2017 Legislative Report Card

Legislators We Applaud

We reviewed every legislator in the State Capitol and rated their performance in the 2017 session based on their courage to defend the environment. We’d like to highlight a few of those legislators we’ve deemed eco-warriors and encourage you to investigate how the representative and senator in your district has measured up to help protect the environment and the people who depend on it!


Sen. Stanley Chang

Senate District 9 - Hawai‘i Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Aina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala, Diamond Head 


Sen. Mike Gabbard

Senate District 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, Portions of Ewa, Kalaeloa and Waipahu


Sen. Josh Green

Senate District 3 -Kona, Ka‘u


Sen. Breene Harimoto

Senate District 16 - Pearl City, Momilani, Pearlridge, ‘Aiea, Royal Summit, ‘Aiea Heights, Newtown, Waimalu, Halawa, Pearl Harbor


Sen. Les Ihara, Jr.

Senate District 10 - Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, St. Louis Heights, Maunalani Heights, Moiliili, Ala Wai


Rep. Kaniela Ing

House District 11 - Kihei, Wailea, Makena


Rep. Aaron Johanson

House District 31 - Moanalua, Red Hill, Foster Village, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Moanalua Gardens, Aliamanu, Lower Pearlridge

Chris Lee_ 9.jpg

Rep. Chris Lee

House District 51 - Kailua, Waimanalo 


Rep. Matt LoPresti

House District 41 - Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei & Ocean Pointe 


Rep. Nicole Lowen

House District 6 - Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau


Sen. Karl Rhoads

Senate District 13 - Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Pālama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown


Sen. Gil Riviere

Senate District 23 - Kunia, Schofield Barracks, Mokulē‘ia, Waialua, Hale‘iwa, Kawailoa, Waimea, Pūpūkea, Kawela, Kahuku, La‘ie, Hau‘ula, Punalu‘u, Ka‘a‘awa, Kualoa, Waikane, Waiahole, Kāne‘ohe


Sen. Russell Ruderman

Senate District 2 - Kea‘au, Pahoa, Kalapana, Kapoho, Kurtistown, Mountain View, Glenwood, Volcano, Pahala


Rep. Cynthia Thielen

House District 50 - Kailua, Kaneohe Bay


Sen. Laura Thielen

Senate District 25 - Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock


Sen. Glenn Wakai

Senate District 15 - Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam, Pearl Harbor


The following bills have been passed through the legislature and have either been signed into law or vetoed by Governor Ige.

  • Carbon Farming Task Force (HB1578/Act 033): Seeks to find the right mechanisms for encouraging agricultural practices that sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

    • Act 033 RELATING TO CLIMATE CHANGE: Establishes the Carbon Farming Task Force within the Office of Planning to identify agricultural and aquacultural practices to improve soil health and promote carbon sequestration in the State’s agricultural and aquacultural sectors. Appropriates funds.

  • Staff & Funds for Hawaii’s Climate Commission (SB559/Act 032): Provides staff and funding for ongoing, statewide, cross-agency collaboration on climate change adaptation and mitigation planning.

    • Act 032 RELATING TO CLIMATE CHANGE: Requires the State to expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris Agreement. Renames the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee as the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission. Clarifies the duties of the Commission. Repeals the Commission effective 7/1/2022. Makes appropriations for purposes of this Act and a climate change mitigation and adaptation coordinator position.

  • Ban on Cesspools (HB1244/Act 125): Phases out cesspools by 2050, expands tax credit to homeowners.

    • Act 125 RELATING TO CESSPOOLS: Requires upgrade, conversion, or sewer connection of all cesspools in the State before 2050 unless exempted. Broadens eligibility criteria for tax credit to offset costs. Requires the Department of Health to investigate existing cesspools, assess incentive programs, and report to the Legislature

  • Slow Aquarium Fish Collecting (SB1240/vetoed): Phases out commercial aquarium collection trade and trafficking of reef wildlife from Hawaiian waters. Vetoed from the Governor’s desk.

    • RELATING TO AQUATIC LIFE: Requires DLNR to submit proposed legislation to the legislature by the 2019 regular session including a definition of "sustainable", a policy for sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, a process for determining limits on collection practices of near shore aquatic life, and any additional resources required by the department. Prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits. Prohibits transfer of current permits subject to certain provisions. Prohibits renewal of permits that have not been renewed for five or more years.


The following bills have stalled either in the house or senate, but made good progress. We will be supporting these bills in the 2018 session (see Bill Priorities here).

  • 100% Clean Transportation by 2045 (HB1580): Establishes goals for fossil-fuel-free ground transportation for Hawaii.

    • RELATING TO ENERGY: Establishes a clean ground transportation benchmark framework to maximize consumer fuel savings, including a near term 2025 target encouraging electric vehicle infrastructure buildout supporting Hawaii's goal for the reduction and ultimate elimination of the use of imported fuels for ground transportation by 2045. Directs the department of transportation to collaborate with the state energy office to develop recommendations to achieve those benchmarks. Amends the definition of electric vehicle to include fuel cell electric vehicles. Effective 7/1/2050.

  • Ban on Harmful Sunscreens (SB1150…..) COMING SOON

  • Red Hill (SB1259): requires the Department of Health to adopt rules for underground storage tanks and tank systems to conform with certain federal regulations.

    • RELATING TO UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS: Requires, on or before 9/1/2018, that the department of health adopt rules for underground storage tanks and tank systems to conform with certain federal regulations and that include additional requirements for field-constructed underground storage tanks and tank systems.


The following bills would have undermined public trust natural resources. We will need to keep a close eye on these again in 2018.

  • Public Land Giveaway (HB1469): aims to remove the 65-year limit on leases of public lands and allow special re-development districts to “supercede” existing land-use laws.

    • RELATING TO PUBLIC LANDS: Establishes procedures for designating public land redevelopment districts, planning committees, district redevelopment plans, and designated redevelopment district revolving funds. Establishes powers and duties of planning committees. Modifies public land lease restrictions. Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee, and Revolving Fund until June 30, 2027. Appropriates funds. Carried over to 2018 regular session.

  • Water Monopoly (HB1536): aims to exempt distributions of irrigation water from government oversight, removing protections against poor service and unfair rates.

    • RELATING TO IRRIGATION: Clarifies that the BOA has the power to acquire property by eminent domain for the construction and maintenance of water facilities that convey, distribute, and transmit water for agricultural uses, but not for domestic use. Amends the definition of "public utility" to exclude entities that convey, transmit, and distribute nonpotable water. Takes effect on 1/7/2059. Carried over to 2018 regular session.