HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015
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 uprooted and storm-damaged trees, such as those that occurred during hurricane Iselle, can have a devastating impact on emergency services and the residents of an area. Downed trees can cause power and communication outages in addition to blocking roadways needed for evacuation and rescue.
The purpose of this Act is to require property owners to maintain trees located on their property in order to minimize storm damage, such as obstructed roadways, disrupted communication lines, and damaged utility lines.
SECTION 2. Section 127A-18, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Mitigation of hazardous situations.
(a) Even in the absence of an emergency or disaster, the governor may
authorize designated state employees, agents, contractors, or representatives
to enter private property at reasonable times to mitigate situations deemed by
the governor to be hazardous to the health and safety of the public; provided
that this section shall be applicable only to the following actions:
(1) Cutting, trimming, or removing dangerous trees or branches that pose a hazard to utility lines and facilities, communication lines, roadways, or other properties;
(2) Stabilizing or removing unstable rock and soil hazards; or
(3) Cleaning streams and waterways to mitigate or prevent flooding or other hazards;
provided further that at least ten days' written notice shall be provided to the landowner and to the occupier of the private property of the governor's intention to authorize designated state employees, agents, contractors, or representatives to enter the property to mitigate the hazardous situation; provided further that the landowner or occupier shall be given a reasonable opportunity to mitigate the hazardous situation without assistance of the State before designated state employees, agents, contractors, or representatives may enter the property.
(b) Written notice sent to the landowner's last known address by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, shall be deemed sufficient notice. If land ownership cannot be determined, notice shall be given once in a daily or weekly publication of general circulation in the county in which any action or proposed action will be taken.
(c) If entry is refused, the governor may apply to the district court in the circuit in which the property is located for a warrant to enter the premises. The district court may issue a warrant directing the chief of the appropriate county police to assist the governor in gaining entry onto the premises during regular working hours or at other reasonable times.
(d) Any landowner of a private property that is entered for the purpose of mitigating a hazardous situation pursuant to subsection (a)(1) shall be assessed a fine of $150 per day that a designated state employee, agent, contractor, or representative must remain on the landowner's property to mitigate the hazardous situation.
The governor may seek recovery and reimbursement, by appropriate proceedings,
of all costs and expenses incurred in the mitigation of a hazardous situation
under this section, and any fines, costs, and expenses imposed
against any landowner shall be a lien upon the landowner's property.
This section shall take effect only upon authorization and funding for
personnel to administer the program."
SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance
Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.