By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER
HONOLULU — The Hawaii legislative session is more than halfway over and with more than 700 bills still on the table, this week is packed with committee hearings reviewing the pros and cons of each initiative.
— The Senate Committee on Ways and Means is planning to hear testimony Tuesday about the $23.3 billion House budget proposal. Finance Director Kalbert Young says he plans to ask senators to increase the budget to fund more of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s programs because the House draft falls short of Abercrombie’s $23.8 billion request.
— The Senate Committee on Education will debate Monday a project to lease public school lands to fund school infrastructure. Advocates say the pilot program will allow the state to make a dent in the rising cost of school repairs. Opponents worry about how local communities will be affected.
— Two House committees are planning to hear a bill on Tuesday that would establish a Public-Private Partnership Authority to increase revenue for the state. Representatives are also planning to consider a proposal to change tax credits to spur Hawaii’s film industry. Senate Ways and Means Chairman David Ige has said that recent positive revenue forecasts for the state make it more likely that tax credits favorable to filmmakers will be adopted.
— The Senate Committee on Human Services is considering proposals on Tuesday to designate parking lots where homeless people can sleep at night.
— Also on Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture is voting on a proposal to require the Legislative Reference Bureau to study Hawaii’s pesticide reporting requirements.
— The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will consider bills on Monday to help the state grapple with the rising cost of employee and retiree benefits.