KokuaNews_icon Kōkua Blog

2018 Legislative Bills to Watch

February 02, 2018
By: KHF Staff

The 2018 legislative session has just kicked off, and there are some great bills we hope you will support!

 

To submit testimony and show your support for these bills, go to www.capitol.hawaii.gov and follow these directions:

  1. Sign in or create new account in upper right corner

  2. Search for bill number (no spaces) in the Bill Status/Measure Status box on left. Click "go".

  3. Click the blue "Submit Testimony" button.

  4. Click "Get Hearing"

  5. Follow directions on submitting and uploading.

We highly suggest you sign on for “Hearing Notifications” from the home page, and type in the bill numbers you’d like to follow. Once submitted, you will get email notifications about upcoming hearings on those bills so you can submit written testimony and deliver oral testimony when possible.

 

Farm to School

  • HB2156 & SB2387: Establishes and expands the Farm to School program with two staff positions in the Hawaii Department of Education School Food Services Branch

    • HB2156 Status

      • Referred to EDN, AGR, FIN

      • 1/31/18 EDN recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS

      • Hearings with FIN not yet scheduled as of 2/8/18.

      • Passed Second Reading as amended in HD 1 and referred to the committee(s) on AGR

      • Bill scheduled to be heard by AGR on Wednesday, 02-14-18 8:30AM in House conference room 312

      • The committees on AGR recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS.

    • SB2387 Status:

      • Referred to EDU/AEN, WAM; 

      • 2/7/18 AEN recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS.

      • 2/7/18 EDU recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS.

      • Reported from EDU/AEN (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 2372) with recommendation of passage on Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referral to WAM.

    • Talking Points

      • The Department of Education has demonstrated immense success with Phase I of the Farm to School program piloted in the Kohala Complex on Hawaii island. In order for the benefits of agriculture and nutrition education and fresh local meals to be expanded to all DOE schools, formalization of a Farm to School program is necessary.

      • This bill takes necessary steps toward formalizing the DOE’s participation in and support of the Farm to School program in order to ensure sufficient support and manpower for expanding the Farm to School program across all islands in Hawaii.

  • HB2497 & SB2928: Establishes a Farm to School grant pilot program within the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to provide grants to schools, early care and education centers, nonprofits, soil and water conservation districts, and food producers participating in the Hawaii farm to school program.

    • HB2497 Status: Passed Second Reading as amended in HD 1 and referred to the committee(s) on EDN with none voting aye with reservations;

    • SB2928 Status: Report adopted; Passed Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referred to WAM.

  • Talking Points

    • The Department of Agriculture has demonstrated success with their Farm to School program established in 2015.

    • With little to no budget the Farm to School Coordinator has demonstrated the immense potential of this program to have long term, revolutionary change within our schools and for our students. The program and position should clearly be renewed as Farm to School activities continue to grow statewide.

    • The Department of Agriculture and Department of Education cannot shoulder the full weight of this program on their own. There needs to be support for the community members, institutions, and lands that will provide the food, the off-site education, and healthy, dynamic watersheds that will make up the foundation for the growing Farm to School network. A grant program will be essential to building that support.

School Composting

  • HB2025: Relating to Resource Recovery - Authorizes the Department of Education to issue grants to establish a composting grant pilot project in Department of Education schools. Establishes a composting grant pilot project working group. Requires report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds.

    • HB2025 Status:

      • Referred to EEP, EDN, FIN

      • The committee on EEP recommend that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED.

      • Reported from EEP, recommending passage on Second Reading and referral to EDN.

      • Passed Second Reading and referred to the committee(s) on EDN.

      • Bill scheduled to be heard by EDN on Wednesday, 02-14-18 2:10PM in House conference room 309.

      • The committees on EDN recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS.

    • Talking Points

      • The Windward Zero Waste Hui and the Kokua Hawaii Foundation have enabled schools to successfully demonstrate the enormous educational, environmental, and fiscal benefit to Hawaii through school composting initiatives.

      • The Department of Education would be able to drastically reduce its dumpster pickup and amend waste collection contracts if more schools participated in onsite composting.

      • School composting allows for real life application of numerous STEM concepts and educational learning standards.

      • School composting models have shown the most success when thoroughly managed and supported, which requires grant funding to hire support staff. Support staff are able to ensure proper management of compost operations, assist with student involvement and support learning objectives.

Plastic Pollution

  • SB2498 & HB1937 Statewide polystyrene foam bans introduced as companion bills on both the Senate and House side. Prohibits the sale and use of polystyrene foam containers statewide.

    • SB2498 Status:

      • Passed First Reading

      • Referred to AEN, CPH

      • The committee(s) on AEN recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS.

      • 2/6/17 Report adopted; Passed Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referred to CPH.

      • Hearings with CPN not yet scheduled as of 2/16/18.

