Tag Archives: “Hawaii State Legislature”

Hawaii Senate Informer: Life of a Bill

Our Senate Minority Videographers produced this informative video on the process of a bill from introduction, to hearings, to crossover, and passage at the legislature and ultimately into law if enacted by the Governor. Some bills are also vetoed.

Lawmakers from Alaska, Puerto Rico and Hawaii Report on the Impact of the U.S. Ship Build Requirement of the Jones Act

Hawaii State Legislators meet with their counterparts in Alaska and Puerto Rico to discuss the restrictive Jones Act.

Click here for downloadable MP3 audio file.

State Instrument Debate Highlights First Crossover Session

By State Senator Sam Slom (R)

DBEDT Business Day @ The Capitol

The most debated item of the March 4 bill crossover vote focused on whether or not the ukulele should be declared the official State Instrument (SB 3107). While the ukulele seems to be a worthy nominee as state instrument, several senators including myself mentioned that the ukulele was imported to Hawaii from Portugal, even though today it is widely regarded as a mainstream component for Hawaiian music.

I mentioned the nose flute as a possible, made in Hawaii instrument, while Senator Rosalyn Baker advocated for the steel guitar and Senator J. Kalani English spoke highly of the pahu drum. The bill passed 17 to 7. I voted “with reservations.”

The ukulele bill was a convenient sideshow to more important issues and legislation that was voted on Tuesday.

Senator Sam Slom

The bill to raise the minimum wage will have long-lasting consequences for the economy, future employment and business. SB 2609 will raise the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $10.10. The minimum wage is a “training wage” and most people get paid well above the minimum. Read the attached article on page 4. SB 2609 passed with a vote of 24 to 1, I being the lone opponent.

More than 300 bills were up for vote. The following is a list of bills that I voted “no” on:

SB2497: Increases fees for tobacco retailers

SB2886: Income Tax; Conformity to the Internal Revenue Code for 2013

SB2609: Minimum Wage increase; Tip Credit

SB2222: Prohibits sale of flavored tobacco Products

SB3041: New tax on small breweries or brewpubs

HB2281: Office of the Governor; Emergency Appropriation

SB2303: Fireworks; Permit Fee; Increase

SB2857: Recycling; Electronic Devices; TVs

SB2073: Collective Bargaining Cost Items; Bargaining Unit (6); Appropriations (this is one of several public union cost item bills, all of which I voted “no” on)

SB2454: Genetically Modified Organisms; Task Force; Regulation

SB2768: Kindergarten; Early Learning; School Readiness; Individualized Assessments; Appropriation

SB2436: Transit-Oriented Development Advisory Committee (WR*)

SB2437: Rail Transit; working groups; state agencies near train stations

SB2196: Energy; Barrel Tax; Energy Systems Development Special Fund

SB2234: Child care licensing exemption for private schools

SB2496: Tobacco Products; Cigarette and Tobacco Tax; Hawaii Cancer Research Special Fund

SB2855: Appropriation for the Dept. of Health Developmental Disabilities Division for the Compact of Free Trade population

SB2344: Over $500,000 appropriation for a Climate Change committee

SB 2731: New tax on car sharing

SB 2550: U.H. Hilo College of Pharmacy special fund

SB 2704: Overtime compensation for public works construction contracts

SB 2761: Disputed roads, county surcharge (tax)

SB 2858: Establishment of Office of Environment Information and Management

SB 2139: 990 student instructional hours

SB 2246: Appropriations for claims against the state

SB 1227: Mandated coverage for brain injury

SB 702: Internet crimes against children; “Alicia’s Law”

Voting on seven additional bills that were amended on the floor March 4 commenced today. These bills included the following that I also voted “no” on:

SB 2054: Mandatory health coverage for autism

SB 2495: Definition of electronic smoking device as a tobacco product and the establishment of an excise tax on such products

All Senate bills passing third reading by March 6 crossed over to the House. Several hundred House bills have crossed to the Senate, where both sides will commence hearing these bills, referred to subject matter and funding committees.

More information on third reading bills are online at:


Originally published in the Diamond Head, Kapahulu, St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Report #5 newsletter. 3-13-2014

Unanimous “Ayes” for Governor’s Health Nominees


The Committee on Health voted unanimously in favor of the appointment of Linda Rosen to fill the remaining term as Director of the Department of Health, as well as 18 additional gubernatorial nominees for various health care agencies.


All testimony was in support, or strong support, of GM 560 through GM 576, plus GM 511 and the Rosen nomination, GM 578. Nominees present (see photo collage) included retired Judge Sandra Simms and Benjamin Park for the State Council on Mental Health, Frederick Shaw and Emelyn Kim for the West Oahu Subarea Health Planning Council, Kathleen Clark for the Kauai Subarea Health Planning Council, and Antonette Torres for the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.


Sandra Simms voiced her intention to curtail the stigma of mental health issues. Benjamin Park intends to fix systemic issues with public housing. Emelyn Kim intends to focus on the importance of home care and family caregivers. After 39 years as an RN focusing on rural medicine and community health, Antonette Torres is seeking “upstream approaches” as Hawaii’s community health model transforms.


Linda Rosen was thanked by Chair Green for her willingness to serve the rest of Director Fuddy’s term after unexpected tragedy. Keith Yamamoto, who has known Linda for a long time, spoke of her as an efficient proponent of emergency care and an excellent pediatrician, and commended her for being “willing to do this … it’s a tough job.” Other supporters mentioned how she is always “touching the lives of the most vulnerable.”

As Director, Linda Rosen is committed to protecting “the right to have a healthy life.” Disease prevention, highest quality service, person-centered planning, and environmental protection will top her list. More strong support was voiced, including commendations for “visionary leadership,” “brilliant and innovative approaches,” and “understanding the value of data”–with an “amazing capacity to synthesize vast amounts of information” plus “a capacity for bringing people together.”

Linda Rosen and the rest of the nominees will be subject to “Advise and Consent” before a full Senate vote on a date to be announced. Senator Slom voted in favor of all the nominees.

Photos and Text by Lisa Davidson, 2/27/14

Television for “A Better Day” with Senator Sam Slom

A Better Day TV Show Taping

Senator Slom’s guests are staff members Ediana Sallee, Legislative Aide and Chelsea Pelton, UH Intern. Senator Slom and his guests discuss the 2014 Legislative session.