STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2771
RE: S.B. No. 2476
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2016
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred S.B. No. 2476, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to provide assistance to children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind by:
(1) Establishing within the Department of Health an early language acquisition program for children up to three years of age;
(2) Requiring the Department of Health, Department of Education, and the Executive Office on Early Learning to establish a working group on age-appropriate language development for children up to five years of age; and
(3) Appropriating funds to staff the early language acquisition program.
Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the School Community Council for the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind, Disability and Communication Access Board, Aloha State Association of the Deaf, and twelve individuals.
Your Committee received written comments on this measure from the Department of Health, Department of Education, and Executive Office on Early Learning.
Your Committee finds that early language acquisition is a key component in a child's social and educational development. Most children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind do not develop language in the same way that hearing children do, because most have had hearing parents who do not know how to communicate with a child who does not hear. Your Committee therefore finds that it is imperative that a child who is deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind develop language, in some form, as soon as possible.
Your Committee requests the agencies involved to provide subsequent committees that hear this measure with realistic costs and staffing needs to implement this measure.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Changing the effective date to July 1, 2050, to facilitate further discussion on the matter; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity 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. 2476, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2476, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
JILL N. TOKUDA, Chair