LEGISLATIVE UPDATE (4-18-23)
Mahalo for your continued support in our collective efforts to create a safer, more just, and equitable Hawaiʻi. While we’ve seen some victories this session, we still have so much work to do to end mass incarceration and prioritize care, health, education, housing and community-based restorative justice that actually makes us safer.
Here are a few more important bills we're looking to get across the finish line. More detailed info about priority bills we've followed this 2023 legislative session is below.
CANNABIS CLEMENCY (HCR51 HD1)
This resolution urges the Governor to initiate a clemency program for individuals who have been prosecuted for cannabis related offenses. Drug related cases are the largest contributor to Hawaiʻi’s incarceration population. Criminalizing the personal possession or use of drugs does not fix the problem of mass incarceration. In fact, it contributes to the overcrowding of current jails and prisons. Beyond that, Native Hawaiians disproportionately make up the current incarceration population which our current government is not taking effective steps to fix. Clemency can correct these injustices and offset the well documented racial disparities of policing, prosecution, and sentencing caused by the War on Drugs. Lastly, it is fiscally more responsible to grant clemency. Hawaiʻi currently spends $238 a day to incarcerate someone. It’s far past time to decriminalize those targeted by the racist and unjust War on Drugs.
EXPUNGEMENT (SB410 SD1 HD2)
This measure prohibits the inclusion of traffic citations that have been dismissed from a person’s driving record and requires the court to automatically seal or remove arrest records and information relating to expungement orders in the Judiciary’s publicly accessible electronic databases. The current expungement process is time-consuming, costly, complicated and relies on an outdated paper system. Having an effective automatic expungement process makes expungement more accessible to those who are eligible. A step closer to Clean Slate, this measure is rooted in second chances. People who have made mistakes, paid their debt to society, and now want to make a better life for themselves and their families deserve a shot at redemption.
POLICE DUTY TO INTERVENE (SB372 SD1)
This measure codifies “the duty to intervene” if law enforcement officers believe that other officers are using unnecessary or excessive force on an individual and requires them to report the incident to a supervisor. It also requires police departments to submit annual reports to the legislature.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE (3-15-23)
Mahalo for your continued support in our collective efforts to create a safer, more just, and equitable Hawaiʻi. Here’s an update on how our 2023 legislative priorities have moved through the session. Now that we’ve passed the first crossover, we’re focusing our advocacy efforts around the following measures:
POLICING DATA COLLECTION (HB880 HD1)
Police must be transparent, accountable, and responsible to the communities they serve. This data collection bill is a measured step in advancing transparency and accountability related to policing in Hawai’i. It requires each county police department to collect, report, and publicly publish certain data regarding police stops, arrests, uses of force, and trends.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM (HB1336 HD2)
Mass incarceration harms not just those who are detained, but their families and our extended communities. Our current pretrial system is a particularly destructive form of wealth-based detention that perpetuates cycles of poverty, increases the likelihood of future criminal legal system involvement, and disproportionately harms Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and communities of color who are overrepresented in the criminal legal system. We should be reinvesting in community solutions that include treatment and reentry options for people struggling with substance use. This omnibus criminal justice reform bill, modifies the circumstances under which police issue citations in lieu of arrests, authorizes a grace period after a missed initial court appearance, amends various provisions related to pretrial release, allows the court to order substance abuse assessment and treatment and removes, and removes punitive drug use screenings from parole and probation processes.
CANNABIS REFORM (SB669 SD2)
Far too many people are arrested and convicted for simple marijuana possession, needlessly entangling them in a criminal legal system that ruins lives. The enforcement of cannabis laws generates some of the starkest racial disparities, billions in financial waste, and counterproductive measures. The time is now for comprehensive drug reform, including cannabis decriminalization and expungement. This bill is a measured step toward comprehensive equitable policies to legalize, tax, and regulate adult use of cannabis and redress the devastating effects of marijuana prohibition policies. It decriminalizes and establishes regulations for the cultivation, manufacture, sale, and personal use of small amounts of cannabis.
