STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3223
RE: S.B. No. 3141
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred S.B. No. 3141, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO LEGAL SERVICES FOR LOW-INCOME IMMIGRANTS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds for the Office of Community Services of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to contract with nonprofit organizations to provide low-income immigrants with legal counsel to assist and represent them in immigration proceedings and provide assistance on immigrant status issues.
Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the Department of Human Services; Office of Community Services, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; Americans for Democratic Action; Filipina Advocacy Network; Filipinos for Affirmative Action; The Legal Clinic; Pono Hawaii Initiative; and six individuals.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii has a large number of immigrants, but few of them become naturalized citizens. Confronting the immigration system is a complicated and daunting process. Legal counsel is especially important for immigrants whose legal status is brought into question. However, legal counsel is expensive and difficult to obtain. Furthermore, the few nonprofit organizations that provide immigration-related services to the poor are generally restricted by the terms of their federal funding from assisting undocumented residents.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that the Office of Community Services may retain up to ten percent of the appropriation for its administrative costs in relation to the contracts; and
(2) Making technical nonsubstantive changes for purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
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. 3141, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 3141, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
DONOVAN M. DELA CRUZ, Chair