Lawmakers canceled an annual meeting to hear pitches form nonprofits in need of state funds over concerns and uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus.

Organizations requesting Legislature Grants in Aid line up at the podium to request funds from the legislators.
Lawmakers cancelled an annual grants hearing due to concerns of COVID-19. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

The meeting typically takes place in an auditorium in the State Capitol basement in which hundreds of nonprofits have three minutes to tell legislators why they need state money.

“With the guidance and advice of Senate and House Leadership, and in order to minimize the risk to residents of the islands, we will be instituting a process that avoids additional travel and a large gathering of people,” a memo sent to grant applicants said.

Sens. Donovan Dela Cruz and Gil Keith-Agaran, of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, as well as Reps. Sylvia Luke and Scott Nishimoto, from the House Finance Committee, signed the memo.

The legislators are asking the applicants to send a two-page summary of their presentation to GIATestimony@Capitol.Hawaii.Gov. The summaries are due Friday at 5 p.m.

Last year, lawmakers received 295 applications for grant money from the state. Only about a third succeed in getting any funds.

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