    • HB1937 Status:

      • Passed First Reading

      • Referred to EEP/HHS, CPC, FIN

      • Hearings with EEP/HHS, CPC, FIN not yet scheduled as of 2/16/18

    • Talking Points

      • Foam containers and fragments are one of the most common forms of litter found in Hawaii.

      • Foam containers are, by design, ultra-light and easily escape trash collection efforts and containment allowing them to escape into the environment.

      • Once in the environment, foam quickly gets eaten by avian and marine creatures who mistake it for food. Animals who feed on foam and other plastics eventually choke, starve, or are poisoned by the toxicity of the plastic foam pieces. These toxins remain in our food chain, eventually eaten by humans who consume seafood.

      • The extreme detriment to our visible landscapes and the health of our ecosystems demands that we act with urgency to remove this form of plastic from our supply chains.

      • Readily available, non-toxic alternatives provide for a smooth, non-disruptive shift for local businesses.

  • SB801: Prohibiting procurement of plastic water bottles by the State.

    • SB801 Status

      • No hearings scheduled as of 2/16/18.

      • Check bill status page for updates.

    • Talking Points

      • The State of Hawaii is comprised of a large number of agencies with immense purchasing power.

      • The impact of single-use, plastic water bottles on the environment, and our waste management infrastructure is well documented, costing multiple millions of dollars annually for collection, processing, shipping, recycling, and litter management.

      • The State has a responsibility to demonstrate responsible stewardship of the land and to ensure it is not contributing to conditions which are environmentally and fiscally harmful, so its procurement policies must reflect this.

      • Recommend that this bill go further in discussing solutions and alternatives, since this would be a large shift in procurement policies. Ex. Purchase of durable water coolers, and reusable cups/containers. Training and reminders to utilize reusable containers and water filters.

  • SB2127: Prohibits procurement of beverages in plastic bottles or rigid plastic containers by the State

    • SB2127 Status

      • Passed first reading

      • Referred to GVO/AEN, WAM; no hearings scheduled as of 2/16/18.

      • Check bill status page for updates.

    • Talking Points

      • The State of Hawaii is comprised of a large number of agencies with immense purchasing power.

      • The impact of single-use, plastic beverage containers on the environment, and our waste management infrastructure is well documented, costing multiple millions of dollars annually for collection, processing, shipping, recycling, and litter management.

      • The State has a responsibility to demonstrate responsible stewardship of the land and to ensure it is not contributing to conditions which are environmentally and fiscally harmful, so its procurement policies must reflect this.

      • Recommend that this bill go further in discussing solutions and alternatives, since this would be a large shift in procurement policies. Ex. Purchase of durable water coolers, and reusable cups/containers. Investment in dispenser and reusable bottle collection systems, which there are multiple, global models for in existence.

  • HB2285: A full ban on plastic straws at restaurants. Prohibits the distribution and selling of plastic straws. Establishes a fine and requires individual and business violators to pick up litter or perform community service.

    • HB2285 Status

      • Referred to AEN, JDC/WAM.

      • The committee(s) on AEN has scheduled a public hearing on 01-31-18 1:15PM in conference room 224.

      • The committee(s) on AEN recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. Report adopted; Passed Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referred to JDC/WAM. 

      • No hearings with JDC/WAM scheduled as of 2/16/18.

      • Check bill status page for updates.

    • Talking Points

      • 500 million straws are used and trashed every day in the United States.

      • Similar to foam containers, plastic straws are near impossible to keep contained in trash cans and collection vehicles, so they quickly make their way into the environment where animals choke on them.

      • As these are non-essential, convenience items that cause immense damage in the environment, they are a reasonable target for single-use plastic policies limiting distribution.

  • HB2107: Plastic Free Hawaii Initiative bill. Establishes the Plastic Free Hawaii Advisory Council to collect data regarding plastic pollution and provide recommendations to eliminate plastic waste. Appropriates funds.

    • HB2107 Status

      • Referred to EEP, FIN, referral sheet 7.

      • 2/8/18 The committees on EEP recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS.

      • Reported from EEP (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 391-18) as amended in HD 1, recommending passage on Second Reading and referral to FIN.

      • Passed Second Reading as amended in HD 1 and referred to the committee(s) on FIN

    • Talking Points

      • Recommend amending name of bill to "Plastic Pollution Task Force," as Kokua Hawaii Foundation program already bears the name "Plastic Free Hawaii"

      • Support intentions of bill to create a task force to gather data, quantify impact of plastic pollution.

      • We cannot manage what we do not measure. Gathering formal, legitimate data will be necessary to making informed decisions about the future of plastic import and use in Hawaii.

