STAND. COM. REP. NO. 103
RE: S.B. No. 1183
Honorable Colleen Hanabusa
President of the Senate
Twenty-Fifth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2009
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Human Services and Labor, to which was referred S.B. No. 1183 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to conform the State's laws to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, P.L. 110-325, by broadening the types of disabilities that are protected against employment discrimination.
Testimony in support of this measure was submitted by the State Council on Developmental Disabilities; the Disability and Communication Access Board; the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission; the Hawaii Disability Rights Center; and one individual. The Department of Human Services submitted comments on the measure. Copies of written testimony are available for review on the Legislature's website.
Your Committees find that the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act expanded the definition of "disability," resulting in certain federal law protections that are stronger than corresponding protections currently provided under Hawaii law. In order to conform to federal law, Hawaii must broaden its relatively narrow definition of disability. The United States Supreme Court has found that such conformity is required of the states, holding in California Federal Sav. And Loan Ass'n v. Guerra, 479 U.S. 272, 107 S.Ct. 683 (11987), that federal law offers the minimum level of protection beneath which state law may not fall.
Your Committees note suggestions made by the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, including:
(1) Amending the definition of "disability" in the administrative rules rather than in the Hawaii Revised Statutes;
(2) Waiting for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to develop regulations defining various terms contained within the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, and conforming the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission's rules to federal regulations;
(3) Providing sufficient time for the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission to review and consider the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations when amending its own rules; and
(4) Obtaining public input during the rulemaking process, with the potential for creating stronger protections than those provided under federal law.
Your Committees have amended this measure by making technical amendments for purposes of style and clarity.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Human Services and Labor that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1183, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1183, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Human Services and Labor,
DWIGHT Y. TAKAMINE, Chair
SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND, Chair