Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 544

       S.D. 1




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2015

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred S.B. No. 544 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to provide funding for natural resource management.

     Specifically, this measure appropriates:


(1)  $4,000,000 for projects relating to watershed management plans;


(2)  $6,000,000 for projects in accordance with the invasive species council, including invasive species prevention, control, outreach, research, and planning;


(3)  $1,500,000 for fire, natural disaster, and emergency response equipment; and


(4)  $1,000,000 for forest and outdoor recreation improvements.


     Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Kauai County Department of Water, Hawaii Farm Bureau, The Nature Conservancy, The Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, Hawaii Green Growth, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, Maui Invasive Species Committee, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, Hanalei Watershed Hui, A&B Properties Inc., and ten concerned individuals.


     Your Committee finds that protecting forested watersheds is critically important to maintaining the supply of drinking water in the State.  Your Committee further finds that the number of large fires that burn over one hundred acres have increased five-fold over the past forty years.  Appropriating funds to protect the forested watersheds, combat forest fires, and respond to natural disasters will help to preserve these important natural resources.


     Your Committee further finds that H.B. No. 500, the state budget, establishes, in part III, section 6, a program appropriation of $4,000,000 for each year of fiscal biennium 2015-2017, to be expended by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to combat invasive species as directed by the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.  Consequently, your Committee believes that the appropriation to mitigate the impacts of invasive species contained in this measure is duplicative of the executive budget request.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1)  Deleting sections 4 and 5 of the measure, relating to the appropriation to address invasive species;


(2)  Changing the source of funding for fire, natural disaster, and emergency response equipment from the general fund to the natural area reserve fund established pursuant to section 195-9, Hawaii Revised Statutes;


(3)  Changing all of the appropriations to unspecified amounts; and


(4)  Changing the effective date to July 1, 2050, to facilitate further discussion.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 544, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 544, S.D. 1.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,