      • A statewide plan to address the issues of plastic pollution and marine debris in Hawaiʻi is critical to protect our ecosystems, to mitigate impacts on the tourism industry, and to achieve waste reduction. This plan can include guidance on legislation, education, and programs to address plastic pollution and marine debris in the state of Hawaiʻi.

Food Waste, Food Donation, Food Safety

  • SB2554 - "Best By" Act (Gabbard, Ref AB 954): Requires the department of health to publish information that encourages food manufacturers, processors, and retailers to use standard terminology that clarifies food safety and quality dates when labeling food products.

    • SB2554 Status

      • Passed first reading.

      • Referred to CPH, WAM.

      • The committee(s) on CPH has scheduled a public hearing on 02-08-18 8:30AM in conference room 229. 

      • The committee on CPH deferred the measure.

    • Brief Talking Points

      • To reduce food waste and help consumers make informed decisions when making food purchases, SB2554 creates standardized guidelines for food date labels that better describe food freshness and safety.

      • Misinterpretation of the date labels on foods is a key factor leading to food waste in American households. Surveys show that a vast majority of consumers discard food prematurely as a result of misinterpreting food date labels. The lack of standardization around date labels makes it impossible to educate consumers on their meaning.

      • Confusion around date labels also contributes to industry food waste. A grocery manufacturing industry report concluded that about $900 million worth of dated product is removed from the shelves before ever reaching consumers, even though those dates are not always associated with expiration, food safety or freshness.

      • Inconsistent and unclear food labeling also contributes to wasted food that would have otherwise gone to hungry Hawaii. Some food banks have policies to turn away food that has gone past its food date label out of fear that the food may be spoiled or a health hazard to their guests.

      • National industry leaders, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, recently opted to create voluntary date label guidelines using this exact model to date their products.

      • Standardizing the language on date labels with uniform phrases and definitions is the foundation for educating consumers on the meaning of labels, which will lead to reduced food waste.

  • HB 1806 - Hawaii Good Samaritan Food Donation Act: Expands liability protection for donors to include donations of food and similar donations made directly to needy persons. Authorizes the donation of food past sell by dates when the donor believes in good faith that the food remains fit for human consumption.

    • HB 1806 Status

      • 1/25/18 - The committees on HHS recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS.

      • 1/31/18 - Reported from HHS (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 9-18) as amended in HD 1, recommending passage on Second Reading and referral to JUD.

      • 1/31/18 - Passed Second Reading as amended in HD 1 and referred to the committee(s) on JUD with none voting aye with reservations; none voting no (0) and Representative(s) C. Lee, Ward excused (2). (Updated 2/2/18)

      • Bill scheduled to be heard by JUD on Thursday, 02-15-18 2:00PM in House conference room 325.

      • The committees on JUD recommend that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED.

    • Talking Points

      • Despite existing food donation protections, much of the wholesome surplus food in the state is discarded. A survey conducted by the Waste Reduction Alliance found that 44% of manufacturers, 41% of restaurants and 25% of retailers identified fear of liability as their primary barrier to food donation.

      • 14% of Hawaiian residents are food insecure and wasted food in landfills accounts for methane production; a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

      • Current law lacks clarity in some provisions and is limited in scope. There are limitations in the federal Good Samaritan Act and in Hawaii law.

      • This bill will: explicitly state that donated food which has exceeded the sell-by date is subject to liability protection.

      • Provide liability protection for donations made directly to end-users.

      • Provide liability protection to gleaners.

      • In order to provide education and awareness, Environmental Health Officers will be required to promote Good Samaritan laws through newsletters, bulletins, and handouts.

      • By more explicitly stating what kinds of food donations are currently protected under Good Samaritan laws, many potential donors will feel reassured that they are, in fact, protected.

Hawaii Sustainability Office

  • HB2547 and SB2709: Companion bills in the Senate and House that establish sustainability goals for the State. Establishes and appropriates funds for an Office of Sustainability.

    • HB2547 Status

      • Referred to EEP, EDB, FIN, referral sheet 9.

      • EEP recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS..

      • Reported from EEP (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 150-18) as amended in HD 1, recommending passage on Second Reading and referral to EDB.

      • Bill scheduled to be heard by EDB on Wednesday, 02-14-18 9:30AM in House conference room 309.

      • The committees on EDB recommend that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED.

    • SB2709 Status

      • Referred to GVO, WAM.

      • No hearings scheduled as of 2/8/18.

      • Check bill status page for updates.

    • Talking Points

      • Without formalized goals and milestones for creating a long-sustaining Hawaii, then there is no hope for cohesive strategy.

      • As we in Hawaii face an uncertain future of a changing climate, rising sea levels, the reduction of our fresh water, more frequent extreme weather events, excessive pollution, ocean acidification, and bleaching corals, establishing a State Office of Sustainability and a Hawaii Sustainability Act makes sense to help coordinate and prepare our state toward Hawaii’s sustainable future.

Comments