Blog Archives

Legislative Updates
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

 
Leadership Assignments at the Capitol Mostly Still the Same

The election cycle is finally over and the nation’s politicians are starting to prepare for the next round of lawmaking.  At the local level, the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives recently announced their leadership structure for the upcoming legislative session.

kouchi_souki

The Senate reaffirmed Ron Kouchi as Senate President and the House retained Joe Souki as Speaker.  Other leadership posts in both chambers will remain mostly the same:

For the Senate:

President:  Ron Kouchi
Vice President:  Michelle Kidani (former Education Chair)
Majority Floor Leader:  Will Espero (former Vice President)
Majority Leader:  Kalani English
Majority Caucus Leader:  Brickwood Galuteria
Majority Whip:  Donovan Dela Cruz

Ways and Means Chair:  Jill Tokuda
Commerce and Consumer Protection:  Roz Baker
Judiciary and Labor:  Gil Keith-Agaran
Human Services Commitee:  Josh Green (former Majority Floor Leader/Whip)

(Other Senate committee chairs have not yet been finalized.)

For the House of Representatives:

Speaker:  Joe Souki
Vice Speaker:  John Mizuno
Majority Leader:  Scott Saiki
Majority Floor Leader:  Cindy Evans
Majority Whip:  Ken Ito
Assistant Majority Leaders:  Roy Takumi, Chris Lee and Dee Morikawa
Majority Policy Leader (new position):  Marcus Oshiro
Speaker Emeritus:  Calvin Say

(No House committee chairs have been announced.)

 
Two Lawsuits and Several Bills Challenging the DOL’s New FLSA Rules

UPDATE:  OMG!  Contrary to very-widely-held speculation, a federal district court actually did issue a preliminary injunction against the new FLSA rules!  And, the injunction applies nationwide!  Click here for further details:  Nationwide Injunction Imposed Against New FLSA Rules

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This has been a busy couple of weeks for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) new FLSA rules.  First, two lawsuits have been filed in a Texas federal court to seek an order preventing the DOL from enforcing its new overtimes rules.  In addition, a House bill - HR 6094 – is making its way through Congress to postpone implementation of the new FLSA rules for six months.  The new rules are currently set to take effect on December 1, 2016, which is just about two months away.

lawsuit

The first lawsuit was filed by 21 states and argues that the DOL overstepped its authority by raising the salary level for the FLSA’s Executive, Administrative and Professional exemptions (“EAP exemptions”).  The lawsuit argues that, instead of raising the salary level, the DOL should have reexamined the duties of the EAP exemptions.  In addition, the 21 states also challenged the automatic increases that are set to increase every three years “without regard for current economic conditions or the effect on public and private resources.”  Finally, the lawsuit posits that new DOL’s rules violate the Tenth Amendment because employment budgetary matters such as the pay requirements of state employees are subject to state sovereignty.

The second lawsuit was filed by a coalition of business groups, including the National Federal of Independent Businesses (“NFIB”) and several Chambers of Commerce.  This lawsuit argues that setting new salary threshold at an exceedingly high level and scheduling automatic increases both violate the Administrative Procedure Act.

(Both lawsuits have been assigned to Judge Amos Mazzant, who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama.  So, that’s not exactly great news…)

Finally, there are several bills pending in Congress that seek either (1) a delay of the new rules or (2) a phase-in of the increased salary threshold over several years.  Specifically, HR 6094 and S. 3462 both seek a six-month delay of the effective date of the new rules and HR 5813 and S. 3464 seek to phase-in the increases over several years.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted 241-177 in favor of passing HR 6094.  The bill will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration.  However, President Obama has previously threatened to veto the measure if it is passed and the Office of Management and Budget issued a statement that “strongly opposes” the bill.

Therefore, despite all these legal challenges to the new FLSA rules, employers should plan to implement whatever changes they deem necessary by the December 1, 2016 effective date.

 
Social Media Privacy Bill Vetoed

Following up on his notice of intent to veto HB 1739, this year’s social media privacy bill, Governor David Ige issued his veto of the measure on July 11, 2016.

veto stamp

In his veto message, the Governor noted that the bill contained no enforcement authority or due process.  In addition, the Governor also stated that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (“DLIR”) does not currently have the staff, resources, or expertise to administer the measure, including such actions as intake of complaints, determination of violations, education of rights, determination and collection of fees, and administrative review.  Furthermore, the DLIR is also struggling with case backlogs in other areas.  Finally, the Governor noted that the Legislature did not provide any funding for administration of this bill.  Therefore, he vetoed the bill.

You can review a copy of the governor’s veto message here:  GM 1322.