STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2959
RE: H.B. No. 1944
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred H.B. No. 1944, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO FILIPINO VETERANS BURIAL ASSISTANCE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Establish a Filipino-American Veterans of World War II Burial Assistance Program within the Office of Veterans Services to provide burial grants to cover the funeral and burial costs of Filipino-American veterans of World War II, including the cost of returning these veterans' remains to the Philippines for burial; and
(2) Appropriate funds to cover the operating expenses of the Filipino-American Veterans of World War II Burial Assistance Program and for the costs of providing the burial grants.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Veterans Services, Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission, and Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance.
Your Committee finds that honoring the final wishes of World War II Filipino-American veterans is necessary for demonstrating the proper respect for the sacrifices that those veterans made in protecting the nation. Many World War II Filipino-American veterans have been separated from their families, who have remained in the Philippines, for a long time, and your Committee finds it regrettable that these veterans have not been able to reunite with their families. Assisting World War II Filipino-American veterans still living in the State with any prospective funeral and burial costs, including the costs of returning their remains to the Philippines if they so desire, would demonstrate the State's appreciation and respect for their service.
However, your Committee notes the concern raised in testimony from the Department of Budget and Finance relating to the requirements for the creation of special funds under section 37‑52.3, Hawaii Revised Statutes. The Department's testimony indicates that the special fund created through this measure may not meet necessary statutory requirements. Therefore, your Committee suggests that if your Committee on Ways and Means decides to hear this measure, that your Committee on Ways and Means investigate this issue further.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1944, H.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,
CLARENCE K. NISHIHARA, Chair