Honolulu, Hawaii
                                                     , 1999

                                   RE:  H.B. No. 159
                                        H.D. 2
                                        S.D. 1

Honorable Norman Mizuguchi
President of the Senate
Twentieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 1999
State of Hawaii


     Your Committee on Labor and Environment, to which was
referred H.B. No. 159, H.D. 2, entitled: 


begs leave to report as follows:

     The purpose of this measure is to amend the Whistleblowers'
Protection Act to expand the areas of protected conduct and the
types of reportable violations.

     This measure also strengthens the remedies available to
whistleblowers and increases the penalties for violators.

     Testimony in support of this measure was received from
Common Cause Hawaii, the American Civil Liberties Union of
Hawaii, the ILWU Local 142, and the Hawaii State Teachers
Association.  Testimony supporting the measure with amendments
was received from the Hawaii Nurses Association, the Hawaii
Chapter American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and two
individuals.  Testimony in opposition to the measure was received
from the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and the Society for Human
Resource Management.

     Your Committee finds that whistleblowers serve a vital and
positive function in government and society.  Current law
protecting whistleblowers, however, does not adequately protect
the whistleblower from retaliation by the employer.  This measure

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is necessary to improve and strengthen existing whistleblower
protection in Hawaii.

     Your Committee also finds that, within the health care
industry, managed care, cost-containment initiatives, down-
sizing, and de-skilling practices are affecting the ability of
nurses to provide safe, quality nursing care as required by state
law, standards of clinical practice, and the Code for Nurses.
Your Committee also finds that nurses oftentimes face retaliation
and intimidation if they are critical of their employers health
care practices.  Your Committee strongly believes that nurses and
other health care practitioners must be afforded the same
whistleblower protections as other employees within the State.

     Your Committee has amended this measure by:

     (1)  Adding a definition of "improper quality of patient
          care" and included these practices under the
          Whistleblowers' Protection Act; and

     (2)  Increasing the time period for filing a claim to two

     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your
Committee on Labor and Environment that is attached to this
report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose
of H.B. No. 159, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommends that
it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B.
No. 159, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on

                                   Respectfully submitted on
                                   behalf of the members of the
                                   Committee on Labor and

                                   BOB NAKATA, Chair

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