Therefore this year saw 2 plastic bag bills, HB620 to prohibit labeling of a plastic product as compostable or biodegradable unless it meets appropriate ASTM standards, and HB1507 to create a working group to study methods to reduce all use disposable bags. HFIA commented on all and all carried on dying. We successfully opposed sugar sweetened beverage tax proposed in SB1256. SB130 was GMO labeling; and SB594 was requirements for geographic labeling of ‘non Hawaiian’ coffee in blends with Hawaiian coffee, HB1428 and SB1270 were all warning labels for sugar sweetened beverages. HFIA opposed 3 labeling bills this year and all 5 died at or before first crossover. Although, this bill should have mandated that retailers facilitate a 911 surcharge on pre paid phone cards. Our members opposed this administrative burden and extra tax. Considering above said. I am sure that the 911surcharge bill was back this year as SB193, HFIA testified in opposition and bill died. Then once more, hB496 made it through a bunch of session and mostly died when it failed to pass conference in session final week so we’ll be keeping a close eye out for this issue to come up once again next year.
So this year we successfully opposed 7 potentially damaging labor related bills. I know that the sick leave bills HB496, SB129, and HB9 included a variety of versions which required employers to provide sick leave to employees, greatly increased sick amount leave employees could make, expanded the reasons employees could use sick leave, and sought to create a leave insurance program or trust fund funded by employee withholdings. Whenever increasing member participation through newest Action Alerts, and reaching out to a wider audience via community media we were able to achieve our desired outcome on a wide range bills, our newest Proactive Government Relations Strategy was implemented this year and by strengthening our relationships with legislators. Now look, the 2015 Hawaii Legislative Session ended on May seven and got to a close down a highly successful year for HFIA at Capitol. Fact, hFIA supported a quite ambitious manufacturing bills in 2015 and we are always quite pleased to report that after a few years, and a couple of versions, a manufacturing incentive program has passed in SBThis form bill establishes and appropriates credits for manufacturing development program, through which the lofty technology development corporation, HTDC, shall distribute grants to Hawaii manufacturers for different activities.
No grant shall exceed twenty per cent of mentioned cost purposes and no grant shall exceed $ 100000.
Grants may be awarded to that said, this bill has a two million dollar appropriation! HFIA testified in opposition to SB1032 to expand bacco definition products and increase the license fees, and SB749 to impose on wholesalers and dealers a beach cleanup fee per cigarette, and all ultimately died. These bills went through quite a lot of versions with various intents but did not end up passing this year., without any doubts, this session we supported HB145 and SB401, that sought to cap tax on vast cigars. HFIA was surely pretty swift to point out in our opposition testimony that the State must create a waste distribution system for organic material till it mandates that we use it.
SB1227, that was deferred, was among more baffling bills that got a hearing this year.
It attempted to prohibit commercial disposal organic material waste at landfills or waste to energy facilities and require all generators of commercial organic material to use alternative means of disposal, similar to donation or compost. Instead of $ 300 as it was previously, threshold value for theft in the second degree is now $ 750. All in all, in spite of strong and consistent opposition from HFIA and lots of members who responded to our Action Alerts, SB569 was passed. That said, although it is disappointing we have been encouraged that final version did not comprise language from previous drafts which will have tied threshold value to CPI and increased it each year. Furthermore, SB1122 which sought to increase monthly amount compensation required to exempt an employee from minimum wage and similar requirements; and HB684 which required employers to implement procedures and training to prevent discrimination, We as well testified against SB234 the state holiday bill which should have mandated that employers pay employees who worked on holidays three times their regular wage, and prohibited an employer from taking any retaliatory action against an employee who refused to work on a holiday.