HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY POVERTY REDUCTION TASK FORCE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Findings and purpose. (a) The legislature finds that:
(1) It is in the public interest to improve access to economic and educational opportunities to help families achieve self-sufficiency and financial security while reducing the number of Hawaii residents living in poverty;
(2) Poverty has social and economic costs for children and families, communities, and the State. Children living in poverty often experience lower academic achievement and increased health and behavioral problems. These problems often continue into adulthood, resulting in greater social and economic costs to society, including increased crime rates, health problems, and negative economic impacts estimated to cost $500,000,000,000 nationally in lost earnings each year;
(3) Middle-class families in Hawaii are increasingly living from paycheck to paycheck, especially in these very difficult economic times; and
(4) More states are recognizing that reducing poverty by addressing the needs of low- and moderate-income families is a critical economic development issue. Reducing poverty requires strategic, integrated, and comprehensive approaches that create opportunities for families to achieve economic success, including creating quality jobs, providing work support, promoting greater collaboration with the private sector, and implementing targeted tax policies.
(b) The purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Create a task force to assess current policies and practices, along with evidence-based solutions, used in other states, that promote economic opportunity and poverty reduction; and
(2) Develop a strategic, integrated, and comprehensive plan to expand economic opportunities in Hawaii to reduce, by at least fifty per cent by 2021, the number of Hawaii residents, including children and families, living in poverty.
SECTION 2. Definitions. As used in this Act, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
"Federal poverty level" means the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of Title 42 United States Code section 9902(2).
"Poverty" means living at or below one hundred per cent of the federal poverty level.
"Self-sufficiency standard" means a measure of the income needed by a family of a given composition in a given place to adequately meet its basic needs without public or private assistance.
"Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" means the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program created in Title 7 United States Code section 2011 et seq.
"Task force" means the economic opportunity poverty reduction task force.
SECTION 3. Economic opportunity poverty reduction task force; established; subcommittees; duties. (a) There is established, within the office of the governor for administrative purposes, the economic opportunity poverty reduction task force to assess current state practices that promote economic opportunity and poverty reduction and to develop a strategic, integrated, and comprehensive plan to expand economic opportunities in Hawaii to reduce, by at least fifty per cent by 2023, the number of Hawaii residents, including children and families, living in poverty.
(b) The task force shall consist of five members as follows:
(1) One member of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
(2) One member of the senate appointed by the president of the senate;
(3) One member appointed by the governor;
(4) One member of a community organization with expertise in poverty reduction or asset building appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives from a list of three organizations submitted by the majority leader of the house of representatives; and
(5) One member of a community organization with expertise in poverty reduction or asset building appointed by the president of the senate from a list of three organizations submitted by the majority leader of the senate.
(c) The task force members shall select one of the task force members to serve as chairperson of the task force.
(d) Initial appointments to the task force shall be made by August 1, 2013.
(e) The members of the task force shall serve without compensation and shall not be reimbursed for any expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
(f) The task force shall meet at least four times and additionally as convened by the chairperson.
(g) The task force may appoint subcommittees to advise the task force in completing its duties. The chairperson shall select subcommittee members from stakeholder groups that shall include relevant executive branch agencies, the counties, business and labor organizations, educational organizations, advocates, and individuals directly affected by the work of the task force. The chairperson of the task force shall appoint a member of the task force to chair each subcommittee.
(h) The task force shall:
(1) Assess current state policies and practices that promote economic opportunity and poverty reduction and, before December 22, 2014, shall develop a strategic, integrated, and comprehensive plan that will expand economic opportunities in Hawaii and, by 2021, reduce by at least fifty per cent the number of Hawaii residents, including children and families, living in poverty;
(2) Study and evaluate best policies and practices that:
(A) Build family assets and financial stability;
(B) Increase preschool through postsecondary educational opportunities;
(C) Expand the workforce with quality jobs that meet private sector needs;
(D) Make work pay through the use of fair and sustainable targeted tax policies; and
(E) Address work-support issues;
(3) Study and evaluate:
(A) Federally-supported and state-supported programs that serve persons living in poverty;
(B) The economic impact of poverty;
(C) Current policies and services that affect persons living below the self-sufficiency standard;
(D) The interaction of various issues that affect poverty, such as a lack of education, health care, housing, income, child care, and food security; and
(E) The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, with the goal of recommending changes to increase participation and secure additional federal funds for assistance with education and training; and
(4) Prepare an initial and final report to be submitted to the legislature on December 22, 2013, and on December 22, 2014, respectively, that includes:
(A) An outline of the issues reviewed by the task force and the proposed time frame for addressing identified issues;
(B) A general description of the scope of the problem in Hawaii with respect to poverty;
(C) In the initial report, an assessment of current policies and procedures that address poverty;
(D) A summary of the work accomplished by the task force over the prior year; and
(E) Any legislative recommendations as the task force deems necessary.
(i) The task force shall terminate on December 22, 2014.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2030.
Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force
Establishes the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force to assess state practices that promote economic opportunity and poverty reduction and develop a plan to expand economic opportunities in Hawaii. Effective July 1, 2030. (HB1188 HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.