The following is a list of some of the bills that passed in the 2014 legislative session.
TAXES AND FEES
Energy—Continues the tax increase on oil, which was scheduled to be repealed next year, until 2030. Reestablishes and delays the repeal of various energy-related funds and tax revenue allocations.
Transient Accommodations Tax—Raises the current cap on the allocation of Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) revenue to the counties to $103 million, from $93 million, for the next 2 fiscal years. Establishes a working group to determine future cap amounts and the appropriate division of responsibility for public services between the state and counties.
Car-Sharing Surcharge—Puts car-sharing rentals in their own tax category, establishing a rate of $0.25/half-hour of rental, separating it from the $3/day state surcharge for conventional rental cars.
"Alicia's Law"—Provides funds to task forces that investigate Internet crimes against children by allowing courts to impose a fee of up to $100 on convicted offenders for each felony or misdemeanor conviction for Internet crimes against children.
Human Trafficking—Establishes the Human Trafficking Victim Services Fund to provide support and services to human trafficking victims, funded by court fees imposed on persons convicted of labor trafficking and prostitution crimes.
Land Court Fees—Allows fees to be created or revised, via court rules or administrative rules, for Land Court registration, Bureau of Conveyances registration, and State Land Surveyor services.
ENVIRONMENT AND LAND USE
Shoreline Access—Uses Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) revenues to pay for the acquisition of a conservation easement in Turtle Bay to preserve public access to the shoreline and other natural resources.
State Liability—Makes permanent a 2003 law that protects the State and counties from unlimited liability associated with recreational activities that are inherently hazardous, such as hiking, on lands that are part of a state or county park system or part of the statewide trail and access systems if pre-approved warning signs are adequately posted.
Land Exchange—Requires the Legislature to approve any exchange of public land for private land proposed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Current law only allows for the disapproval of such an exchange by a two-thirds vote of the either the Senate or House.
Agricultural Enterprises—Authorizes the State to issue special purpose revenue bonds (SPRBs) to assist all agricultural enterprises in Hawaii, rather than just ones on lands designated as "important agricultural lands," contingent upon voter ratification of a State constitutional amendment.
Climate Adaptation—Establishes the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee to address the impact of sea level rises statewide. Makes the Office of Planning responsible for establishing and implementing strategic climate adaptation plans and policy recommendations.
SB2768 (Act 76, signed on May 1, 2014).
Mandatory Kindergarten—Makes kindergarten attendance mandatory for children who will be at least 5-years-old on July 31 of the school year, with certain exceptions, starting with the 2014-2015 school year.
Superintendent Salary—Raises the cap on the salary of the Department of Education superintendent to $250,000 per year, from $150,000, and requires an annual performance evaluation. Allows the Board of Education to make a portion of the salary conditional on actual performance.
SENIORS, VETERANS, AND MILITARY
HB1770 (Act 6, signed on April 7, 2014)
Veteran Status—Requires notation of veteran status on State driver's licenses and ID cards if requested by the applicant.
HOUSING, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Health Insurance Exchange—Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Health Connector, the state's health insurance exchange, to provide for its sustainability, and expands its ability generate funding. Establishes a legislative oversight committee. Changes the exchange's board of directors and requires it to submit various reports, such as sustainability reports.
Innovation Waiver—Establishes a task force to develop a health care reform plan that meets the requirements for obtaining a State Innovation Waiver, to exempt Hawaii from having to comply with certain requirements of the Affordable Care Act, such as the federally-mandated health exchange.
Kupuna Care—Appropriates funds for community-based services and programs for the elderly, including the Kupuna Care Program, and for a public education and awareness campaign on long-term care.
Kupuna Fall Prevention—Establishes and funds a new Fall Prevention and Early Detection Coordinator position to coordinate public and private fall prevention services for the elderly.
Medicaid—Allows the Department of Human Services to restore basic adult dental benefits to Medicaid enrollees.
Smoking—Prohibits smoking in public housing projects, state low-income housing projects, and elderly housing units under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, except in designated smoking areas.
Autism Coverage—Appropriates funds for an actuarial analysis of the projected costs of providing insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders.
Juvenile Offenders—Abolishes sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juveniles convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder who were under the age of 18 when the offense was committed.
Drug Treatment—Appropriates funds for drug treatment services to inmates at the Halawa Correctional Facility.
