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The seven Republican representatives in the 51-member state House will be pushing 20 bills this legislative session as part of their Minority Caucus package.
The bills generally fall under three categories: creating jobs, lowering the cost of living and giving the government back to the people, Minority Leader Beth Fukumoto Chang said during a press conference Monday at the Capitol.
“With a potential Army downsizing, it’s even more important that the Legislature act in a way that shows a serious commitment to making sure that there are good jobs for the people of Hawaii and they can afford to live here,” she said in a statement.
“Government is sometimes slow to react to people’s needs, and our goal is to help change the status quo by offering real solutions to everyday problems,” she added.
The GOP bills include giving the counties a bigger share of the hotel tax revenue the state collects, promoting business development near the rail stations planned for southern Oahu and requiring the Department of Land and Natural Resources to conduct an environmental review of a state ferry system.
Also in the package is legislation that would make it harder to raise taxes and a proposed constitutional amendment to allow for direct initiative, popular referendum and recall.
Here’s the complete list with links to the individual bills:
It will be hard, as it has been for decades in Hawaii, for Republican lawmakers to move their bills forward in such a Democrat-dominated Legislature. But a couple of the bills in the Minority Caucus package have at least been scheduled for hearings.
House Bill 420 would require the Public Utilities Commission to have Hawaiian Electric Co. independently audited every three years. Rep. Cynthia Thielen said Monday that the legislation comes in response to HECO’s poor response to attempts to get the company to implement new technologies and lower electric costs.
A related bill, House Bill 410, would require the state auditor to conduct a management and financial audit of the PUC every five years.
The Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Angus McKelvey, has scheduled a public hearing on both bills at 2:45 p.m., Wednesday, in Room 325 at the Capitol.