Honolulu, Hawaii
                                                   , 1999

                                 RE: H.B. No. 1663
                                     H.D. 1

Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twentieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 1999
State of Hawaii


     Your Committee on Education, to which was referred H.B. No.
1663 entitled: 


begs leave to report as follows:

     The purpose of this bill is to help identify environmental
contamination by requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to
report suspicious clusters of disease or illness to the
Department of Health (DOH), which shall investigate the matter.

     Life of the Land and ten individuals submitted testimony in
support of the bill.  DOH testified in support of the intent of
the bill.

     In their testimony, several residents of Village Park
expressed grief over the large proportion of children living in
the area who are classified as having severe learning
disabilities.  Affected children have various health problems,
including gastrointestinal and reproductive problems, heart
defects, speech handicaps, and Down syndrome.  Tragically, in a
number of families several siblings are affected.

     According to Life of the Land, the Department of Health
studied the matter in 1996.  However, according to Life of the
Land, the study was not meaningful since it covered the entire
Waipahu area, and did not focus on the much smaller Village Park
area.  As a result, the incidence of special education students
in the Village Park area may have been diluted to such a degree
that it became statistically insignificant.

                                 STAND. COM. REP. NO. 673
                                 Page 2

     Testifiers also noted that there is evidence that similar
health problems among children may exist in other areas near
Village Park.

     In the discussion the matter of transmitting student
information from the DOE to DOH was raised.  The DOE noted that
the confidentiality of students must be protected, and for this
reason it may not provide the DOH with names of special education
children.  The DOE testified that it may, however, provide DOH
with the addresses of these children.  The DOE's data base allows
it to identify these students by school.  However, due to
limitations of the data base, the DOE may not be able to identify
students who live in a certain school district but who have a
geographic exemption to attend another school.

     Your Committee was moved by the testimony presented by the
residents of Village Park and the surrounding area.  Their fears
and frustrations were evident because they suspect environmental
contamination that is invisible and difficult to measure.  The
relevant government agencies have a responsibility to take action
that addresses the concerns of these residents.  This bill
creates a mechanism for the DOE and DOH to work together to
identify environmental contamination.

     In light of the testimony, your Committee has amended the
bill by:

     (1)  Requiring the DOE to provide the addresses of students
          with diseases or illnesses to the DOH when
          environmental contamination is suspected;

     (2)  Requiring the DOE to provide the DOH with the addresses
          of special education students at Holomua Elementary
          School, Kaleiopuu Elementary School, Waipahu
          Intermediate School, and Waipahu High School, along
          with other allowable information that may be relevant; 

     (3)  Requiring the DOH to use the information provided by
          the DOE to determine whether there is reason to suspect
          the presence of any environmental health hazard;

     (4)  Requiring the DOH to test the drinking water and the
          soil in the Village Park area and any area suspected of
          having environmental health hazards;

     (5)  Appropriating funds for water and soil testing; and

     (6)  Making technical, nonsubstantive revisions for purposes
          of style and clarity.

                                 STAND. COM. REP. NO. 673
                                 Page 3

     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your
Committee on Education that is attached to this report, your
Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No.
1663, as amended herein, and recommends that it be referred to
the Committee on Finance in the form attached hereto as H.B. No.
1663, H.D. 1.

                                   Respectfully submitted on
                                   behalf of the members of the
                                   Committee on Education,

                                   KEN ITO, Chair