How main payments in Hawaii fared on the Capitol in 2021

The 31st state Legislature adjourned Thursday and forwarded over 200 bills to Gov. David Ige, including ones that would make it illegal to capture or kill sharks, require state departments to identify facilities that are vulnerable to sea level rise and allow advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions. Ige has until June 21 to announce which bills, if any, he plans to veto. Legislators voted down bills to permit recreational use of cannabis and decriminalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms, require counties to seek reimbursement from hikers who veer from permitted trails and have to be rescued, and limit so-called “no-knock warrants” by law enforcement.



State budget

HB 200, HD 1, SD 1, CD 1

Authorizes $15.9 bil­lion in spending on government operations for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and $2.7 billion in construction spending in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Additional spending is contained in separate appropriation bills.

Claims against the state

SB 1039, SD 1, HD 2, CD 1

Makes appropriations to settle lawsuits brought against the state.

Public land leases

HB 499, HD 2, SD 2, CD 1

Allows the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend by 40 years certain leases of public land for commercial, industrial, resort, government and mixed use upon approval of a development agreement requiring the lessee to make substantial improvements.

Government pay raises

SB 1350, SD 1, HD 2, CD 1

Defers salary increases for state legislators, the governor, lieutenant governor, executive branch heads and judges until January 2023.

Aloha Stadium

HB 1348, HD 2, SD 2, CD 1

Establishes a stadium development special fund and broadens the powers of the Stadium Authority.


Governor’s emergency powers

HB 103, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1

Would curtail the governor’s emergency powers and give the Legislature more oversight over the extension of emergency proclamations.

Campaign spending laws

SB 635

Allows the Campaign Spending Commission to refer a complaint related to campaign spending law violations for prosecution, even if the commission has already fined the individual. Increases the period by which someone is disqualified from holding public office to 10 from four years, upon conviction of a campaign spending law violation.

Employees on public assistance

HB 718, HD 1, SD 1

Requires the Department of Human Services to compile information on employers whose employees are receiving public assistance, such as Medicaid, including the 50 employers with the highest number of such employees. The bill is aimed at identifying employers who have “abused public assistance programs” by providing their employees with low wages and poor benefits with the expectation they will subsidize their income through public-assistance programs.

HART board

SB 998, SD 1

Allows board members of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation who are appointed by the Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives to vote.

Voting age

HB 449, SB 824

Proposes a constitutional amendment lowering the voting age to 16 from 18.


SB 556, SD 1

Prohibits an organization that has a current legislator on its governing board from being eligible for the state’s grants-in-aid program, which typically doles out millions in grants to nonprofits every year.



Jobless fund

HB 1278, HD 1

Caps the amount businesses have to pay into the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund for the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. Covers 50% of base period claims for reimbursing employers. (Gov. David Ige signed the bill into law March 3.)

Rental cars

HB 485, HD 1, SD 1, CD 1

Increases rental motor vehicle tax by $0.50 each year from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2027.


Income tax

SB 56, SD 1

Imposes 16% tax on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year, heads of households earning more than $300,000 and joint filers earning more than $400,000. The income brackets are currently taxed at 11%. Increases capital gains tax, corporate tax and taxes on high-end real estate sales.

Income tax credit

HB 432, HD 1

Extends earned income tax credit for low-income workers by five years. Credit is set to expire Dec. 31, 2022.


SB 614, SD 2

Exempts from state income taxes unemployment compensation received between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Sugar tax

HB 994, SB 1148

Imposes 2-cents-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks.

Alcoholic drinks

SB 1232, SD 1, HB 771, HD 1

Imposes 10-cents-per-drink tax on alcoholic beverages from July 1 through June 30, 2024.

Minimum wage

HB 4

Establishes a temporary small-business income tax credit for qualified employers to offset the cost of providing health care coverage to employees who earn below $50,000, with credit to be repealed July 30, 2027. Raises the minimum wage in annual increments, starting with an increase to $11.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022, and hitting $17 per hour on Jan. 1, 2026, and establishes adjusted minimum wage rate for 2027 and beyond. Repeals the tip credit.

Inheritance tax

HB 445, HD 1

Lowers the amount of inheritance excluded from the state tax to less than the current $5.49 million, with the threshold to be determined.

Tobacco products

SB 1147, SD 2

Taxes e-liquid and electronic smoking devices in accordance with the cigarette tax and tobacco tax law. Increases licensing fee for dealers of cigarette and tobacco products and retail tobacco permit fee for sellers of cigarette and tobacco products.

Climate change

HB 433, HD 1

Imposes a daily climate change mitigation impact fee on rental cars and deposits the fees into the general fund until July 2024, after which they would go into a climate change mitigation special fund.

