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Governor signs slate of bills

(Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office)

(Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office)

MEDIA RELEASE

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed House Bill 849 (Act 111), a measure that updates the state’s emergency management statues, including clarification of the relationship between state and county emergency management agencies and the emergency management functions and powers of the governor and mayors.

The bill was introduced in the 2013 legislative session and updates laws more than 60 years old that were primarily focused on nuclear attack and civil unrest.

“This measure will ensure that the state is better prepared for all catastrophic events, both natural and manmade, in safeguarding the people of Hawaii,” Abercrombie said. “In addition, this act will better integrate state and county disaster response planning and reorganizes the authorities and responsibilities of government leaders, providing the public with increased clarity during difficult and uncertain circumstances.”

The signing of this bill also changes the name of State Civil Defense to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii was the last state to retain the use of civil defense in reference to its emergency management agency.

This change brings Hawaii in line with modern best practices and updates the outdated language and references used in prior statutes.

Act 111 also establishes an Emergency Reserve Corps and authorizes the 24/7 State Warning Point, both critical increases in the state’s readiness to respond to hazards.

It does not significantly change the governor’s emergency powers, but it does vest county mayors with emergency authorities independent of the state emergency management structure.

Governor Signs 5 Bills Relating to Energy

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed five energy-related measures (Acts 106 to 110) that address solar energy device warranties or guarantees, the energy systems development fund, the Public Utilities Commission, modernization of the electric grid and a car-sharing vehicle surcharge tax.

“We spend billions of dollars a year on imported oil,” Abercrombie said. “Let’s keep our money within the state by investing in clean, renewable energy development that will reduce carbon emissions in the process, helping to mitigate climate change. These bills are critical to Hawaii’s future and demonstrate our commitment to a more sustainable state for our residents.”

Senate Bill 2657 (Relating to Renewable Energy) requires contractors installing solar energy devices to notify private entities that installation may void roofing warranties or guarantees and to obtain written approval and follow written instructions for waterproofing roof penetrations from the roof manufacturer, unless the private entity forgoes the roofing warranty or guarantee.

The measure also requires a roofing contractor that waterproofs roof penetrations related to the installation of a solar energy device to honor the roof warranty or guarantee.

Senate Bill 2196 (Relating to Energy) reestablishes the energy systems development special fund that was repealed on June 30, 2013. The measure also extends the allocation of revenues collected from the environmental response, energy and food security tax, also known as the “barrel tax,” to various special funds from 2015 to 2030.

Senate Bill 2948 (Relating to the Public Utilities Commission) transfers the administrative placement of the Commission from the Department of Budget and Finance to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and clarifies its authority to concerning standard administrative practices, including operational expenditures and hiring personnel. The measure also enables the commission chair to appoint, employ and dismiss an executive, fiscal and personnel officer.

House Bill 1943 (Modernization of the Hawaii Electric System) amends the Public Utilities Commission principles regarding the modernization of the electric grid.

Senate Bill 2731 (Relating to a Car-sharing Vehicle Surcharge Tax) establishes a car-sharing vehicle surcharge tax.

Governor Signs 10 Bills Relating to Criminal Justice

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed 10 criminal justice-related measures (Acts 112 to 121) addressing sex abuse, prostitution, crimes against children, violation of privacy, domestic violence, property crime, human trafficking, parking violations and law enforcement misconduct.

“As I said in my State of the State Address in January, ‘Crimes against our common humanity will not be tolerated in Hawaii,’” Abercrombie said. “I commend the Legislature for addressing many areas of criminal justice as we work together to protect our citizens, especially our keiki.”

Senate Bill 2687 (Relating to Limitation of Actions) extends the period by an additional two years that a victim of child sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against an abuser or entity with a duty or care, including the state and counties.

House Bill 2034 (Relating to Sexual Assault) removes the statute of limitations for criminal actions of sexual assault in the first and second degrees, as well as the continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14.

House Bill 1926 (Relating to Crime) amends the offense of solicitation of a minor for prostitution and the offense of prostitution to include sadomasochistic abuse under the definition of sexual conduct, including clarification that a law enforcement officer shall not be exempt from the offense while acting in the course and scope of duties. This measure also amends the applicability of a deferred acceptance of a guilty or nolo contendere plea and clarifies sentencing of repeat offenders and enhanced sentences for repeat violent and sexual offenders.

Senate Bill 702 (Relating to Child Abuse), known as “Alicia’s Law,” establishes an internet crimes against children special fund and an internet crimes against children fee of up to $100 for each felony or misdemeanor conviction. Fees will be deposited into the special fund, which will be used by the Department of the Attorney General to combat internet crimes against children. This measure also appropriates $62,500 into the new special fund.

House Bill 1750 (Relating to Public Order) expands the offense of violation of privacy in the first degree to include the disclosure of an image or video of another identifiable person either in the nude or engaging in sexual conduct without the consent of the depicted person with intent to harm substantially the depicted person.

House Bill 1993 (Relating to Domestic Violence) requires a police officer to make a reasonable inquiry of witnesses or household members when physical abuse or harm is suspected and order a no-contact period of 48 hours. This measure also makes the commission of physical abuse in the presence of a family or household member under the age of 14 a class C felony.

House Bill 2205 (Relating to Crime) imposes a mandatory minimum term of one year imprisonment upon conviction of habitual property crime and authorizes probation only for a first conviction.

House Bill 2038 (Relating to Human Trafficking) establishes the human trafficking victims services fund to be administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide support and services to human trafficking victims. This measure also imposes human trafficking victim fees to be imposed upon persons convicted of labor trafficking and prostitution offenses.

House Bill 1706 (Relating to Illegal Parking Upon Bikeways) sets a fixed fine of $200 for parking a vehicle on a bicycle lane or pathway.

Senate Bill 2591 (Relating to Law Enforcement), requires additional information from county police departments in their annual report to the Legislature of misconduct incidents that resulted in the suspension or discharge of an officer. This measure also allows the disclosure of certain information regarding officer misconduct in cases that result in discharge, after 90 days have passed following the issuance of the decision.

Governor Signs Bills in Support of Agriculture

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed six agriculture- and land-related measures that address agricultural enterprises, invasive species, makeup of the state Land Board, and clarifications to the agricultural cost tax credit.

“Agriculture is a crucial component of our state’s sustainability, essential to keeping our dollars here in Hawaii and supporting thriving rural communities,” Abercrombie said. “These bills are important for the defense of our unique ecosystem, natural resources and economy. It is also our duty to care and protect the land beneath our feet, which gives us life and defines our culture.”

House Bill 1931 (Relating to Agriculture) appropriates $360,000 to the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, to research and develop methods for the prevention and treatment of macadamia felted coccid.

House Bill 2464 (Relating to Tax Credits) clarifies language relating to the important agricultural land qualified agricultural cost tax credit.

House Bill 1716 (Making an Appropriation for Invasive Species Prevention, Control, Outreach, Research, and Planning) appropriates $5 million to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.

House Bill 737 (Relating to Special Purpose Revenue Bonds to Assist Agricultural Enterprises) allows the state to issue special purpose revenue bonds for all agricultural enterprises, instead of just those serving important agricultural lands, dependent on the ratification of a constitutional amendment.

House Bill 1618 (Relating to the Composition of the Board of Land and Natural Resources) requires at least one member of the board to have expertise in native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices, other than the member appointed for having a background in conservation and natural resources.

House Bill 1514 (Relating to Agriculture) combats the coffee berry borer by appropriating $500,000 to create a subsidy program for the purchase of pesticides containing Beauveria bassiana until June 30, 2019.

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