Legislation calling for the creation of a sports and entertainment authority passed the Hawaii state Senate Tuesday.

House Bill 1847 now goes back to the House, which can accept the Senate’s changes and send it to Gov. David Ige for his signature, or disagree and send the bill into conference committee.

Sen. Glenn Wakai said the state can do a better job attracting sports and entertainment events to Hawaii, calling the Hawaii Tourism Authority‘s efforts “woefully inadequate.”

UNLV #83 Devonte Boyd holds onto a pass as UH #1 Ne'Quan Phillips looks on in third quarter drive. ALOHA STADIUM, HONOLULU, HAWAII. photo CORY LUM/ CIVIL BEAT

Could Hawaii do a better job attracting sports and entertainment?

Cory Lum / Civil Beat

But Sen. Donna Mercado Kim warned that HB 1847 would duplicate work the HTA is doing and would almost certainly lead to the new agency coming back to the Legislature to ask for more money.

Kim said the the money budgeted for a sports authority could be better spent on more worthwhile cause like the Kidney Foundation of Hawaii. Sen. Will Espero agreed.

The bill passed nonetheless, with 18 “ayes” — five of those “with reservations — and six nays.

Read Civil Beat’s Could A Hawaii Sports Authority Spark A New Industry?

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