Receive the Insider!
Subscribe to the Capitol Watch newsletter to receive our latest posts.
Agriculture / Food
Captain: Amy Brinker
Captain: Ashley Lukens
Captain: Andre Bisquera
Captain: Steve Mazur
Captain – Nikki Love
Captain: Dave Raney
Captain: Doug Fetterly
Captain: Leilei Shih
Captain: Nina Bermudez
Captain: Diana Kucmerowski
Captain: Nicole Lowen
Captain: Scott Glenn
Captain: Anthony Aalto
Captain: Robert Harris
What is Capitol Watch?
Written by Steve Mazur | Published in Energy
Aloha Renewable Energy Supporters. Here is an update on a few important Bills being heard this week that will help Hawaii in its clean energy transition.
SB 19 helps remove a powerful barrier to solar systems being installed on properties with multiple tenants/lessees that can include apartment buildings, condos, warehouses, retails centers and many other types of properties. Currently, it is not legal for a landlord or property owner to sell renewable energy produced on their property to their tenants because the seller of this clean energy will be deemed a “Utility.” SB 19 exempts the seller/PV system owner from being considered a utility, thus allowing for more properties to benefit from solar energy and moving the State of Hawaii closer to its clean energy goals. 43% of all residents in Hawaii are renters who are currently locked out of green energy and the subsequent savings because their landlords may be reluctant to take this step for fear of being designated as a utility.
Or attend the hearing on SB 19: The committee on CPN will hold a public decision making on 02-21-13 10:45AM in conference room 229.
Typically, the power generated by these systems is sold at a lower rate than the current utility rate resulting in instant savings to the recipients of this electricity. Tenants are protected by the law which requires that “the rate schedule charged to the lessee or tenant for the power generated by the renewable energy system is fixed by the lease agreement.” Finally, the money spent for these renewable power plants benefits our local economy providing skilled jobs and prevents much of our energy investment dollars from leaving the state.
SB 623 SD1 and its House Bill companion, HB 497 HD2 are both being heard this Friday. These Bills provide a way to reasonably reduce the state tax credits over time so that the industry and adoption of renewable energy can continue to expand. There will be slow reduction over the next several years instead of abrupt or drastic reductions that can have a negative impact on adoption of renewable energy and send investors to look to other states for safer investments.
Or attend the hearing on SB 623: The committee on WAM will hold a public decision making on 02-22-13 9:00AM in conference room 211.
Or attend the hearing on SB 497: Bill scheduled to be heard by FIN on Friday, 02-22-13 3:00PM in House conference room 308
Written by Doug Fetterly | Published in Marine / Coastal
One of our constituents—Douglas Meller—has expressed thoughtful concerns with SB 1164 (RELATING TO SPECIAL SHORELINE ENCROACHMENT EASEMENTS). He has agreed to share a few of his questions and comments. As follows:
“(1) What happens when DLNR is unable to positively establish whether all parts of an existing coastal structure had all required county permits and were constructed in compliance with plans approved by the appropriate county agency?”
“(2) Must DLNR unconditionally approve easements for all formerly legal structures?”
“(3) Can DLNR impose conditions to mitigate environmental impacts and hazards? If so, when and what?”
He stated that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not allow state and local governments “to totally prohibit shoreline structures when the prohibition would result in total loss of any economic use of private property. But states (or local government) still may regulate the design of shoreline structures to mitigate impacts.”
He makes two key points in the following, which I completely support—as the rights of the people to beach access is paramount. “…I recommend that…state law require both safe lateral public pedestrian access along the ocean and safe public pedestrian access to and from the ocean as mandatory conditions that must be satisfied for either DLNR or county approval of any proposed public or private coastal structure. I don't support different requirements for old structures which used to be inland of the shoreline.”
SB1164 is now referred to its final committee—JDL. I don’t believe they are accepting public comment at a public venue at this point, but we need to persevere.
Written by Robert Harris | Published in Smart Growth / Transport
We did it!
