2017 Mid-Session Report

3/9/17

Effective advocacy for the U.S. & Hawaiʻi State Constitutions

The American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) is a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing civil rights for everyone. We never endorse candidates or parties, but we are active advocates for government policies and positions that uphold the Constitution.

The Legislative Program works with elected officials and policymakers to ensure the statutory protection of our civil rights from government actors. Your “card carrying” membership in the ACLU makes us strong as we represent over 4000 staunch civil rights advocates locally, everytime we testify!

While the legislature is a large part of our advocacy, when civil rights are involved, we also lobby at the City and County Councils and do administrative lobbying to ensure government policies are fair and uphold the Constitution.

Want to track our work and help us defend the Constitution? Join our private email alert list for updates when testimony is needed – and/or follow us on social media for the latest.

As of Thursday, March 9, 2017, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature reached First Crossover—the deadline for bills to pass Third Reading and move over to the Second House. It is also the last day for a final vote to be taken on a measure in the house of origin.

Want to know more, get involved, or give us feedback? Advocacy Coordinator, Mandy Finlay, can be reached at legislative@acluhawaii.org or (808) 522-5905.


A few of ACLU of Hawaii’s bills of interest are outlined below. Our priority areas for 2017 include:

  • SMART JUSTICE: Reduce the number of people incarcerated while keeping the public safe, end the criminalization of poverty. Promote evidence-based criminal justice reform.
  • TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY: Strengthen public right-to-know, law enforcement accountability.
  • PRIVACY: Keep government coercion out of the personal lives and decisions of people.
  • THE RIGHTS OF LGBT PERSONS

ACLU of Hawai‘i SUPPORTS

HB 845. I.D.s for past offenders. Require the Department of Public Safety (in collaboration with county and state agencies) to issue civil identification cards to inmates and to assist inmates in obtaining their birth certificate, social security card, and other relevant identification necessary for successful reentry. Referred to the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Judiciary, and Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 1489. Codifies Protections of Title IX at State Level. This bill will prohibit a state agency or program or activity receiving state financial assistance from excluding from participation, denying benefits to, or discriminating against a qualified individual by reason of disability, sex, including gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 1501. Decriminalizing Drug Paraphernalia. Reclassify drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to violations subject to a fine of $100. Referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

SB 421. Police Body Cameras. Establish requirements for body-worn cameras and vehicle cameras for county police departments. Referred to the House Committee on Finance and Committee on Judiciary.

SB 502. Equal access to fertility treatment. Remove discriminatory requirements for mandatory insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures to create parity of coverage for same-sex couples, unmarried women, and male-female couples for whom male infertility is the relevant factor. Referred to the House Committee on Health, Committee on Finance, and Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.

SB 603. Restricts Use of Solitary Confinement. Restricts the use of solitary segregation in corrections facilities. Referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Judiciary.

SB 614. Risk Assessment Tools when Setting Bail. Delete the sunset provision for Act 139, Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2012, to make permanent provisions regarding pretrial risk assessments and parole. Referred to the House Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Judiciary, and Committee on Finance.

SB 718. Community Court Outreach Project. Establish the Community Court Outreach Project, which will help to decrease the backlog of low-level, nonviolent cases and opens the door to a more community-based approach to justice. Referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, and Committee on Finance.

SB 1129. Medical Aid in Dying. Establish a regulatory process under which an adult resident of the State with a medically confirmed terminal disease may obtain a prescription for medication to be self-administered to end the patient’s life. Referred to House Committee on Health and House Committee on Judiciary.

ACLU of Hawaiʻi OPPOSES

HB 462. Private Halawa Prison. This bill requires the Department of Public Safety to solicit proposals for a new correctional facility. Temporarily suspends the current Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for potential sites for the proposed Oahu Community Correctional Center. Referred to Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, Committee on Water and Land, and Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 895. Expands Criminal Trespass, criminalizes poverty. This bill will establish the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code. Amends the offenses of criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed, or otherwise secured. Will be heard on the Senate Committee on Water and Land on March 15, 2017.

HB 1142. Expands Criminal Trespass, targeting protesters. This bill seeks to add additional trespass offense (“criminal trespass onto state department of transportation lands”) to chapter 708 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) and to broaden existing criminal trespass statutes. Referred to Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy and Committee on Judiciary.

SB 146. Allows Agencies to Order Forced Psychotropic Medicines. Would permit an administrative order to overcome a patient’s objection to medical treatment. Referred to the House Committee on Health and Committee on Judiciary.

SB 320. Requires DNA Samples from Discharged Offenders. This bill will require DNA samples from a felony offender regardless of whether the offender completed a criminal sentence, or was otherwise discharged from the jurisdiction of the court, for the qualifying felony offense prior to July 1, 2017. Referred to the House Committee on Finance and Committee on Judiciary.

For more information about legislation, please visit the Hawaiʻi State Legislature website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov..

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