STAND. COM. REP. NO.1180-02
RE: S.B. No. 2438
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Finance, to which was referred S.B. No. 2438, S.D. 2, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HAWAII VICTIMS' ECONOMIC SECURITY AND SAFETY ACT,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to:
(1) Promote the State's interest in reducing domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking; and
(2) Prohibit employer discrimination against actual or perceived victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence while also recognizing legitimate employer interests related to the safety of all persons in the workplace.
More specifically, this measure enables victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence to maintain the financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations, achieve safety, and minimize the physical and emotional injuries from domestic abuse or sexual violence by:
(1) Enabling a victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence to take paid or unpaid leave to:
(A) Seek medical treatment;
(B) Obtain services related to the violence;
(C) Obtain counseling;
(D) Relocate; or
(E) Take legal action;
(2) Upholding the provisions of any collective bargaining agreement, employment agreement, or employment benefits plan that contains equal or greater benefits or rights regarding protection from domestic abuse or sexual violence;
(3) Prohibiting an employer from discriminating against an employee who is a victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence; and
(4) Allowing a victim of domestic abuse or sexual assault and the victim's minor child domiciled with the victim to obtain unemployment insurance benefits if the individual suffers a loss of employment status as a consequence of domestic abuse or sexual violence.
The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, and Hawaii Women Lawyers testified in support of this measure. The State Attorney General and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations commented on this measure.
Although your Committee understands the seriousness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, your Committee is also cognizant of the fact that the ability to substitute family, medical, sick, annual, personal, or similar leave from employment for a leave of absence to be used for the purposes of seeking treatment, counseling, or other forms of assistance due to domestic abuse or sexual violence as provided for in this bill arguably relates to employee-benefit plans and may be in conflict with Hawaii's preemption provision from the Employees Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA). Nevertheless, your Committee feels that this subject matter is extremely important and deserves further consideration and discussion.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Finance that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2438, S.D. 2, H.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Finance,
DWIGHT Y. TAKAMINE, Chair