5 things to watch in the Legislature


HONOLULU — The Senate has a key vote this week on whether Michael Wilson should serve on the state Supreme Court.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s nominee ran into a huge snag last week when members of the Senate Women’s Caucus told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Clayton Hee, D-Kaneohe and Kaaawa, they had concerns over Wilson’s past treatment of women. Hee took the question seriously enough to hold a follow-up hearing over the weekend. That, combined with Wilson’s receiving a largely unexplained rating of “not qualified” from the Hawaii State Bar Association, makes Tuesday’s floor vote one to watch.

Beyond the Wilson vote, here are four other things to watch this week at the statehouse:

HEALTH CONNECTOR

The saga of the beleaguered Hawaii Health Connector turns another page today, when a joint House committee will take up SB 2470, which would streamline the Health Connector’s board and exclude members representing insurers.

HAWAIIAN RESOLUTIONS

The House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources &Hawaiian Affairs will take up a lengthy list of resolutions on Wednesday, on topics including marine life conservation, easements of submerged lands, Hawaiian language training for state employees, study of opihi and Native Hawaiian nationalism.

MINIMUM WAGE

The Legislature seems ready to pass some form of minimum wage hike this session, but the form it takes is the rub. The Senate advanced SB 2609, which would raise the minimum wage by 95 cents a year for the next three years, only after reinstating the tip credit the original version of the bill tried to halt. It goes before the House Labor Committee on Tuesday.

UKULELE DECISION

It seemed like a harmless enough bill, little ol’ HB 2573, to name the ukulele the state instrument. It passed the House.

Then the steel guitar community caught wind. Testimony to the Senate Committee on Technology and the Arts ran about 10 to 1 in opposition to the bill, with most opponents suggesting the steel guitar be so honored. The committee will take up the ukulele’s fate Tuesday.

Associated Press writer Cathy Bussewitz contributed to this report.

 

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