Hawaii lawmakers to vote on hundreds of bills


By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER

Associated Press

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Legislature is anticipating a marathon of votes this week as state lawmakers race to meet Thursday’s first crossover deadline.

The deadline means that each chamber must pass and send bills to the other chamber by Thursday or the measures will be off the table.

Senate Clerk Carol Taniguchi says the Senate will vote on about 300 bills between Tuesday and Thursday. There will be no floor session today because the Legislature will be on recess.

Tuesday’s Senate agenda includes a bill to protect celebrity privacy, known as the Steven Tyler Act. The proposal, named after the Aerosmith frontman, seeks to encourage celebrities to vacation in Hawaii by limiting what photos or videos can be taken of them.

Tyler says he asked Sen. Kalani English from Maui to introduce the bill after a photo depicting him and his girlfriend was published in December and caused ripples in his family. Opponents say the measure infringes on freedom of the press.

The Senate will also consider Tuesday a highly debated proposal to develop public school lands. The bill, known as the 21st Century Schools bill, seeks to increase government revenue to support school facilities by partnering with private companies to develop public school land.

Proponents say the schools are in dire need of funding. But critics say the proposal is too reminiscent of the state’s highly criticized land development agency, which both chambers have already voted to abolish.

The Senate has sent just 36 measures to the House so far, while the House has already transferred more than 140 bills to the Senate.

House Clerk Brian Takeshita says the House still plans to vote on more than 200 bills this week. The House will also vote on proposal to develop public school lands. In addition, the House will consider bills to reform the state university and address the state’s growing unfunded liabilities.

 

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