Council is considering legislative priorities: lifeguards, fees, fines, June 10th top list


Increasing multiple fees and fines, limiting lifeguard liability, and adding Juneteenth to its list of 13 state holidays are among the eight priorities Hawaii‘s four counties are trying to bring to the state legislature.

The legislature doesn’t start until January 19, but the Hawaii County Council is preparing by approving the county’s recommendations compiled by the Hawaii State Association of Counties. The council will vote on the HSAC package on Wednesday and will also hear from Mayor Mitch Roth’s administration on its particular priorities on that day.

“I am very happy with this package because I think it has been tested really well. It has been reviewed at the council level and by the HSAC executive committee, “said Heather Kimball, councilor of Hamakua, the county HSAC representative on the board. “Not everything that was supported by the councils made it. … We were very picky about what we thought would be successful. “

Of the approved priorities, Hawaii County put one, Honolulu City and County one, Maui put three, and the HSAC Board put three under resolution 263 due for final reading at the council meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday. The package must be approved by all four counties before it is represented to the legislative leaders.

Roth’s administration will address the Council’s Committee on Business, Relations and Economic Development at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Puna City Councilor Ashley Kierkiewicz praised the process.

“This package is really representative of the problems that the counties share,” said Kierkiewicz. “These are all things that are really important to us.”

• A draft law on liability insurance for lifeguards has always been a priority for the districts and is included in the current package. It would exempt lifeguards and counties from liability in legal proceedings as long as they are not based on gross negligence. The priority was presented by the HSAC board.

The state signs contracts with counties to ensure lifeguards on the state’s busiest beaches. But in 2017 the approximately 350 district lifeguards lost their liability protection when a law expired that had protected them for 15 years.

Another ongoing issue, changes to the state’s Sunshine Act to give district boards more flexibility, has not been included in the HSAC package but is still being negotiated, Kimball said.

Further suggestions in the package:

• Tourism Impact Fee: Evaluates a climate change impact fee for tourism-related vehicles. (Submitted by Maui)

• Traffic fines: Authorizes counties to impose additional fines in addition to those provided by the state that are imposed on counties in which the violations occurred. (Submitted by Honolulu)

• Vehicle Registration Fees: The US $ 10 registration fee limit for highway beautification and abandoned vehicle disposal will be removed. (Submitted by Hawaii County)

• Chop shops: Defines criminal sanctions for chop shop activities. (Submitted by Maui)

• Coastal Zone Management: Lowers the size threshold for homes that are considered development under the Coastal Zone Management Act. (Submitted by Maui)

• Temporary Accommodation Tax: Clarifies the administration and enforcement of the district surcharge on temporary accommodation tax and empowers the state to help with the administration. The bill responds to objections raised by Governor David Ige when he vetoed the bill that allowed the district surcharge, which the legislature repealed earlier this year. (Submitted by the HSAC board)

• Juneteenth Day: Requests the governor and legislature to make Juneteenth a public holiday or to encourage government agencies to grant administrative leave to comply with Juneteenth. (Submitted by the HSAC board)

Email Nancy Cook Lauer at [email protected].


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