POLICE DUTY TO INTERVENE (SB372 SD1)
This measure codifies “the right to intervene” if law enforcement officers believe that other officers are using unnecessary or excessive force on an individual. It also requires the same law enforcement officers to report the incident to a supervisor and requires police departments to submit an annual report to the legislature.
ABORTION ACCESS (SB1 SD2)
Abortion is legal in Hawaiʻi, but healthcare and abortion access are inaccessible to many women and other people across the pae'āina, especially those who are poor, those who live in rural areas or on islands without easily accessible clinics, and for Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and people of color who already experience significant health disparities. This measure protects and expands access to abortion. It allows licensed physician assistants to perform certain abortions, repeals the location requirement, and protects the privacy rights of those who seek abortions.
More detailed information about bills the status of the bills we're tracking this legislative session is below.
The State of Policing Data in Hawaiʻi
Our laws give police extraordinary authority. Police can stop anyone, search them, and even use lethal force. An increasing number of states are calling for more transparency and accountability from police departments and officers when they abuse their authority. Several states have enacted legislation requiring policing data collection. This proposed measure also aligns with the Presidential Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable, Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety. Current policing data collection in Hawaiʻi is inadequate. The data available lacks uniformity and varies from county to county, making it hard to understand, decipher, and evaluate the efficacy of policing practices.
Why Policing Data Collection is Needed?
Police must be transparent, accountable, and responsive to the communities they serve. A policing data collection bill is a measured step to advance transparency and accountability to policing in Hawaiʻi. Comprehensive data will enhance transparency by providing a better understanding of the reasons for police stops and arrests. It can identify and reduce racial profiling and improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
What will a Policing Data Collection bill do?
This bill will require police departments in all counties to submit an annual report to the state legislature and to make the underlying data accessible to the public. This bill will outline the collection of data relating to: traffic and detention stops, arrests, use of force, felony arrests, police complaints, misconduct, and demographic data.
Pretrial Reform in Hawaiʻi
In Hawaiʻi, approximately 50 percent of the people in jails at any given time have not been convicted of a crime. This high rate of pretrial detention means hundreds of people are locked in jail simply because they cannot afford the amount of bail set by the judge.
Individuals awaiting trial in jail are more likely to receive jail or prison sentences, and longer sentences, than those who are released before their trial. The loss of income, possible loss of employment and housing, disruption of prescribed medications, and stresses on one’s family drive many people to accept plea bargains, just to get out.
Why is Pretrial Reform Needed?
Under our federal and state constitutions, liberty is the norm and detention prior to trial or without trial is the carefully limited exception. However, in Hawaiʻi, pretrial detention is often the default decision by the courts, resulting in a person’s loss of freedom. This practice violates constitutional protections, due process, equal protection, including the Eighth Amendment (prohibits excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment). It is also contrary to the fundamental American principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. Setting cash bail at an unaffordable amount not only violates the Constitution but also permanently destroys the lives and livelihoods of thousands of families in Hawaiʻi.
The proposed measure establishes a presumption that a person charged with a crime is entitled to unconditional release. It also requires the State to prove by clear and convincing evidence that detention is necessary to prevent willful flight, specific danger to a person/s, and/or obstruction of justice. It ensures that detention is imposed through a fair process that includes a prompt hearing and appeal, notice of issues and evidence. Pretrial reform will advance a fair process for people awaiting trial, more equitable sentences, reduce overcrowding in our jails, and carefully balance constitutional rights and public safety.
What is “Clean Slate"?
Under Clean Slate, people are eligible to have their past arrest and conviction records automatically erased after a period of time has passed.
Why “Clean Slate”?
The ACLU believes that people should be able to live with a Clean Slate after they have paid their debt to society. When people returning from jail have greater access to jobs, housing, and higher education, they are less likely to recidivate and are better able to provide for themselves and their families.
Studies show that those with older conviction records are about as likely to commit a new crime as those with no criminal history.1
What does a “Clean Slate” bill look like?
