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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
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Written by Leilei Joy Shih | Published in Opala (Waste)
Friends, we have reached the infamous hurdle for the throwaway bag bill, SB 2511. In order for the bill to keep moving (not die), it must be scheduled for a hearing with the Finance Committee very soon! Please call Chair Marcus Oshiro at (808) 586-6200 and ask him to schedule a hearing. This is the committee that stopped the house version HB 2260 in its tracks, and could do the same to the only remaining Bag Bill.
SB 2511 has overwhelming public support—from numerous retailers (such as Tamura's Market, Safeway, Times, and Down to Earth), environmentalists (Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club, Kanu Hawaii), and businesses (such as Castle & Cooke Resorts, and the Pacific Resources Partnership) alike. This measure would place a ten cent fee on paper and plastic bags thereby encouraging people to bring reusable bags to the store and keeping harmful plastic bags out of the environment. One of the attractive aspects of this measure was the fact that it would have produced an estimated $12 million in funding for watershed protection, one of Governor Abercrombie's key initiatives. University of Hawaii climatologist, Tom Giambelluca, recently reported that Hawaii has seen a century-long trend of decreasing rainfall, with greater declines in the last 30 years. Recent scientific research has shown that healthy native rainforests help capture rainfall and direct the water into our aquifers, rather than simply washing off into our oceans.
Written by Nikki Love | Published in Good Governance
Help us follow the money in Hawaii's campaigns! HB2174 -- the bill to ensure transparency for campaign spending -- needs a hearing in the Senate JDL Committee.
As we've written earlier, this bill is a big step to improve transparency after Citizens United v. FEC and other court decisions opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate money in campaigns. The bill would create a searchable database of Hawaii campaign data, improve reporting by noncandidate committees (PACs and SuperPACs), require disclosure of late expenditures, and bolster disclosure for campaign advertisements. This bill is our best chance this year to make significant improvements in disclosure in Hawaii's campaigns. We the voters deserve to know who is spending big money to influence our elections.
This bill successfully made it through the House (thanks to you!) and now it's in the Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee. It needs a hearing ASAP to move forward! Please contact Senate JDL Chair Clayton Hee and ask him to schedule a hearing for HB2174.
Written by Nicole Lowen | Published in Smart Growth / Transport
Last week's guest post by Laura Thielen discussed SB 2341, a bill that would allow for vacation rentals on agricultural lands without requiring that agriculture remain the primary use of the land. This could lead to sprawling development, a loss of productive agricultural lands, and an increase in the cost of farming, exactly what Hawaii needs less of, not more! SB 2350, also discussed in last week's post, would allow ohana dwelling on ag lands. This post on HB 2317, a bill that is now dead but had similar contents, also explains why this is not a road the State should head down. These bills are scheduled for a hearing on Friday March 30th at 11:00 am in the House Committee on Water, Land, and Ocean resources. Please submit testimony here on both bills!
Posting courtesy of Laura Thielen.
Please read this, and if you are concerned about what is happening, cut and paste the email addresses at the bottom and send an email to the Legislature TODAY.
The Legislature is poised to pass two bills that will eradicate more high quality farmland than Ho’opili.
SB 2341 allows vacation rentals on agricultural lands, including the highest production lands. Even worse, vacation rentals can be the primary use, no farming is required.
SB 2350 doubles the number of houses permitted on agricultural lots with one ohana dwelling for each farm dwelling.*
Written by Scott Glenn | Published in Smart Growth / Transport
The House just keeps the hits coming. It’s naupaka zombie land over there. You’d think they would get the message that the public wants more transparent government, a clean environment, safe buildings to live in, and less sprawl and development along the shoreline. But, no, instead they cowardly took a bill, SB 755, which was about a general excise tax exemption for retail sales and changed to be about gambling, gutted all of that, and proposed replacement language with a greatest hits of bad governance and misguided attitudes about the role of environmental protections in the economy. It even tries to make the Office of Planning process all Special Management Area permits, which OP itself opposes!
This bill is an egregious abrogation of the House's duties. Please tell the House to stop these shenanigans.
First, where is the evidence that these exemptions will expedite projects? We haven't seen or heard anything convincing to date that proves this is so. No one has any facts or lists of projects, only anecdotes. If anything, real world experience would support the argument that considering the impacts brought to light by following public review of environmental impacts saves time and money in the long run. Having to implement mitigation later rather than earlier is more costly, and having to deal with impacts for which mitigation measures were never put in place could be doubly so, and could irrevocably harm the environment in the process. Presenting these bills as a choice between economic development and thoughtful planning/environmental protection precludes the idea that there could be more proactive and well thought out solutions that could address the concerns of all parties.
Second, are these exemptions really temporary? For the section that deals with Chapter 343, environmental review, they aren't. The power of the governor or mayors to create exemption lists would sunset, but the exemptions list themselves would remain in effect. As we well know, sunset dates are often a foot in the door, and more often than not get extended down the road.
The following is a list of the original bills that SB 755 reproduces in part or in whole. If you submitted testimony already on these bills, feel free to submit the same testimony. Just change the bill number to SD 755; that’s all the House did, too.
- Part II, aka HB 530, temporarily makes the office of planning responsible for the issuance of special management area permits and shoreline setback variances for state projects.
- Part III, aka HB 2154, temporarily exempts airport structures and improvements from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements when the structures and improvements are necessary to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
- Part IV, aka HB530 (in modified form), temporarily authorizes the heads of the department of land and natural resources and department of transportation, with the approval of the governor, to exempt department projects from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements.
- Part V, aka HB 2613, exempts all work involving submerged lands used for state commercial harbor purposes from any permit and site plan review requirements for lands in the conservation district. This part does not sunset. Also temporarily reduces the deadline for challenging the lack of an environmental assessment for a state project.
- Part VI, aka HB 1893 (modified), temporarily authorizes a more streamlined process for exempting state and county projects from the environmental review process of chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
Regardless of the merits (or demerits) of the proposed changes in this bill, the stated purpose reflects a misunderstanding at best and a calculated deception at worst. The outcome will be that it has little effect in accomplishing economic stimulation and to boot we get a bunch of poorly planned projects that provide the same jobs that would have been there anyway, all while creating more environmental and planning problems for future legislatures to then misuse to justify even more environmental and planning exemptions. Even if there are misguided but good intentions behind SB 755, these good intentions are unlikely to be realized through this approach.