Union trust fund

SB 1087, SD 1

Temporarily suspends the requirement that public employers make annual contributions to the Hawaii Employer-­Union Health Benefits Trust Fund through the 2025 fiscal year. Aims to give the state flexibility in addressing budget shortfalls while the economy recovers.

Liquor license

HB 137, HD 1, SD 1

Requires that violations of the liquor tax law be investigated by the Department of Taxation instead of county liquor commissions.



COVID-19 reporting

SB 811, HD 1, CD 1

Requires the Department of Education to publish a weekly report on which schools reported COVID-19 cases. The department currently reports by complex area.

Computer science

SB 242, SD 2, HD 2, CD 1

Requires that computer science content or courses be offered in all public elementary and middle schools by 2025.

Coronavirus relief funds

HB 613, HD 2, SD 2, CD 2

Appropriates federal coronavirus relief funds for public schools, including programs to address learning loss; school food services and transportation; bonuses and pay differentials for teachers; air conditioners with HEPA filters; and school-level educational and social-emotional programs.

University of Hawaii

SB 589, SD 2, HD 2, CD 1

Allows the UH president to act as the university’s chief procurement officer for three more years and extends UH’s innovation and commercialization initiative program through June 2024. Prohibits technology transfer activities in which UH employees have a conflict of interest. Requires the heads of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and the UH medical school to report to the provost of UH Manoa.

Early education

HB 1362, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1

Establishes a stipend program to support residents pursuing early childhood education degrees or certificates at the University of Hawaii. Authorizes the Department of Education to accept private funds to establish public prekindergarten- programs.


HB 1291, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1

Makes special-education students who maintained a 3.0 grade-point average in high school eligible for scholarships through the Hawaii state scholars program and community college Hawaii Promise program.


McKinley name change

HR 148

Asks education officials to change the name of McKinley High School and remove the statue of President William McKinley from its campus.

Ocean safety

SB 508, HD 1

Requires the DOE to establish and administer an ocean safety and stewardship education program for all fourth grade students.


HB 225, HD 2, SD 1

Requires the BOE to develop a bullying prevention and response action plan. Repeals Act 214, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011.

Income tax credit

HB 791, HD 1

Establishes a state income tax credit for certain expenses incurred by prekindergarten-through-grade-12 teachers, aides and other school staff.

Sex abuse

SB 518, SD 2

Requires the DOE to establish and implement a sexual abuse prevention education program for public school students, provide training to teachers and staff, and inform parents and guardians about child sexual abuse.


SB 1311, SD 2, HD 2

Requires the DOE to establish food waste and zero-emission vehicle goals as part of the sustainable-schools initiative.

Campus safety

HB 691, SB 727

Requires UH to provide training on the impacts of trauma to employees who investigate cases and assist victims of sexual and domestic violence. Improves access for confidential support services. Requires notification to staff and students regarding prevention and disclosure protocols.

University of Hawaii

SB 1224, HB 1070, HD 1

Provides a framework to support consistent land use planning and development across the UH system and allows project partnerships.

Teacher salaries

SB 270, SD 2

Appropriates federal coronavirus relief funds to offset budget reductions that would otherwise result in layoffs or pay cuts to unionized employees working at the school level.




SB 309, SD 1, HD 2, CD 1

Makes it a Class C felony to intentionally manipulate images called deepfakes by using computer software to place a person’s face onto the body of another.

Online privacy

HB 125, HD 2, SD 2

Establishes the Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act, which protects the online accounts of employees, prospective employees, unpaid interns, applicants, students and prospective students from employers and educational institutions.


HB 1376, HD 2, SD 2, CD 1

Extends the period for a notice of summary possession to 15 days from five. Requires landlords to enter into mediation and delays when seeking possession of a dwelling unit if the tenant schedules or attempts to schedule mediation.

Mobile apps

HB 1253, HD 3, SD 1, CD 1

Prohibits employers, with certain exemptions, from requiring employees to download mobile applications to the employees’ personal communication devices, terminating or otherwise discriminating against employees for refusing to download mobile applications, or discharging or discriminating against employees for filing complaints concerning these unlawful practices.


Child actors

SB 670, SD 1

Allows minors under the age of 16 to work in theatrical employment, provided the employer procures a valid certificate of employment and the minor is accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult. Requires the employer to hire a nurse certified in basic life support to accompany, supervise and advocate on behalf of infants under age 1 who are on-set. Ensures a studio teacher is present to accompany, teach and attend to the health, safety and well-being of school-age minors during periods when the minors are legally required to attend school.

Minimum wage

SB 676, SD 1

Raises the state’s minimum wage to $12 in July 2022.

