By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER
HONOLULU — A Hawaii House committee rejected a resolution Friday asking the state to study the potential social and economic effects of gambling in Hawaii.
Hawaii and Utah are the only states where gambling is illegal. Past attempts at legalization have failed.
Proponents say gambling could stimulate Hawaii’s tourism industry. Opponents say they are worried that legalizing gambling would lead to increased crime and other negative societal impacts.
Economic development committee Chairman Clift Tsuji said the panel rejected the proposal because the study would be too expensive. He suggested that lawmakers hold an informational briefing instead.
The issue was one of several resolutions that House lawmakers considered Friday. Resolutions are official statements that don’t have the force of law.
Tsuji’s committee moved forward a resolution to use federal funding to research the feasibility of “creating a world-class commercial space launch and control facility in Hawaii.” Rep. Angus McKelvey introduced the resolution, which claimed Hawaii’s location and telecommunications infrastructure make it ideal for a space launch facility. The state already invests in aerospace research.
Tsuji said the idea has been in the works for a long time. “The excitement is building,” he said. “We’ve got good momentum.”
Meanwhile, the Senate Education Committee advanced a resolution asking the Board of Education to develop a sexuality health education program. The Hawaii Youth Services Network, which supports the resolution, said Hawaii has the 12th highest rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S.
Two people submitted testimony opposing the resolution, saying that sexuality health education is the job of parents, not teachers. Sen. Jill Tokuda, who chairs the education committee, said the program is critically needed in middle schools.
The committee also moved forward a resolution to expand the Jump Start program to Maui and Hawaii. Tokuda said the program has proven to be effective and could benefit neighbor islands.