By HJCC Government Affairs Committee (GAC) Chair Peter Hamasaki and Vice Chair Paul Saito
The following briefly summarizes a few measures enacted during the 2018 Hawaiʻi Legislative Sessions that may be of potential interest to the business community.
- Act 61, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (House Bill No. 2610, House Draft 2, Senate Draft 1, Conference Draft 1), relating to the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), was passed by the Legislature and appropriates $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2018-2019 for HTDC’s manufacturing grant program.
- Act 68, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (House Bill No. 1958, House Draft 1, Senate Draft 1, Conference Draft 1), relating to the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, which authorizes and appropriates $1,500,000 for HTDC grants for the small business innovation research program.
- Act 67, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (House Bill No. 2075, House Draft 2, Senate Draft 1, Conference Draft 1), relating to energy, which appropriates $1,000,000 for HTDC to make 50% matching grants to Hawaii awardees of Office of Naval Research alternative energy research grants.
- Act 141, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (Senate Bill No. 3000, Senate Draft 2, House Draft 1, Conference Draft 1), relating to innovation business, which establishes the research and development program within HTDC ad appropriates $1,000,000 for the program.
- House Concurrent Resolution No. 97/House Resolution No. 78, requests the development of a state information technology strategic plan to include data goals and objectives, was passed by the Legislature. HJCC submitted testimony in support of these resolutions to implement the recommendations of State of Hawaiʻi Auditor Report No. 09-06.
- Act 109, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (Senate Bill No. 2990 Senate Draft 2, House Draft 2, Conference Draft 1), relating to family leave, requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct and complete a sunrise analysis to assist the Legislature in determining the most appropriate framework or model for the establishment of paid family leave for the State and relative potential impacts and safeguard measure, by September 1, 2019. This bill was among several bills relating to family leave considered by the 2018 Legislature. A number of business associations had concerns about prior versions of this and other bills that immediately implemented a family leave program and urged the Legislature to conduct a comprehensive study before doing so.
- Act 217, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (Senate Bill No. 2461, Senate Draft 1, House Draft 1, Conference Draft 1) relating to service animals, prohibits discrimination against a person who is assisted by a service animal and clarifies that the definition of a service animal “means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” Adds a civil penalty for a person to knowingly misrepresenting an animal as a service animal. Conforms Hawaii law with the definition of “service animal” under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Also suggests that asking questions to determine the specific training and purpose of the service animal is not a violation of the ADA.
- Act 162, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (House Bill No. 2375, House Draft 1, Senate Draft 1) relating to temporary disability insurance, permits advanced practice registered nurses to certify an employee’s disability. Increases the penalty an employer is assessed for failing to submit timely wage and employment information. Permits filing of an appeal of a decision related to temporary disability insurance at the various offices of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations throughout the State. Allows the department to send notices of hearing electronically or by first-class mail. Clarifies that when the notice of hearing cannot be delivered to a party in the appeal, the notice may be given by online posting on the department’s webpage. Allows the parties to a hearing to appear in person, via telephone, or by other communication devices.
- Act 111, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (Senate Bill No. 2340, Senate Draft 2, House Draft 1, Conference Draft 1), relating to health insurance, ensures certain benefits under the federal Affordable Care Act are preserved under Hawaii law, including: extending dependent coverage for adult children up to 26 years of age; prohibiting health insurance entities from imposing a preexisting condition exclusion; and prohibiting health insurance entities from using an individual’s gender to determine premiums or contributions.
- Act 108, 2018 Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (Senate Bill No. 2351, Senate Draft 1, House Draft 1, Conference Draft 1) relating to equal pay, prohibits prospective employers from requesting or considering a job applicant’s wage or salary history as part of an employment application process or compensation offer. Prohibits enforced wage secrecy and retaliation or discrimination against employees who disclose, discuss, or inquire about their own or coworkers’ wages.