HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the 2020 outbreak of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has brought renewed scrutiny to the State's emergency management laws. The rapid worldwide expansion of the coronavirus triggered its characterization as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The State's emergency management laws require updating to explicitly include pandemics and the related preparedness, response, and mitigation of the social and economic consequences.
Additionally, the legislature finds that the pandemic has given rise to a multitude of essential workers in various job sectors who, through the course of their work are required to relay and impose emergency rules and orders that have been enacted by the appropriate governmental authority. Emergency response measures to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 through, for example, the use of face coverings or masks has placed great responsibility and risk on essential workers who have experienced harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse, and physical assault from members of the public who disagree with the government's order. While emergency workers are offered some statutory protections, essential workers are generally not protected under these provisions and specific statutory protection for this category of worker needs to be included in the State's emergency management laws.
The purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Establish the offense of harassment against an essential worker during an emergency; and
(2) Amend various definitions in the emergency management laws to address pandemics.
"§711- Harassment against an essential worker during an emergency. (1) A person commits the offense of harassment against an essential worker during an emergency if, during a state of emergency proclaimed by the governor or mayor pursuant to chapter 127A, a person has the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm any essential worker, and that person:
(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches an essential worker in an offensive manner or subjects the essential worker to offensive physical contact;
(b) Insults, taunts, or challenges an essential worker in a manner likely to provoke an immediate violent response or that would cause the essential worker to reasonably believe that the actor intends to cause bodily injury to the essential worker or another or damage to the property of the essential worker or another;
(c) Repeatedly makes telephone calls, facsimile transmissions, or any form of electronic communication as defined in section 711-1111(2), including electronic mail transmissions, without purpose of legitimate communication;
(d) Repeatedly makes a communication anonymously or at an extremely inconvenient hour;
(e) Repeatedly makes communications, after being advised by the essential worker to whom the communication is directed that further communication is unwelcome; or
(f) Makes a communication using offensively coarse language that would cause the essential worker to reasonably believe that the actor intends to cause bodily injury to the essential worker or another or damage to the property of the essential worker or another.
(2) Harassment against an essential worker during an emergency is a misdemeanor.
(3) For purposes of this section, "essential worker" means any person employed by a business or service in the air and ground transportation, construction, defense and law enforcement, energy, food and agriculture, grocery, healthcare, hospitality, information technology systems, telecommunications, retail, or water sectors. "Essential worker" includes any other person deemed essential by the governor or mayor during an emergency period as that term is defined in section 127A-2."
SECTION 3. Section 127A-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:
1. By amending the definition of "disaster relief" to read:
means any physical or financial assistance provided to individuals or areas in
the aftermath of an emergency or disaster[
.] and includes efforts to mitigate
the social and economic consequences of the disaster."
2. By amending the definition of "emergency" to read:
any occurrence, or imminent threat thereof, [
which] that results
or may likely result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial
damage to or loss of property[ .] and includes a pandemic."
3. By amending the definition of "hazard" to read:
""Hazard" means an event or condition of the physical environment, including a pandemic, that results or may likely result in damage to property or injuries or death to individuals and which may result in an emergency or disaster."
4. By amending the definition of "materials" to read:
""Materials" includes medicines, supplies, personal protective equipment, products, commodities, articles, equipment, machinery, and component parts."
SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Emergency Management; Pandemic; Essential Workers; Harassment; Misdemeanor
Makes harassment against an essential worker during an emergency a misdemeanor. Defines essential worker. Amends various definitions in the emergency management laws to address pandemics. Effective 7/1/2050. (HD2)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.