STAND. COM. REP. NO 336
RE: S.B. No. 617
Honorable Donna Mercado Kim
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2015
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Tourism and International Affairs and Water and Land, to which was referred S.B. No. 617 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO BEACH PROTECTION,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Allocate transient accommodations tax revenues to the special land and development fund and the beach restoration and conservation special fund;
(2) Effectively develop and implement plans to slow the degradation of Hawaii beaches; and
(3) Restore beaches through the coordination of activities involving the counties and the formation of public-private partnerships.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, University of Hawaii System, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, Hawaii Shore and Beach Preservation Association, and Nature Conservancy. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance, State-County Functions Working Group, and Tax Foundation of Hawaii.
Your Committees find that Hawaii's beaches are important and unique components of the array of natural resources that make our islands a special place for Hawaii residents and an attractive destination for visitors. Recent studies by researchers at the University of Hawaii indicate that Hawaii beaches are disappearing at an alarming rate, with seventy percent of beaches undergoing chronic erosion, over thirteen miles of beach completely lost to erosion, and inappropriate shoreline development over the past century. Because of the growing demand for the use of beaches, your Committees support efficiently distributing limited financial resources to reinvest in Hawaii beaches as important and valuable natural resources and to conserve and restore these important assets.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Specifying that the allocation of transient accommodations tax revenues to the special land and development fund is to be expended pursuant to title 12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and in accordance with the long-range strategic plan of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and removing the requirement that the expenditure be in accordance with a mutual agreement of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and Board of Directors of the Hawaii Tourism Authority;
(2) Amending the language authorizing use of the transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the special land and development fund for certain operation and maintenance costs of public lands to instead be for certain operation and maintenance costs of state parks, beaches, and trails, and costs associated with improving enforcement of ancillary regulations;
(3) Changing the effective date to be upon approval; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Tourism and International Affairs and Water and Land that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 617, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 617, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Tourism and International Affairs and Water and Land,
LAURA H. THIELEN, Chair
GILBERT KAHELE, Chair