Hawaii lawmakers shovel resolutions at deadline
HONOLULU — The deadline for concurrent resolutions to cross over from the House to the Senate, or vice-versa, came and went. That meant a flurry of hearings on concurrent resolutions — those requiring passage by both legislative chambers — during the week.
More than 100 such resolutions survived crossover, while many others are now formally dead.
Here are five sets of concurrent resolutions worth noting:
• A pair of resolutions passed that aim to secure benefits to groups of veterans who claim to have been poisoned as a result of U.S. military action in Asia.
SCR 84 urges the U.S. Congress to restore Agent Orange-related benefits to Vietnam veterans exposed to the defoliant while they were on boats or in planes in combat zones. And HCR 247 calls on the federal government to recognize as Atomic Veterans those who helped clean up nuclear test sites in the Marshall Islands from 1977-80, who now suffer from radiation-related sickness.
• This has been a rough legislative session for proponents of making pot less illegal or for expanding access to prescription marijuana.
The House, though, moved two measures aimed at addressing Hawaii’s medical marijuana policies.
HCR 74 would ask the Auditor to do a review of the market that would arise if dispensaries were legalized (as would have happened under a House bill, HB 1587, that failed this session). And HCR 48 would convene a task force of a wide range of stakeholder groups to make recommendations on a dispensary system by Sept. 1 of this year.
• Two measures look promising for threatened ocean creatures.
HCR 229 requests a Department of Land and Natural Resources study on how best to manage opihi, while HCR 170 urges the agency to develop rules on how to keep manta rays and visitors safe at dive sites.
A third ocean-related measure has drawn scrutiny from environmental groups.
HCR 65 would establish a task force to develop rules on managing oceanic resources — but with members selected by the governor and legislative leaders, not necessarily drawn from scientific backgrounds.
• The Senate is not impressed with the deficits the University of Hawaii sports programs racked up.
SCR 38 urges the university not to raise student fees to balance that budget, noting students already pay $50 apiece for athletics fees each semester and generally aren’t stoked enough about football to actually attend games.
• As with laws, it’s sometimes telling to see which measures didn’t pass.
Concurrent resolutions that officially died include measures that would have encouraged the DLNR to train its employees in Native Hawaiian language and culture, and that would have urged the Department of Education to forego using pesticides and herbicides on any school property.
Cannabis also lost out, when measures withered that would have pushed for an industrial hemp advisory board and requested the federal government to consider removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I controlled substances.
Also gone is a measure that would have pushed for annual inspections and registrations of mopeds.
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