Hele, the State’s Trail and Access Program. Keeping up with the increasing impacts on our beloved hiking trails is a constant challenge. This bill would provide critical funds for improving access and maintaining state controlled recreational trails statewide and promoting hiker safety, hiker etiquette education, and outreach. Please support SB1068 and pass this bill.”

Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of SB1068.

Civil Beat: Fighting Climate Change Will Cost The State Millions

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says money is urgently needed to protect beaches, watersheds, native species and more.

By Nathan Eagle

Fighting the effects of climate change comes with a price tag.

Hawaii lawmakers will be considering over the next few months how much of the state’s $34 billion biennium budget should be spent on a litany of issues facing the islands as a result of global warming.

Rising sea levels are eroding prime money-making beaches, including Waikiki on Oahu and Kaanapali on Maui. Wildfires are costing more to control. And feral goats and pigs are threatening freshwater supplies, native habitats and the recovery of endangered species.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is asking the Legislature to approve millions of dollars to continue ongoing initiatives and beef up other areas related to climate change.

From left, Scott Glenn, director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control; Suzanne Case, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and Gov. David Ige listen to a presentation at the inaugural Hawaii Climate Conference earlier this week.

From left, Scott Glenn, director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control; Suzanne Case, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and Gov. David Ige listen to a presentation at the inaugural Hawaii Climate Conference earlier this week.

Director Suzanne Case presented her department’s case for additional funding Thursday before the House Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Sylvia Luke, though she dipped out after opening the meeting and let Vice Chair Ty Cullen run the show.

Lawmakers will be balancing these funding requests against a laundry list of other pressing needs facing the state, such as homelessness and public education. But land officials highlighted how many impacts of climate change affect all of the state’s 1.4 million residents and the soaring number of visitors.

DLNR already receives less than 1 percent of the state’s overall budget. For fiscal year 2020, which starts July 1, the department’s total budget request is $171.3 million, which is about a 7.6 percent increase and includes about 1,000 positions. For FY 2021, DLNR is seeking $168.8 million, about 6 percent more than this year.

And that’s only what Gov. David Ige agreed to include in his budget that he submitted in December to the Legislature. DLNR asked for much more, but its requests were whittled down to balance the overall spending plan.

When it comes to money directly relating to climate change, DLNR wants to keep Hawaii’s fledgling state climate commission running for starters.

Funding lapses in June for its sole coordinator position, currently filled by Anukriti Hittle.

The 20-member commission, which the Legislature created in 2017, has started to gain traction. It completed a monumental sea level rise report that shows how more than $20 billion in coastal buildings and roads are threatened by rising seas and increased flooding in the coming years. Now, the commission is looking at how it can put that science into management decisions.

And on Monday, the commission held the inaugural Hawaii Climate Conference, an all-day event at the East-West Center featuring expert panels and speakers.

The state wants to continue eradicating erosion-causing goats, like those in Waianae. DLNR sees it as essential to protecting watersheds.

The state wants to continue eradicating erosion-causing goats, like those in Waianae. DLNR sees it as essential to protecting watersheds.

The department is asking for $65,000 to $75,000 annually to make the climate coordinator position permanent and another $110,000 for planning and administration costs for the commission.

Sam Lemmo, who heads DLNR’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands that oversees the commission’s work, said the work that’s being done would be “severely impacted” if lawmakers don’t approve the funding.

He said it’s possible the effort would be picked up by some other entity if money isn’t appropriated, but it’s unclear who would take it up.

The House has the first stab at the overall budget, which it’s expected to draft by March and then send over to the Senate. The final differences will be negotiated in April before the legislative session wraps up May 4.

DLNR is also asking for $5.6 million in fiscal 2020 and $5 million in 2021 for watershed protection statewide.

“Immediate action is needed to secure Hawaii’s water supply,” DLNR says in its budget request. “Hotter, drier conditions and damaged watersheds are escalating the costs and conflicts over water.”

The money largely goes toward fencing that keeps hooved animals — goats, pigs, deer — out of forests and other areas important to Hawaii’s freshwater supply. The animals eat native vegetation and root around, loosening soil and increasing erosion.

Some lawmakers expressed concern over DLNR doing aerial eradication — shooting goats from helicopters — in some areas, particularly the west side of Oahu.

Wildfires, like this one along Kunia Road, are becoming more of a problem on Oahu, the result of a changing climate. DLNR is seeking money from the Legislature to bolster firefighting capabilities.

Wildfires, like this one along Kunia Road, are becoming more of a problem on Oahu, the result of a changing climate. DLNR is seeking money from the Legislature to bolster firefighting capabilities.

Rep. Cedric Gates, whose district includes Waianae, said some of his constituents had complained and that it had become quite a controversy.

Brian Nielsen, of the Division of Aquatic Resources, said the department has heard those concerns and worked to increase hunting seasons for residents and stopped shooting in certain areas.

But he said the environmental threat posed by thousands of goats remains serious and some aerial shooting will continue in remote areas that are hard to access otherwise.

“We’re seeing unprecedented amounts of erosion out there,” he said.

Gates was also worried about wildfires on the west side.

DLNR has asked for $300,000 for fire and emergency response because the cost of controlling wildland fires is trending upward with climate change. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife is responsible for 1 million acres of forested watershed (25 percent of the land in Hawaii) and works with the feds and counties for another 30 percent.

“Wildfire is increasing with climate change,” Case told lawmakers.

Rep. Nadine Nakamura, whose district includes the north and east side of Kauai, asked Case what’s being done about the rise of rapid ohia death, a fungal disease that has destroyed native forests on the Big Island and recently spread to the Garden Isle.

Some effects of climate change, such as stronger storms and more hurricanes, make it easier for such diseases to spread.

The governor’s budget included $500,000 to help DLNR respond to rapid ohia death. The department had wanted another $1.25 million for research and outreach about rapid ohia death but Ige did not include it in his request.

The restoration of beaches, a fundamental part of life in Hawaii and crucial to the visitor-based economy, was a big-ticket item in DLNR’s proposed budget.

Ige wants to add $10.4 million in fiscal 2021, including $3 million in private contributions, for the Waikiki Beach Master Plan improvements.

The Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands has completed a draft environmental assessment to replace the Royal Hawaiian groin at Waikiki Beach, and used hotel tax revenues to initiate a major project to conduct beach improvements at Waikiki Beach.

Case and her division heads will be making a similar budget pitch Friday morning before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, headed by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz.

See DLNR’s full presentation here.