This measure will expand eligibility for expungement beyond arrests and limited number of convictions. It would require the State to create a system that automates record clearance and requires automatic clearance upon eligibility of the record. This would also include arrest records, misdemeanor records, and eligibility of some felony records.
HB880 HD1 Data Collection; Police Stops; Arrests; Uses of Force; Report - SUPPORT
RELATING TO POLICING. Requires each county police department to collect, report, and publicly publish certain data regarding police stops, arrests, uses of force, and trends. Effective 12/1/23. Referred to PSM, JDC. Dead.
HB1336 HD2 Courts; Corrections; Arrests; Pretrial Release; Parole; Revocation - SUPPORT
RELATING TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM. Part I: Expands the authorized issuance of citations in lieu of arrests. Authorizes a grace period after a missed initial court appearance. Part II: Amends various provisions related to pretrial release. Part III: Allows the court to order substance abuse assessment and treatment. Prohibits the arrest of a parolee, or the revocation of parole, solely due to the defendant having one positive test for drug use. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD2). Referred to PSM, JDC. Dead.
SB669 SD2 Adult-Use Cannabis; Hawaiʻi Cannabis Regulatory Authority; Medical Cannabis; Taxation - SUPPORT
RELATING TO CANNABIS. Establishes regulations for the cultivation, manufacture, sale, and personal use of small amounts of cannabis. Decriminalizes and regulates small amounts of cannabis for personal use. Establishes taxes for cannabis sales. Takes effect 03/22/2075. (SD2) Referred to JHA/AGR, CPC, FIN, referral sheet 17. Dead.
SB372 SD1 HD1 Law Enforcement Officers; Arrests; Excessive Force; Duty to Intervene - SUPPORT
RELATING TO GOVERNMENT SERVICES RELATING TO THE LAW. Provides that a law enforcement officer has a duty to intervene if the law enforcement officer reasonably believes that another law enforcement officer is using unnecessary or excessive force on an arrestee. Requires the law enforcement officer to report the incident to the fellow law enforcement officer's supervisor. Requires relevant departments to submit annual reports to the Legislature. Takes effect 1/1/2050. (SD1). Senate disagrees with House amendments.
SB1 SD2 Abortion; Physician Assistants; Consent by Minors; Reproductive Health Care Services; Disclosures; Subpoenas; Licensing Authorities; Disciplinary Action; Investigations; Proceedings - SUPPORT
RELATING TO HEALTH CARE. Allows licensed physician assistants to perform certain abortions. Repeals the requirement that abortions be performed at certain locations. Clarifies that the State shall not deny or interfere with a pregnant person's right to choose to (1) obtain an abortion or (2) if necessary to protect the life or health of the patient terminate the pregnancy. Defines "abortion" and "nonviable fetus". Prohibits a covered entity from disclosing information relating to reproductive health care services. Prohibits the issuance of a subpoena in connection with an out-of-state or interstate proceeding relating to reproductive health care services legally performed in the State. Prohibits agencies from providing information or expending resources in the furtherance of out-of-state or interstate investigations or proceedings relating to reproductive health care services. Prohibits the State from taking adverse action based on pregnancy outcomes or for aiding or assisting a pregnant individual with accessing reproductive health care services. Requires the Governor to deny any demand for surrender of a person charged with a crime involving reproductive health care services unless the conduct constitutes a crime in the State or is made under Article IV, section 2, of the U.S. Constitution. Enumerates laws contrary to public policy and prohibits their application. Prohibits the issuance of a summons for persons to testify in another state with regard to lawful reproductive health care services. Clarifies under various licensing statutes that the provision or assistance in receipt or provision of certain services related to the human reproductive system cannot form a basis for disciplinary action. Prohibits the enforcement of a judgment or order arising from a foreign penal civil action or other penal law with respect to reproductive health care services. Amends the definition of "medical care and services" so that a minor may...(see document for full description) (SD2). Referred to HLT/JHA. Passed. Signed into law by Governor.