Driving—Changes the use of a mobile electronic device while driving into a traffic infraction, rather than a traffic offense that requires a court appearance, and sets the minimum fines to $250 per infraction, or $300 per infraction if in a school zone or construction area.
Civil Sex Abuse—Gives adult victims of child sexual abuse another 2 years to bring an otherwise time-barred civil suit against the perpetrator of the abuse, as well as against a legal entity that owed the victim a duty of care, including state and county entities.
Criminal Sex Abuse—Eliminates the statute of limitations for the prosecution of 1st and 2nd degree sexual assault and continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14.
Privacy—Expands the Class C felony offense of first-degree Violation of Privacy to include knowingly disclosing a photo or video of another person who is either naked or engaging in sexual conduct, without the consent of the depicted person and with intent to cause harm.
Prostitution—Clarifies that perpetrators are liable for soliciting a minor for prostitution regardless of whether or not they knew that the prostitute was under the age of 18 or an adult undercover officer. Requires that a conviction remain on the offender's permanent criminal record. Clarifies that undercover officers acting within the scope of their enforcement duties are not exempt from prosecution.
Habitual Property Crime—Requires judges to sentence habitual property crime offenders to a 5-year prison term and serve a minimum of 1 year imprisonment before becoming eligible for parole. For first convictions, the offender may be considered for a 5-year term of probation that includes 1 year at a community correctional facility.
Mental Illness—Requires courts to report involuntary civil commitments to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center so that information can be entered into the FBI's background check database for firearms permitting and registration purposes. Provides for a court-based relief program for persons federally prohibited from owning a firearm based on a finding of mental illness or civil commitment, if the person can demonstrate that he or she will likely not endanger public safety and that granting of relief would not be contrary to the public interest.
Voter Registration—Allows voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016 and same-day registration at polling places beginning in 2018. Requires Election Day registrants to sign an affidavit affirming their eligibility to vote at the polling place and that they have not and will not vote in other polling places. Allows qualified voters to contest the eligibility of those registering to vote on Election Day.
Election Fraud—Expands the Class C felony offense of election fraud to include providing false information about the details of voting; clarifies that advertisements shall not contain false information about the time, date, place, or means of voting.
GOVERNMENT AND TRANSPARENCY
Judicial Nominees—Proposes an amendment to the state Constitution that requires the list of nominees for appointment to appellate, circuit, or district courts to be made public at the same time the list is presented to the governor or chief justice.
Financial Disclosures—Requires financial disclosure statements of members of certain boards, commissions, and agencies to be made available to the public.
Financial Audits—Allows the state auditor to access to tax information for financial audits. Requires that the information be kept confidential and makes any intentional disclosure of confidential information punishable as a Class C felony.
Special Funds—Repeals various special and revolving funds and accounts that are no longer necessary or active, and transfers any unused balances to the general fund.
HB2496 (Act 74, which became law without the Governor's signature on April 30, 2014)
Labor Relations Board—Specifies that the labor representative of the Hawaii Labor Relations Board must be appointed by the governor from a list of 3 nominees mutually agreed upon by a majority of the public employee organizations.
Lobbyist Reports—Requires lobbyists and certain specified individuals to report contributions and expenditures relating to legislative action considered during a special session.
Lobbyist Reports—Requires individuals who spend more than $750 on lobbying activities during a statement period to itemize each expenditure in certain specified categories.
ECONOMY, BUSINESS, TECHNOLOGY
Minimum Wage—Increases the minimum wage every year until 2018, to $10.10/hour from the current rate of $7.25/hour. Increases the tip credit for employers every year until 2016, to $0.75/hour from the current rate of $0.25/hour.
Entrepreneurship—Updates the Hawaii State Planning Act to include policies, objectives, and priority guidelines to promote and encourage entrepreneurship, innovative activity, and investment in Hawaii's economy.
SB 2175 (Act 56, signed on April 30, 2014)
Industrial Hemp Research—Allows the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish a 2-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research program.
TOURISM AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Pacific-Asia Institute—Establishes the framework for an institute that would address physical, social, and economic risks and vulnerabilities of the Pacific-Asia region, including: regional security, public health, climate change, and economic growth.
For a complete list of bills that passed, visit the Reports and Lists page of capitol.hawaii.gov.