Today, both the House and Senate took decisive steps that likely mean the end of the Public Lands Development Corporation. The House voted to move HB 1133 out of its final committee assignments. The Senate Water Land Committee gutted and replaced SB 707 with verbal amendments that appear to result in a clean repeal of the PLDC.
Does this mean the PLDC is dead? Not quite yet. The House has to hold two floor votes on HB 1133. The Senate Ways and Means Committee still has to hear and move SB 707 and then two floor votes need to occur. Then one of these two bills needs to move through the other body (HB 1133 needs to go through the Senate or SB 707 needs to go through the House). The House or Senate could simply vote to accept the other's bill and then it would go straight to the Governor. Then the Governor could either sign the bill, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it.
That's a lot of steps, but plainly we've overcome the biggest obstacles. In principle, it seems like all parties have committed to repealing the PLDC.
What an amazing turnaround from just five or six months ago. This is the power of grassroots. This is the power of the people. No organization or individual could have created this result alone. Only by standing together and ensuring our united voices are heard did we achieve this result. I hope YOU, the committed activist, takes credit for this victory. And I hope we can keep our commitment to united action. Only together can we achieve these types of results.
Got a few seconds? Take a moment to say "thank you" to the legislators that helped make this result happen. All of the Chairs deserve credit for allowing the repeal bills to move forward, including the maligned Senator Malama Solomon. But I would specially recognize (in no particular order) Senators Les Ihara, Jr., Laura Thielen, Russell Ruderman, Clayton Hee and Representatives Nicole Lowen, Cindy Evans, Karen Awana, Tom Brower, Lauren Cheape, Denny Coffman, Richard Fale, Beth Fukumoto, Faye Hanohano, Mark Hashem, Kaniela Ing, Aaron Johanson, Chris Lee, Bob McDermott, Angus McKelvey, John Mizuno, Dee Morikawa, Scott Saiki, Roy Takumi, and Cynthia Thielen as folks that really pushed on this issue. You can find their contact information here.
A number of important energy bills are being heard early this week. On Monday:
- HB 856 HD1, which would create a funding mechanism for very inexpensive green energy loans. This bill, together with an on-bill financing program, could make clean energy very cheap and inexpensive!
- HB 857 would reapportion the so-called barrel tax to support food and energy programs. Remember how that was the original purpose? This measure would essentially put 100% of the funds towards the clean energy, agriculture, and environmental response programs.
- HB 448 would require annual LNG reports to be filed with the PUC (including how the gas was extracted and the greenhouse gases emitted) and require the PUC to look at the risks and benefits of LNG.
- HB 1142 would require the utility to negotiate the amount of curtailment could occur. Curtailment is when the utility refuses to take renewable power. When there is uncertainty about the amount they can sell, renewable energy providers have to increase their prices in order to manage the potential risk. This bill would give the providers certainty and, hopefully, reduce the cost of renewable energy.
The hearing notice can be found here. Testimony can be submitted here.
Written by Anthony Aalto | Published in Smart Growth / Transport
Anyone who dares risk life and limb to ride their bike in this State can tell you first hand that we need more bike lanes! In Honolulu, a city that could be a mecca for bicyclists, with year-round good weather and a relatively compact urban area, bikes are instead persona non grata on our streets and sidewalks. Encouraging cycling reduces automobile traffic, green house gas emmisions, dependence on imported oil and is good for people’s health to boot. It should be a no-brainer for the state to aggressively encourage cycling, but this unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case. HB 1080, scheduled for a hearing on Monday, February 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the House Committee on Transportation, is a bill that will take us a step closer to addressing this issue.
The existing law requires that the Department of Transportation consider establishment of bikeways, whenever practicable, wherever a new or existing highway, road, or street is being designed, planned, constructed, reconstructed, relocated, or rehabilitated. When a bikeway project isn’t practicable, the DOT isn’t required to do anything, resulting in no new bikeways, and causing the state to miss out on opportunities to secure additional federal funds for these projects. HB 1080 would amend the law to add a requirement that when bikeway projects aren’t practicable on the roadway under consideration, that the Department must consult with the biking community to identify alternative bikeway projects.
Please support this measure by submitting testimony here!