STAND. COM. REP. NO. 454
RE: S.B. No. 672
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Health and Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 672 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH,"
begs leave to report as follows:
(1) Repeal language that gives the Director of Finance discretion to use moneys in the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program Trust Fund if the Director elects to accept deposits from contributors instead of sending deposits directly to the ABLE Program Manager;
(3) Appropriate an unspecified amount of funds to the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program Trust Fund;
(4) Appropriate an unspecified amount of funds out of the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program Trust Fund to provide for incentive payments; and
(5) Appropriate an unspecified amount of funds out of the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program Trust Fund to be expended by the Director of Finance to fund one full-time equivalent (1.00 FTE) permanent position to provide statewide outreach, advocacy, and relationship management for the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Executive Office on Aging, Disability and Communication Access Board, Hawaii Disability Rights Center, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance.
Your Committee finds that the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program is a program that provides individuals with disabilities with the same types of flexible savings account that people without disabilities have, such as college savings accounts, where interest earned on savings are tax-exempt. Furthermore, an ABLE account would enable individuals with a disability to accrue funds to pay for a variety of expenses, such as medical and dental care, education, community-based supports, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation. Your Committee further finds that there are approximately forty-three thousand individuals who are eligible for the ABLE Savings Program; however, many of them are reluctant to enroll due to misinformation about the program or hesitation to provide their personal information online, which is currently the only means by which one can apply for an ABLE account. This measure will enable the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program to engage in necessary outreach to educate these individuals and create incentives for them to enroll in the program, allowing them to save money for their futures.
Your Committee acknowledges the concerns raised by the Department of Budget and Finance over the trust fund's ability to continue being self-sustaining after the creation of the permanent program outreach position and implementation of the incentive payments proposed in this measure that would require recurring funding. Your Committee finds that this issue merits further consideration and requests that your Committee on Ways and Means further examine the matter.
(1) Clarifying that the permanent Hawaii ABLE Savings Program statewide outreach position is to be established within the State Council on Developmental Disabilities;
(2) Inserting an effective date of December 31, 2050, to encourage further discussion;
(3) Amending section 1 to clarify this measure's purpose; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Health and Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 672, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 672, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health and Human Services,
JOY A. SAN BUENAVENTURA, Chair