Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 638

S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 638 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


(1) Add the unlicensed sale of liquor as an offense for which property is subject to forfeiture and increase the grade of the offense to a class C felony;


(2) Provide an affirmative defense; and


(3) Amend definitions of "organized crime" and "racketeering activity" to include the unlicensed sale of liquor.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu; Honolulu Police Department; Department of Liquor Control, County of Kauai; Liquor Commission, City and County of Honolulu; and one member of the City Council, City and County of Honolulu.


Your Committee finds that unlicensed liquor sales encourage under-aged consumption of liquor and provide an attractive venue for the distribution of other illegal substances and engagement in other illegal activity. Further negative impacts to communities include the accompanying noise, disruptive behavior, nuisance complaints, and other acts of violence and destruction resulting from unlicensed liquor sales. Considering the many dangers associated with liquor consumption, all liquor sales and manufacturing should be licensed and carefully monitored.


Your Committee additionally finds that the current classification of unlicensed manufacture or sale of liquor as a misdemeanor does little to deter this activity and provides little in the way of investigative tools available to police to combat this activity. This measure raises the offense of unlicensed sale of liquor from a misdemeanor to a class C felony to better reflect the seriousness of the offense and significantly strengthen the manner in which these offenses are addressed by law enforcement and in the courts.


Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Removing as unnecessary the affirmative defense for the unlicensed sale of liquor;


(2) Adding the unlicensed manufacture of liquor to the list of offenses eligible for civil asset forfeiture; and


(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 638, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 638, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,