Published in The Maui News September 29, 2013
By G. RIKI HOKAMA, for The Maui News
The Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee will meet tomorrow at 9 a.m. to consider proposals for the 2014 Hawaii State Association of Counties legislative package.
Proposals approved by all four county councils will be included in the final HSAC legislative package, which will be submitted to the legislature before the legislative session begins on Jan. 15. The committee will review proposals submitted by the Hawaii and Kauai county councils and the Honolulu City Council.
The City Council has proposed HSAC support legislation to require helmets be worn by all motorcycle and motor scooter drivers and their passengers and all moped drivers in the state regardless of their age. Currently, helmets are only required to be worn if the drivers or passengers are under 18.
The Kauai County Council has proposed a measure to allow the state and counties to continue to post warning signs and provide lifeguards at beach parks, without the threat of being sued for conditions or events that are outside the government’s control.
The Hawaii County Council has proposed HSAC endorse state appropriations for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and a primary care training program at Hilo Medical Center.
Fiscal measures will also be considered, including a state bill to raise the annual cap on the counties’ share of Transient Accommodations Tax revenue. TAT revenue has long been a critical component of the counties’ budgets, helping to provide local services and infrastructure that support the visitor industry.
To provide county representation on the boards of the statewide Employees’ Retirement System and the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, one measure proposes that the mayors be allowed to appoint, with HSAC’s approval, a member to each board.
Another proposal would require the legislature to accept live oral testimony from Neighbor Island residents.
The Maui County Council previously approved three of its own proposals for inclusion in the package. Those proposals need not be considered by the committee again tomorrow.
The committee will also consider a bill to consolidate various boards and commissions into a single board, called the Public Works Commission, as a cost-saving measure. In addition, the committee will continue its discussion on the Old Wailuku Post Office investigation.
A copy of the agenda is available at www.mauicounty.gov/committees/pia.
G. Riki Hokama is chairman of the Maui County Council’s Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and holds the Council’s Lanai residency seat. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.
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