SB1168 Criminal Records; Arrest; Conviction; Automatic Expungement - SUPPORT
RELATING TO EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS. Expands eligibility for, and automates, the expungement of arrest and conviction records if certain criteria are met, including the lack of a conviction record for a specified time period following the date of an arrest, conviction, or release from incarceration. Requires the Attorney General to issue automatic expungement orders for certain arrests and convictions beginning 12/1/2025. Requires the Judiciary to automatically seal or remove information for certain arrests and convictions from publicly accessible databases beginning 12/1/2025. Referred to JDC. Dead.
HB1279 Crime; Unconditional Release; Pre-trial Release; Bail - SUPPORT
RELATING TO BAIL. Establishes a rebuttable presumption that a person charged with a crime is entitled to unconditional release. Requires the court to consider conditioning pre-trial release on nonfinancial conditions before ordering bail if unconditional release is inappropriate. Referred to JHA/CMV, FIN. Dead.
SB350 Bail; Release; Detention - SUPPORT
RELATING TO CRIMINAL PRETRIAL REFORM. Eliminates the use of monetary bail and requires defendants to be released on their own recognizance for traffic offenses; violations; and nonviolent petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and nonviolent class C felony offenses, with certain exceptions. Referred to PSM, JDC. Dead.
HB3300 State Budget ($) - COMMENTS Support Full Funding for Oversight Commission
RELATING TO THE STATE BUDGET. Appropriates funds for the operating and capital improvement budget of the Executive Branch for fiscal years 2023-2024 and 2024-2025. (SD1) Received notice of Senate conferees (Sen. Com. No. 889).
HCR51 HD1 Cannabis Related Offenses; Clemency; Pardon - SUPPORT
URGING THE GOVERNOR TO INITIATE A CLEMENCY PROGRAM FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE BEEN PROSECUTED FOR CANNABIS-RELATED OFFENSES. The committee(s) on JDC has scheduled a public hearing on 04-20-23 10:00AM; Conference Room 225 & Videoconference.
HB823 HD2 Corrections; Facilities; Deaths; Reports; Information - SUPPORT
RELATING TO DEATHS WITHIN THE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM. Expands the scope of reports on correctional facility and community correctional center deaths that are submitted to the governor and legislature. Requires certain reports to be published on the department of corrections and rehabilitation website. Mandates public access to other information reported. (HD2). Passed. Transmitted to Governor.
SB410 SD1 HD2 Dismissed Traffic Citations; Driver's Record; Public Record; Abstract Report; Expungement; Judiciary; Examiner of Drivers - SUPPORT
RELATING TO EXPUNGEMENT. Prohibits the director of transportation and traffic and emergency period violations bureaus of the district courts from furnishing information related to dismissed traffic citations. Requires the court to automatically seal or remove from the judiciary's publicly accessible databases any information relevant to the arrest or case of a person for whom an expungement order has been entered and transmitted to the court. Effective 7/1/2025. (HD2) Senate disagrees with House amendments.
HB485 HD3 SD2 Department of Health; Certificates of Marriage; Changes; Gender and Sex Identifiers - SUPPORT
RELATING TO MARRIAGE. Provides for the replacement of certificates of marriage for individuals who have changed their gender, sex, and, if applicable, name. Effective 1/1/2024. (SD2) House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).
HB67 HD1 SD2 UH; Windward Community College; Pu`uhonua Program; Women's Community Correctional Center; Halawa Correctional Facility; Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility; Positions; Appropriations ($) - SUPPORT
MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE PU`UHONUA PROGRAM. Appropriates funds to establish an unspecified number of fulltime equivalent positions for the University of Hawaiʻi Windward Community College's Pu`uhonua Program. Effective 6/30/3000. (SD2). House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).
