Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 715




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. 715 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to designate the month of September as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Month to promote public awareness of the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Hawaii Disability Rights Center, Hawaii Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Action Group, Hawaii Public Health Institute, and nine individuals.


Your Committee finds that prenatal alcohol exposure is the most commonly known cause of preventable birth defects and developmental disorders in the United States. Your Committee also finds that one in twenty children in the United States are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), an umbrella term that encompasses the wide array of physical and neurobehavioral developmental disorders caused by in-utero exposure to alcohol. According to testimony received by your Committee, despite data showing FASDs to be more prevalent than autism spectrum disorders, at least ten percent of pregnant women still drink during pregnancy. Furthermore, due to the complex, subtle, and often undetectable nature of FASDs, the preventable lifelong brain-based disorders are often not recognized by parents, providers, educators, probation officers, homeless advocates, and society in general, thereby leaving many individuals with FASDs undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and improperly or not treated. This measure will promote the public's awareness of the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, increase awareness and understanding of the various symptoms of FASDs, and help individuals with FASD and their families receive the necessary support.


Your Committee acknowledges the testimony of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities requesting an appropriation of $35,000 to organize outreach events to ensure that an annual public awareness campaign preventing FASD can be established within the State. Your Committee finds that this request merits further consideration and requests that subsequent committees that may deliberate on this measure as it progresses through the legislative process consider the funding request.


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. 715 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health and Human Services,