HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO TRAVEL.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that on March 17, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor David Y. Ige took the unprecedented step of requiring a fourteen-day quarantine for all travelers to Hawaii. During the lockdown of the following months, Hawaii went from the lowest unemployment rate in the country to one of the highest, at one point reaching twenty-three per cent. Business closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the loss of thousands of local jobs, many of them in Hawaii's robust tourism and food service industries, which make up more than twenty per cent of the economy.
After several false starts, on October 15, 2020, Hawaii launched the safe travels program, allowing visitors to avoid a fourteen-day quarantine if they tested negative for COVID-19 before arriving in the State. Any travelers who tested positive or chose not to take a test would still be subject to the fourteen-day quarantine.
A little over a month later, on November 19, 2020, the State changed the safe travels program to require travelers to upload their negative test results before boarding the last leg of their trip to Hawaii. Travelers who did not have their negative test result before departure would be subject to the fourteen-day quarantine, even if they received a negative result after they arrived. At the same time, demand for COVID-19 tests on the continental United States were skyrocketing and trusted testing partners were increasingly unable to deliver test results to travelers within the required seventy-two-hour timeframe.
That same month, Governor Ige allowed a county to opt out of the safe travels program entirely, requiring all travelers to that county to follow a fourteen-day quarantine. This has ultimately resulted in a patchwork of requirements across all counties that are difficult to navigate for visitors and residents alike and, as such, is compounding the economic impact of the pandemic on the State.
The legislature also finds that the State is facing a historic budget shortfall and tourism revenue is not likely to return to pre-2020 levels for several years. State revenue in the form of the general excise tax and income taxes are essential to continuing core government services such as education, public health and safety, corrections, and infrastructure. When a county decides whether to reopen to visitors, it has far reaching fiscal impacts across the State. Furthermore, many neighbor island counties receive more than a per capita share of state financial resources. This is in large part due to subsidization by the State's largest county, the city and county of Honolulu.
The legislature further finds that public health is inextricably entwined with economic health, the two cannot be separated. When residents lose their jobs, they also lose health care coverage and access to services. Poverty is the single largest determinant of health.
Therefore, the purpose of this Act is to create a statewide approach to the safe travels program while still allowing the department of health to take necessary action to protect public health as supported by risk-based and scientific approaches to contagion mitigation.
SECTION 2. (a) Notwithstanding chapter 127A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, or any other law to the contrary, this Act shall take precedence over all conflicting statutes concerning this subject matter and shall preempt all contrary laws, ordinances, rules, orders, or proclamations adopted by the State, a county, or any department or agency thereof.
(1) Has a negative test result upon arrival from a state approved-COVID-19 test administered within seventy‑two hours before departing from the final leg of departure; provided that if a person has not received a test result upon arrival from the final leg of departure due to unforeseen circumstances through no fault of the person, that person shall be subject to and remain in a post-arrival mandatory self‑quarantine upon arrival unless and until the person:
(A) Submits to and obtains a negative test result from a state-approved rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival; and
(B) Obtains a negative test result from a state approved‑COVID-19 test administered within seventy-two hours from the final leg of departure; or
(2) Is under the age of five and accompanied by a person who is exempt under paragraph (1).
(c) In addition to the exemptions provided for under subsection (b), the governor shall establish statewide conditions under which persons may be deemed automatically exempt from the pre‑travel testing requirements and mandatory self-quarantine, taking into consideration recommendations provided by the department of health.
(d) Any person who does not obtain a negative test result before arrival shall be responsible for securing and paying all costs associated with that person's mandatory self‑quarantine and isolation, including transport, lodging, food, medical care, and any other expenses to sustain the person during the mandatory self‑quarantine period.
(e) The post-arrival mandatory self‑quarantine exemption provided by this Act shall not affect or in any way impede or supersede the authority of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or department of health pursuant to sections 321-1 and 325-8, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to require persons to quarantine if they subsequently test positive for COVID-19 or if they are a close contact of a person confirmed positive for COVID-19.
(f) For the purposes of this Act, "state approved-COVID-19 test" means a test to determine the presence of active COVID-19 infection that is administered through an entity approved by the safe travels program.
SECTION 3. This Act shall not be subject to section 127A‑13, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and shall not be suspended except by adoption of a concurrent resolution by each house of the legislature.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July, 1, 2050, and shall be repealed on December 31, 2021, or upon termination of the State's emergency order for COVID-19 and mandatory self‑quarantine requirement for travelers, whichever occurs first.
Statewide Safe Travels Program Exemption; COVID-19; Quarantine
Exempts any person from the post-arrival mandatory self‑quarantine if the person receives a negative test result prior to arrival. Allows the governor to establish statewide conditions for exemption. Requires certain COVID-19 tests for travelers who do not have a test result upon arrival to avoid mandatory self-quarantine. Requires any person who does not obtain a negative test result for COVID-19 pre-arrival to be responsible for all costs associated with that person's mandatory self-quarantine. Prohibits the suspension of this Act except by legislative approval via a concurrent resolution. Repeals on 12/31/2021. Effective 7/1/2050. (HD2)
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