Blog Archives

Legislative Updates
State House Leadership Changes Announced

Earlier today, the new Speaker of the State House of Representatives Scott Saiki announced his full leadership team.

The new Vice Speaker of the House is Della Au Belatti, the Majority Leader is Cindy Evans, and the Majority Floor Leader is Dee Morikawa.  The full list of Saiki’s new leadership team can be viewed here:  New House Leadership May 17, 2017.

 
2017 Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2017 legislative session has come to a close.  This year, state lawmakers ended up passing out several measures that will amend various employment laws in Hawaii.  Such laws include workers’ compensation, payment of wages, Hawaii Family Leave Law, occupational safety and health penalties, and others.  In addition, the legislature also passed out bills with regards to the Affordable Care Act, medical marijuana, non-profit corporations, and privacy of medical records.

Each legislative session, I prepare a legislative digest on behalf of the Hawaii Employers Council (“HEC”) that provides a list and description of the bills we think could have an impact on employers.  To view a copy of the latest version of the legislative digest following the end of session, please click on the following link:  Employment Bills after Sine Die.

I also presented a 45-minute webinar discussing several of these bills.  The webinar is available for HEC members only and can be viewed here:  2017 Legislative Wrap-Up (Recorded Webinar).

 
2017 Legislative Session Predictions

The legislative session is going to start in just a couple of days.  In order to help HEC members begin thinking about what they will likely see from our lawmakers over the next several months, I recently conducted a 90-minute webinar forecasting possible employment-related legislation for the upcoming legislative session.

To set the context for what types of bills we may see get introduced, heard and possibly passed, I first discussed the political context we are currently experiencing, including (1) a new Labor chair for the House of Representatives, (2) political influencers such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and the new chair of the Hawaii Democratic Party Tim Vandeveer.  I also mentioned the possible trickle-down impact that having President-elect Trump take over the White House may have at the state level.

The possible legislation I then discussed included the following:

  • Salary thresholds for exempt employees
  • Paid sick and save leave
  • Pay transparency and pay equity
  • Minimum wage (and the “Fight for $15″)
  • Hawaii Family Leave Law expansion
  • Social Media privacy
  • Increased regulation of construction industry
  • Employment discrimination (Adams v. CDM Media case)
  • Medical information privacy (PRO v. Queen’s case)
  • Independent Contractors
  • Incentives for hiring disabled individuals
  • Small business preferences for state procurement
  • Price caps on WC medication
  • Increased HIOSH penalties
  • Electronic notices for DLIR hearings
  • Funding for DLIR positions

As the bills start to get introduced and hearings get underway, I’ll be busy tracking legislation on these topics (and likely others).  As a non-election year, it will be interesting to see what kind of legislation has the most movement in 2017.

 
Hawaii Senate Committees Finalized

The Hawaii State Senate has finalized their committee assignments for the 2017 legislative session.  The committees will be chaired as follows:

Ways and Means:  Jill Tokuda
Commerce and Consumer Protection:  Roz Baker
Judiciary and Labor:  Gil Keith-Agaran
Economic Development, Tourism and Technology:  Glenn Wakai
Agriculture and Environment Committee:  Mike Gabbard
Education:  Michelle Kidani
Government Operations:  Donna Kim
Hawaiian Affairs:  Maile Shimabukuro
Higher Education:  Kal Kahele
Housing Committee:  Will Espero
Human Services:  Josh Green
Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs:  Clarence Nishihara
Transportation and Energy:  Lorraine Inouye
Water and Land:  Karl Rhoads

 
Hawaii State House Finalizes Committee Assignments

The Hawaii State House of Representatives recently finalized their committee assignments for the 2017 legislative session.  Here are some of the committee assignments that may be of interest to employers:

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)
Chair:  Angus McKelvey
Vice Chair:  Linda Ichiyama

Economic Development & Business (EDB)
Chair:  Mark Nakashima (former Labor Chair)
Vice Chair:  Jarrett Keohokalole

Finance (FIN)
Chair:  Sylvia Luke
Vice Chair:  Ty Cullen

Health (HLT)
Chair:  Della Au Belatti
Vice Chair:  Bert Kobayashi

Judiciary (JUD)
Chair:  Scott Nishimoto
Vice Chair:  Joy San Buenaventura

Labor & Public Employment
Chair:  Aaron Johanson
Vice Chair:  Daniel Holt