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State roundup for March 15

Panel advances foster care bill

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii House Committee on Human Services has approved a bill to create a new foster care program for young adults, extending the state’s foster services to cover people up to age 21.

Testimony about the bill this week was overwhelmingly positive. Advocates say that extending foster care services decreases the risk of homelessness and substance abuse while increasing the likelihood of education and employment.

Judith Wilhoite from Family Programs Hawaii says that if the bill passes, Hawaii would be the 16th U.S. state to extend foster care to age 21.

Both the House and the Senate approved different versions of the bill last week.

Committee Chairwoman Mele Carroll amended the Senate version Thursday to align its text with the House proposal. The bill now goes to the judiciary committee.

Panel advances solar credit bill

HONOLULU (AP) — The House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection has moved forward a bill to amend Hawaii’s renewable energy tax credits.

The committee voted unanimously Thursday to approve the bill, which now goes to the committee on consumer protection.

Committee Chairman Chris Lee amended the utility-scale tax credit section of the bill based on public feedback.

He didn’t specify how much the tax credits would be, saying that’s the job of the Committee on Finance.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says existing solar tax credits are costing the state too much money and wants to decrease them.


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