State roundup for March 24
5 things ahead in Legislature
HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers will be tackling everything from prostitution to school lunches this week in hearings on bills and resolutions. They are up against a Tuesday deadline to make decisions on concurrent resolutions, which are used to send official state messages that reflect what’s on the hearts and minds of lawmakers. As a result, there will be a flurry of hearings on everything from honoring veterans to tackling the issue of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Here’s a sampling of some of the issues on tap this week:
PROSTITUTION PENALTIES: The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to remove the legal protection that allows undercover police officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations in the version of House Bill 1926 it’s taking up Friday. Also at issue in the bill’s negotiation is whether people who solicit minors for sex will be added to the sex-offender registry.
POT SCHOOL: Lawmakers will get an earful about the health effects of marijuana at a hearing Tuesday. They will hear an update on how Colorado and Washington have implemented the legalization of recreational marijuana. The hearing will be led by Project SAM, short for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group opposed to the legalization of pot that was founded by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
SHORELINE RETREAT: The ocean has a way of chipping away at waterfront homes. But when sea walls are built to protect buildings, the nearby beaches may disappear. That dynamic will be explored in a Senate hearing on a resolution today when lawmakers will consider creating a multi-island task force to investigate and recommend solutions.
FARM FRESH SCHOOLS: The Senate Agriculture and Education committees will debate a resolution today urging agencies to develop a farm-to-school program to get healthier lunches into public schools.
UNIVERSITY REGENTS: Four nominees for the University of Hawaii board of regents will be up for consideration and confirmation with the Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday. Look for Stanford Yuen, Jeffrey Portnoy, Lee Putnam and Michelle Tagorda to be shaping policy at the university in years ahead, pending their making it through the gantlet.
Counselors gather in Honolulu for conference
HONOLULU (AP) — About 2,600 counselors and students are gathering in Honolulu this week for a conference that focusing on mental health issues.
The American Counseling Association’s conference will cover individual trauma and disaster mental health, technology and social media in counseling and other topics.
“Super Size Me” documentary director Morgan Spurlock will deliver the opening keynote address at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday.
The meeting is expected to generate more than $12 million in visitor spending and more than $1 million in state tax revenue. The association last met in Hawaii in 2008.
The American Counseling Association is the world’s largest association representing professional counselors.
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