HB1156 HD2 SD2 Assisted Community Treatment; Petitions; Attorney General; Judiciary; Report; Appropriation ($) - OPPOSE
RELATING TO HEALTH. Requires the Department of the Attorney General to assist with the preparation and filing of assisted community treatment petitions and related court proceedings for private petitioners, unless the petitioner declines the assistance. Authorizes the Family Court to use online hearings for assisted community treatment petitions. Requires the Department of the Attorney General to report to the Legislature prior to the Regular Sessions of 2024 and 2025 on the number of requests for assistance with petitions for assisted community treatment. Appropriates funds. Effective 6/30/2050. (SD2). House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).
HB1132 HD1 SD1 Corrections; Oversight; Coordinator; Meetings; Investigations - SUPPORT
RELATING TO THE HAWAII CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM OVERSIGHT COMMISSION. Requires members of the Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission be subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. Extends the term of the Oversight Coordinator for the Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission. Requires the Commission to publish a summary of an investigation and any action taken by the Commission in response. Authorizes the Commission to hold a meeting closed to the public to discuss with the Oversight Coordinator a complaint investigated when necessary to maintain confidentiality, under certain conditions. Broadens the Oversight Coordinator's power to make inquiries, obtain information, and inspect the premises of agencies and correctional facilities. Effective 6/30/3000. (SD1) House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).
SB1057 SD2 HD2 Employment; Job Listing; Disclosure; Equal Pay; Discrimination - SUPPORT
RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT EARNINGS. Requires certain job listings to include an hourly rate or salary range. Prohibits an employer from discriminating between employees because of any protected category established under state law, by paying wages to employees in an establishment at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to other employees in the establishment for substantially similar work. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD2) Senate disagrees with House amendments.
HB719 HD1 SD2 Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct; Public Records; Costs; Disclosure; Public Interest; Waiver; Office of Information Practices; Positions; Appropriation ($) - SUPPORT
RELATING TO PUBLIC RECORDS. Imposes a cap on charges for the reproduction of certain government records. Waives the cost of duplication of government records provided to requestors in an electronic format. Allows agencies to withhold certain deliberative documents before a decision is made. Imposes a cap on charges for searching for, reviewing, and segregating records. Provides for a waiver of fees when the public interest is served by a record's disclosure. Appropriates funds for positions in the Office of Information Practices. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD2). House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).
HB451 HD1 SD1 Incarcerated Individuals; Pilot Visitation and Family Resource Center; Waiawa Correctional Facility; DHS; DPS; Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; Appropriations ($) - SUPPORT
RELATING TO INCARCERATED INDIVIDUALS. Amends Act 125, SLH 2022, to extend the time to expend appropriations for the establishment of a pilot visitation and family resource center at Waiawa Correctional Facility on Oahu, and makes conforming amendments related to the establishment of the department of corrections and rehabilitation. Appropriates additional funds to implement the pilot visitation and family resource center at Waiawa Correctional Facility. Effective 6/30/3000. (SD1). House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).
SB1167 SD1 Constitutional Amendment; Individual Reproductive Rights (ConAm) - OPPOSE Unless Amended
PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE HAWAII STATE CONSTITUTION TO PROTECT INDIVIDUAL REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. Proposes a constitutional amendment to protect an individual's reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, including the right to abortion and contraceptives. (SD1) Referred to JHA, FIN, referral sheet 17. Notice of bill proposing constitutional amendment transmitted to Governor pursuant to Article XVII, Section 3 (Sen. Com. No. 1). Dead
HB1235 HD2 DPS; Adult Correctional Officers; Control Rooms; Cameras; Body Cameras; Appropriation ($) - SUPPORT
RELATING TO CORRECTIONS. Appropriates funds for purchasing digital cameras for all adult correctional officer control rooms at state correctional facilities and body cameras for adult correctional officers to wear while on duty at state correctional facilities. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD2) Referred to PSM, JDC, WAM. Dead
HB824 HD2 PDS; Hawaiʻi Paroling Authority; Corrections; Medical Release Program - SUPPORT Version 1
RELATING TO MEDICAL RELEASE. Creates a medical release program within the department of public safety for certain ill or impaired inmates who pose a low risk to public safety. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD2) Report adopted; Passed Second Reading and referred to JDC. Dead.