Catalytic converters

SB 55, HB 446, HD 3, SD 1

Classifies catalytic converter theft as a Class C felony. Requires sellers to provide contact information and vehicle records to the buyer. Requires buyers of catalytic converters from sellers who do not provide the necessary documents to refuse the sale and report the attempted sale to the police. Sets fines of $100 to $2,000 for buyers who do not comply.


HB 567, SB 830, SD 2

Calls for studies on telework and alternative work schedule policy. Sets minimum percentage of eligible employees who are required to telework or use an alternative work schedule policy and requires departments to allow employees who act as a caregiver to telework or use an alternative work schedule.

Gender representation

HB 1077, SB 193, SD 1

Requires publicly held domestic corporations to have a gender-diverse board of directors. Establishes reporting requirements for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and penalties.



Corrections oversight

SB 664, SD 1, HD 2, CD 1

Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission so that it can hire an oversight coordinator and support staff.


Legal cannabis

SB 767, SD 2

Legalizes the personal use, possession and sale of cannabis and authorizes the sale of cannabis at permitted establishments.

Civil asset seizure

SB 294, HB 659

Prohibits law enforcement from seizing assets unless the property owner has been convicted of a felony offense relating to the property. Redirects proceeds from the sale of seized assets from law enforcement to the general fund.


SB 544, HB 19

Allows civil suits in cases where someone calls the police on another person based on their beliefs about race, religion, sex, gender identity or other personal attributes, when there is no reason to suspect criminal conduct or imminent danger to person or property.

Police reform

HB 428, SB 532

Requires a law enforcement officer who observes criminal conduct by another officer to report it. Requires law enforcement recruits to undergo psychological screening. Bans chokeholds unless the use of deadly force is justifiable.

Police equipment

SB 30, HB 1381

Prohibits police departments from acquiring certain military-type equipment, such as weaponized, unmanned aerial vehicles; aircraft designed for combat; and grenade launchers. Prohibits law enforcement from using rubber bullets and other projectiles as well as tear gas, mustard gas and other chemical concoctions on protesters.

Cannabis possession

SB 758, SD 1

Decriminalizes the possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis, up from the current limit of 3 grams. Permits convictions for possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis to be expunged.

No-knock warrants

SB 726, HD 1, CD 1

Bans “no-knock warrants” by requiring law enforcement to wait at least 30 seconds after announcing their presence before entering a home, store or other building. Requires officers serving a warrant to do so in uniform.

Child sex abuse

HB 570, HD 2, SD 1

Allows victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring civil suits seeking monetary damages against their perpetrator up until the victim’s 68th birthday, regardless of when the abuse occurred. Extends the statute of limitations for victims to bring claims against an institution, school or business that employed the perpetrator to April 2024 and allows the victim to seek treble damages.

Rogue hikers

SB 700, SD 2

Requires government agencies to charge hikers for search and rescue operations if they get in trouble while leaving a trail or hiking in an area closed to the public.

Fireworks fines

HB 508, HD 1

Doubles fines for illegal fireworks and increases fines for aerials to $4,000 from $2,000.

Fireworks pollution

HB 1246, HD 2

Makes fireworks violations subject to the state’s air and noise pollution laws, which can entail additional fines.




HB 576, HD 3

Allows advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions.

Seniors and crime

HB 490, HD 2, SD 1

Lowers the age at which enhanced penalties can apply to crimes against seniors to 60 years of age from 62.

Tobacco fund

HB 1296, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1

Repeals the tobacco prevention and control trust fund and transfers revenues into the general fund.


‘Magic’ mushrooms

SB 738

Decriminalizes psychedelic mushrooms and requires state health officials to develop treatment centers where people can consume their active ingredients in a controlled environment as a treatment option for mental health disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

DOH/care homes

HB 488, SB 835

Requires the Department of Health to post inspection reports of care homes on its website within five working days after completing the inspection.

DHHL cannabis

SB 86

Requires the Department of Health to issue medical cannabis dispensary licenses to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, allowing for increased revenue for beneficiaries. Requires DHHL to study the feasibility of and revenue to be generated by medical cannabis dispensaries, limited gaming and other potential revenue-generating options on Hawaiian homelands.


SB 821, SD 2, HD 1

Allows a minor to petition the family court for emancipation when 16 years old. Allows the court to require the minor’s parents or legal guardians to pay for any services ordered by the court, including legal services and mental health treatment.

Low-cost homes

SB 1, SD 2

Creates the ALOHA homes program to develop low-cost homes on state and county land in urban redevelopment sites. The homes would be sold in leasehold by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp.

Food safety

HB 770, HD 1, SD 1

Creates a task force to make recommendations to ensure that Hawaii’s food imports are imported, stored and distributed in compliance with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act. Develops recommendations to ensure that all foods and brands imported into Hawaii do not mislead or confuse the public.


