Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 229




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 229 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds for twelve full-time equivalent permanent positions in the Vector Control Branch of the Department of Health.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Hawaii Farm Bureau, Kohala Coast Resort Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, and four individuals.


Your Committee finds that the Vector Control Branch of the Department of Health is crucial to the health and safety of Hawaii residents, and it is important to continue restoring the Branch's capacity after the loss of thirty-seven positions in 2009. In addition to preventing new human and animal diseases from becoming established within the State, the Vector Control Branch prevents the proliferation and spread of diseases such as dengue fever, which sickened hundreds of people on the Island of Hawaii in 2015 and 2016.


Your Committee notes testimony submitted by the Department of Health indicating that the Department has filled sixteen of the twenty positions authorized by the Legislature in 2016 to help rebuild the Vector Control Branch, and has completed reorganizations for all islands. Your Committee finds that funding additional positions will allow the State to suppress disease vectors before outbreaks occur and will ensure that the Department has experienced, skilled employees to handle outbreaks when they do occur.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 229 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,