March 9, 1999
Contact: Rep. Ed Case
Phone: 586-8475


The House of Representatives today was expected to give final approval on hundreds of non-fiscal bills in order to meet the Thursday, March 11, deadline for transmitting bills to the Senate. Counting fiscal measures and previously adopted bills, the House will pass out an estimated 300 bills by the deadline, according to Rep. Ed Case (D - Manoa), House Majority Leader.

Budget-related measures, including the House budget bills, will be considered by the full House on March 11 and will meet the deadline for crossover to the Senate, Case said.

"It's been a very tough year because of our fiscal situation," Case said. "But I believe we have addressed directly the many changes we can and should effect. From the beginning, we have been focused and committed to basic change and have promoted legislation aimed at business revitalization, government efficiency, infrastructure development, educational enhancements, public safety, human services and other vital areas, provided those bills met our stern test of fiscal responsibility. Our legislative product to date meets these goals."

Earlier in the day, Finance Committee Chair Rep. Dwight Takamine (D - North Hilo, Hamakua), briefed reporters on the House biennium budget, which reduces the Governor's proposed budget by $130 million over two years. Only education and higher education received increased appropriations.

Case said the measures to be adopted carry out the wishes of citizens who want government to change, become more efficient and responsive, and look out for those in the greatest need. In summary, Case said the House Majority is advocating a number of related House Bills (HB), including:

Economic Development: Business, Tourism, Agriculture

HB 375 Exempts exported professional services from the General Excise Tax (GET) and levels the playing field with imported professional services

HB 119 Provides tax credits for investment in capital goods

HB 134 Disallows Workers' Comp claims for stress due to good faith personnel actions taken by management

HB 231 Reduces corporate income and franchise taxes

HB 232 Implements a seven-year phase out of the GET for intermediary services

HB 133 Funds Small Business Defender position created by the 1998 Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act

HB 136 Provides tax credits for renovation/construction of hotel and resort properties

HB 1280 Strengthens Agribusiness Development Corp. to improve joint efforts to develop, promote and market Hawaii-grown crops

HB 32 Allows privately funded, federally approved research on industrial hemp

Education: Public Schools and the University of Hawaii (UH) System

HB 185 Funds efforts to reduce class sizes

HB 151 Funds teacher education programs through UH

HB 287 Funds a peer education program

HB 149 Proposes to convert to an appointed Board of Education

HB 250 & 833 Expands previously approved autonomy for UH by allowing it to borrow up to $10 million from financial institutions to accomplish its mission

HB 336 Facilitates importing of micro-organisms for microbiological research

Public Safety

HB 157, 531, & 789 Provides funds for alternatives to incarceration

HB 156 Authorizes construction of a new prison using either public or private financing

HB 885 Requires person at the scene of a serious crime or emergency to render basic assistance (expands Good Samaritan Law)

HB 273 Increases penalties for child abusers

HB 1003 Increases penalties for repeat misdemeanor offenders

HB 286 Enhances penalties for speeding in school zones

HB 167 Implements a graduated driver's license for teenage drivers

Health and Human Services

HB 174 Appropriates state matching funds to increase children's health insurance (CHIPS)

HB 170 Provides tax credit for premiums paid on long-term care policies

HB 1008 Provides for state use of tobacco settlement funds

HB 171 Confirms and clarifies a person's legal right to direct his/her own health care

HB 1004 Changes legal standards for manslaughter in response to the Rueben Buentipo case

HB 166 Enhances a mother's ability to breast feed or express milk in the work place

HB 532 Implements full gender equity in publicly funded sports

HB 605 Strengthens domestic violence laws regarding harassment

Government Efficiency: Engendering Public Trust

HB 142 Creates task force to review and make recommendations on reforming the Civil Service and Collective Bargaining systems

HB 159 Improves whistleblower protections for employees who report fraud, violations, or dangerous working conditions

HB 140 Enhances public-private partnerships in developing transportation and environmental infrastructure by giving more flexibility to state agencies

HB 148 Enhances government accountability by funding the Office of the Legislative Analyst

HB 154 Privatizes public television in Hawaii and transfers assets of Hawaii Public Television to a public/private entity

HB 71, 72, 164 - 166 Reforms campaign spending law regarding "soft money" contributions and other areas of concern and potential abuse

HB 1038 Advances for further discussion public employee pay raises

Other Important Measures

HB 1073 Enacts Telemarketing Fraud Prevention Act

HB 212 & 123 Strengthens drunk driving laws and stiffens penalties for repeat offenders

HB 1 Requires restraints or seat belts in vehicles for children four years and under

HB 8 Prohibits use of social security numbers on driver's licenses

HB 179 Implements LESA to protect important agricultural lands

HB 235 Provides for an elected Hawaiian Homes Commission

HB 499 Extends time to resolve individual claims for Hawaiian Home Lands

HB 34 Gives the state flexibility in regulating fisheries catch conditions

HB 1178 Provides more flexibility to the state in disposing of seized or forfeited natural resources

HB 178 Proposes review of land use regulations to help eliminate duplication between the state and counties

Case reiterated the House Majority's original theme that virtually all that we desire as a community relies on a sound, healthy economy. He added that the Majority remains committed to the Democratic Party principles of equality, compassion, tolerance and opportunity, and therefore will not abandon those who are truly needy. Case said the House remains steadfast in its desire to take the lead in implementing the changes that people want.

"We have invested much time and effort in evaluating these measures and we look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate. I am confident we will be able to resolve any differences and put the interests of the people first," he said.