SB1469 SD1 HD1 First Responders Technology Campus and Cybersecurity Data Center; Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation; Appropriation ($) - OPPOSE
RELATING TO THE FIRST RESPONDERS TECHNOLOGY CAMPUS AND CYBERSECURITY DATA CENTER. Appropriates funds for the development of the First Responders Technology Campus and Cybersecurity Data Center. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD1). Passed Second Reading as amended in HD 1 and referred to the committee(s) on HET with none voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Ganaden, Kapela voting no (2) and Representative(s) Perruso excused (1). Dead.
SB1092 SD1 Penalties; Driver's License; Fines - SUPPORT
RELATING TO PENALTIES. Makes driving without a license a civil violation. Establishes fines. Takes effect 7/1/2050. (SD1). Report adopted; Passed Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referred to JDC. Dead.
HB573 SD1 Fentanyl Test Strips; Drug Paraphernalia; Uniform Controlled Substances Act - SUPPORT
RELATING TO FENTANYL TEST STRIPS. Excludes from the definition of "drug paraphernalia", testing products utilized in determining whether a controlled substance contains chemicals, toxic substances, or hazardous compounds in quantities that can cause physical harm or death, including but not limited to fentanyl test strips. Defines "fentanyl test strip". (SD1). The committee on JDC deferred the measure. Dead.
HB1154 HD2 Uniform Probate Code; Guardians; Emergency Hospitalizations; Assessments; Surrogates - OPPOSE
RELATING TO GUARDIANSHIP. Part I: Amends the Uniform Probate Code to allow courts to appoint emergency guardians for respondents who reside in psychiatric facilities, hospitals, and homeless shelters. Extends the appointment period. Clarifies that guardians may consent to care, treatment, or service over the objection of wards. Sunsets 1/1/2028. Part II: Requires certain patients subject to emergency hospitalization to be assessed to determine whether a surrogate or guardian is needed to make appropriate health care decisions for the patient. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD2). Referred to HHS, JDC. Dead.
SCR205 Hawaiʻi Paroling Authority; Minimum Term; Task Force - SUPPORT
REQUESTING THE JUDICIARY TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING EXISTING PROCEDURES OF THE HAWAII PAROLING AUTHORITY SETTING THE MINIMUM TERMS OF IMPRISONMENT. Part I: Amends the Uniform Probate Code to allow courts to appoint emergency guardians for respondents who reside in psychiatric facilities, hospitals, and homeless shelters. Extends the appointment period. Clarifies that guardians may consent to care, treatment, or service over the objection of wards. Sunsets 1/1/2028. Part II: Requires certain patients subject to emergency hospitalization to be assessed to determine whether a surrogate or guardian is needed to make appropriate health care decisions for the patient. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD2). The committee on JDC deferred the measure. Dead.
HB877 HD1 UH; Law School; Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge; Prison Reform; Hookaulike; Appropriations ($) - SUPPORT
RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII. Part I: Establishes the Hookaulike: A Criminal Legal System Institute for Restoration and Healing, at the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson school of law. Appropriates funds. Effective 7/1/3000. (HD1). Referred to HRE/JDC, WAM. Dead.
SB903 SD1 Restorative Justice Programs; Department of the Attorney General; Counties; Appropriation ($) - SUPPORT
RELATING TO RESTORATIVE JUSTICE. PRequires the Department of the Attorney General to establish and support a restorative justice program that, in collaboration with the prosecuting attorney of each county, offers restorative justice opportunities in each county to allow victims and offenders to participate in restorative justice. Appropriates funds. Takes effect 03/22/2075. (SD1). Report adopted; Passed Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referred to WAM. Dead.
1 Megan C. Kurlychek, et al., Scarlet Letters and Recidivism: Does an Old Criminal Record Predict Future Offending?, 5 CRIMINOLOGY & PUB. POL’Y 483, 498-500 (2006).