HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

851

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to state of emergency.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The State's experience with the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for preparation, flexibility, and quick action in the face of ongoing or new risks presented by outbreaks of communicable or dangerous diseases in the State or in other parts of the world. The ability to act swiftly should not come at the expense of our legislative process and governmental transparency.

This act serves to detail the conditions needed precedent to declaring a public health emergency. Declaring a public health emergency calls for unique protocols that may not be required for other forms of emergencies or disasters.

This Act also amends existing law to limit the length a state of emergency can stay in effect to 30 days. Once the initial 30 day period is up, the governor may request an extension through a resolution from both houses of the legislature. This will create additional checks and balances and provide for increased transparency.

PART II

SECTION 2. Section 127A-2, Hawaii Revised States, is amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Public health emergency" means the occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition that is reasonably believed to have caused the appearance of a novel, or previously controlled, or eradicated infectious agent, or biological toxin and poses a high probability of any of the following harms:

(A) A large number of deaths in the affected population;

(B) A large number of serious or long-term disabilities in the affected population; or

(C) Widespread exposure to an infectious or toxic agent that poses a significant risk of substantial future harm to a large number of people in the affected population; or

(D) As declared pursuant to 325-1."

SECTION 3. Section 127A-14, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"(a) The governor may declare the existence of a state of emergency in the State by proclamation if the governor finds that an emergency or public health emergency or disaster has occurred or that there is imminent danger or threat of an emergency or public health emergency or disaster in any portion of the State.

(b) A mayor may declare the existence of a local state of emergency in the county by proclamation if the mayor finds that an emergency or public health emergency or disaster has occurred or that there is imminent danger or threat of an emergency or public health emergency or disaster in any portion of the county.

(c) The governor or mayor shall be the sole judge of the existence of the danger, threat, or circumstances giving rise to a declaration of a state of emergency in the State or a local state of emergency in the county, as applicable. This section shall not limit the power and authority of the governor under section 127A-13(a)(5)."

[(d) A state of emergency and a local state of emergency shall terminate automatically sixty days after the issuance of a proclamation of a state of emergency or local state of emergency, respectively, or by a separate proclamation of the governor or mayor, whichever occurs first.]

(d) The state of emergency shall continue until the governor finds that the threat or danger has passed, the emergency has been dealt with to the extent that emergency conditions no longer exist, or until the declared state of emergency has been in effect for 30 days. After 30 days, the governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation declaring the state of emergency terminated, unless a request by the governor for an extension of the state of emergency for a specific number of days is approved by resolution of both houses of the legislature. An executive order or proclamation issued pursuant to this subsection shall indicate the nature of the emergency, the area or areas threatened, the conditions causing the emergency, and the conditions permitting the termination of the state of emergency. An executive order or proclamation shall be disseminated promptly by means calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public and shall be promptly filed with the emergency management division of the department and the secretary of state, unless circumstances attendant upon the emergency prevent or impede its prompt filing."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Relating to Emergency Powers

 

Description:

Requires the Governor to obtain approval from the Legislature when a state of emergency has been declared and requires a duration of more than thirty days.

 

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.