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Medical Marijuana
2019 Legislative Update after Second Crossover

The Hawaii Employers Council has just published its latest updates on what types of new employment laws may be passed during the 2019 legislative session.  Some of the areas of law that maybe impacted include:

  • Minimum Wage
  • Equal Pay and Pay Disclosures
  • Sexual Harassment and Confidentiality
  • Social Media Privacy
  • Medical Marijuana Non-Discrimination
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Hawaii Family Leave Law for Grandchildren
  • Workers Compensation

The Legislative Digest is available to the public and can be accessed here:  Legislative Digest for Second Crossover. 

A more detailed and comprehensive article discussing several of the key measures that are being considered is available to HEC members only and can be accessed here:  Highlights of Employment Bills after Second Crossover.

 
2018 Legislative Proposals

The 2018 legislative session is well underway.This year, lawmakers introduced dozens of bills that could impact many different areas of labor and employment law.  For instance, some of these proposals could revise Hawaii law on the following topics:

  • Notice of Work Schedules
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Hiring Practices
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave
  • Pay Secrecy and Transparency
  • Social Media Privacy
  • Workplace TRO’s
  • Independent Contractors
  • Wage Discrimination
  • Minimum Wage
  • Workers Compensation
  • Temporary Disability Insurance

Many of these measures have been heard and passed out by their assigned committees, whereas others may end up on the cutting room floor this week.  The Hawaii Employers Council (“HEC”) will be closely monitoring these bills during the 2018 legislative session.

You can view a listing of bills that HEC will be monitoring here:  2018 Employment Bills Introduced.   An updated list of bills will be issued following the First Crossover deadline.

 
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).

 
Got Questions About Medical Marijuana?

These past few months, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about medical marijuana.  And no, the questions haven’t been about how to get medical marijuana!  Rather, companies and the media have been asking me various questions about the rights of businesses when it comes to medical marijuana usage, either by employees or even customers.  It appears these questions have become more and more common because medical marijuana dispensaries will be opening shortly here in Hawaii.

 questions

Recently, the Kokua Line – a column for the Star Advertiser – wrote a couple of brief articles addressing some of the questions that are commonly raised by businesses.  You can read the articles on the following links:

There were also several bills relating to medical marijuana moving through this year’s legislative session.  Only one bill is still alive, however, and that measure would expand the reasons for which an individual could qualify for a medical marijuana card.  Under current law, an individual qualifies for medical marijuana usage if s/he has a “debilitating condition” – which currently includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDs, or a chronic or debilitating disease or condition that involves cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, or PTSD.

For further information about Hawaii’s medical marijuana laws, you can read the applicable statutes here:  HRS Chapter 329.

 
Let’s Talk About Drugs and Money, But Not in the Same Sentence (Quotes in the PBN)

Just recently, the Pacific Business News published a couple short articles where they included my thoughts about what we can expect during the upcoming legislative session.  The first article talked about possible medical marijuana legislation and the second article discussed Hawaii wage and hour law.

With regards to medical marijuana, I mentioned that we can expect to see bills that propose to expand the rights of medical marijuana patients in two ways.  First, medical marijuana is currently available only to individuals who have a debilitating condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, severe pain, or PTSD.  With the growing social acceptance of medical marijuana, we will likely see legislation opening up marijuana to conditions such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, and arthritis.  Second, we might also see measures that provide job protection for users of medical marijuana – meaning that an employer would be prohibited from firing an employee because the employee uses medical marijuana.

With regards to wage and hour law, we might see an increase in the salary threshold for Hawaii wage and hour exemption, which is currently set at $2,000 per month (in other words, an employee who is guaranteed a salary of $2,000 per month is exempt from Hawaii minimum wage and OT requirements, although they still need to comply with federal law).  Such legislation is especially likely in light of the DOL’s proposed increases to the salary basis for the FLSA’s exemptions.

You can read a copy of the articles here:  Medical Marijuana and Wage and Hour Exemption.