SB 827, SD 2, HD 1, HB 564

Increases the categories of women required to be covered for mammogram screenings. Requires the existing health insurance mandate for coverage of low-dose mammography to include digital mammography and breast tomosynthesis.



Shark protection

HB 553, HD 2, SD 2, CD 1

Makes capturing, entangling or killing a shark a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 for a first offense, $2,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense.


HB 552, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1

Establishes a goal of transitioning 100% of state-owned light-duty vehicles to renewable energy sources by December 2035.

Lay nets

HB 1018, HD 2, SD 1

Allows state Department of Land and Natural Resources to adopt rules for the use of lay nets by fishermen.


HB 1017, HD 1, SD 1

Repeals the statutory prohibition against taking or killing spiny lobsters, Kona crabs and Samoan crabs.

Ocean fee

HB 1019, HD 2, SD 2, CD 1

Allows DLNR to collect visitor fees for use of the state’s ocean resources, with the money to be used for marine conservation and restoration.

Sea level rise

HB 243, HD 1, SD 2, CD 1

Requires state departments to identify existing and planned facilities that are vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding and natural hazards and assess mitigation options. Increases interagency coordination for sea level adaption efforts.


Coastal real estate

SB 503, HB 554, HD 2

Requires sellers to disclose whether property lies within the sea level rise exposure area as designated by the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission.

Energy efficiency

SB 501, HB 550, HD 2, SD 1

Establishes a goal of achieving at least a 25% reduction in electricity consumption at state facilities and sets deadlines for state facilities to implement cost-effective energy efficiency measures. Requires new construction of state facilities to employ energy and water efficiency standards and use materials that reduce the project’s carbon footprint.

Green amendment

SB 502, SD 2, HD 1, HB 551 HD1

Adds an amendment to the Hawaii Constitution’s Bill of Rights that stipulates all individuals have a right to “a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air and healthy ecosystems.”

Sandbags and tarps

HB 246

Requires property owners to remove emergency sandbags and tarps they installed along the public beach to protect homes, resorts and condos from coastal erosion after three years. Increases fines for homeowners and contractors who install the protections without state permission.

Coastal retreat

HB 1373

Creates a beach preservation revolving fund and financing pilot program to assist shoreline property owners with relocating mauka of expected sea level rise and erosion hazard zones.

Plastic waste

HB 1316, HD 1

Beginning Jan. 1, prohibits full-service restaurants from providing single-use plastic service ware to consumers unless requested by the consumer.


SB 132, SD 2, HD 1

Bans the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing avobenzone or octocrylene, chemicals that can damage the marine ecosystem, without a prescription.



Sunshine Law

SB 1034, SD 1, HD 2, CD 1

Expands board and public participation by giving boards the option, in conjunction with in-person meetings, to use interactive conference technology to remotely conduct public meetings under the Sunshine Law, even when no emergency has been declared.

Emergency rules

SB 540, SD 1, HD 2

Allows for lesser emergency period penalties to be adopted and promulgated by the governor or a mayor. Allows for emergency infractions to be processed under the traffic adjudication process under the Hawaii Revised Statues.


Retail locations

HB 12

Makes it a Class C felony to intentionally or knowingly cause bodily injury to an owner, employee or agent of a retail establishment who is engaged in enforcing a government health or safety requirement relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.


HB 532

Provides a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine of $4,000, in addition to any other penalty, for the misdemeanor offense of reckless endangering in the second degree under certain circumstances, such as boarding a commercial flight into the state after having tested positive for COVID-19.

Hotel employment

HB 642

Requires a hotel employer to recall the same number of employees in substantially the same classification as the employer’s active workforce as of March 1, 2020. Requires certain laid-off employees to be offered job positions as they become available, under certain terms and conditions.

Public records

HB 797

Prohibits the governor from suspending any provision under Hawaii’s Uniform Information Practices Act, or any rule adopted pursuant thereto, during any emergency period.

Commercial tenants

HB 581

Prohibits a commercial landlord from initiating or continuing any action to evict or collect unpaid rent from a commercial tenant that has been adversely affected by the economic effects of COVID-19 or official measures intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Veterans homes

SB 237

Raises the standard of care for the state’s veteran homes, long-term care facilities and nursing homes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

State travel rules

HB 1286, HD 2

Creates a uniform and simplified travel policy for visitors and residents returning to Hawaii or flying between islands amid coronavirus-related restrictions. Exempts anyone entering the state or traveling between the islands from quarantine requirements if they receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the final leg of their departure, and provides options for people who arrive in the islands without the result of a test through no fault of their own.