STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3044

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 1668

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2016

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Judiciary and Labor, to which was referred H.B. No. 1668 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE USE OF A DOG IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to authorize the court to use a facility dog in a judicial proceeding if the court determines that there is a compelling necessity to facilitate the testimony of a vulnerable witness.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu; Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawaii; Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, County of Kauai; Hawaii Youth Services Network; Hawaiian Humane Society; Humane Society of the United States Hawaii; and The Children's Alliance. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Office of the Public Defender.

 

Your Committee finds that testifying in court can be an unsettling and sometimes terrifying ordeal and the presence of a well-trained dog can aid in witness testimony by providing the witness with emotional support and comfort in the witness room and courtroom. The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu testified that since 2011, the Department's facility dog, Pono, has assisted children and other traumatized crime victims during interviews, in witness waiting rooms, and occasionally in courtrooms. Although Pono has been allowed to be present and accompany children during actual court proceedings, there are no clear and specific criteria for permitting the use of facility dogs in Hawaii's courtrooms. This measure provides authorization and procedures for the use of facility dogs to facilitate the testimony of a vulnerable witness.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Adopting the language suggested by the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu that amends the definition of "facility dog" by using generic terminology to refer to the accreditation organization from which the dog must be a graduate; and

 

(2) Inserting an effective date of January 7, 2059, to encourage further discussion.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary and Labor that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1668, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1668, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor,

 

 

 

________________________________

GILBERT S.C. KEITH-AGARAN, Chair