STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1601
RE: H.B. No. 580
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred H.B. No. 580, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VICTIM-COUNSELOR PRIVILEGE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Expand the victim-counselor privilege under the Hawaii Rules of Evidence to include confidential advocates employed by the University of Hawaii; and
(2) Increase the minimum number of hours of training a domestic violence victims' counselor must complete to be considered a victim counselor.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from Imua Alliance, Every Voice Coalition Hawai‘i, Women's Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Education Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Sex Abuse Treatment Center, Hawai‘i State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Academic Labor United, American Association of University Women of Hawaii, and sixteen individuals.
Your Committee finds that there is no mechanism that guarantees confidentiality to students and employees who seek confidential advocacy support within the University of Hawaii System as a result of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. This measure not only ensures that the confidential advocates employed by the University of Hawaii provide confidentiality protections to students and employees who seek the counseling services of these campus-based advocates, but also better prepares domestic violence victims' counselors in the State to work with survivors of domestic violence in a trauma-informed and survivor-centered manner.
Your Committee has amended this measure by making it effective upon its approval.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 580, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 580, H.D. 1, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair