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Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Package

Posted on 01/23/2014

The Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Package focuses on three strategic areas to support businesses in Hawaii. This legislativepackage was proposed by members and approved by our policy committees, which are open for participation by all members.

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SPURRING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • Funding for small business and innovation programs supported by state agencies.
    • Innovation and incubation: Innovation is a key component of Hawaii’s new economy.
      • The Hawaii Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program, supported by High Technology Development Corporation, helps local companies get federal R&D dollars for research and commercialization development.  (HB1069, SB1003)
      • The Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation invests state and federal money in a match with private firms to build targeted industries in Hawaii, such as digital, innovation/tech and other areas. (HB1070, SB1004)
      • Provide funding to incubators that help small businesses start and get off the ground. (HB1070, SB1004)
  • Regulations affecting small businesses: The Small Business Regulatory Review Board provides comment and input into the rulemaking process. They also provide recommendations to the Legislature, Governor and counties on rule changes to help small business. The board needs additional staff to be more effective. (HB774, SB12)
  • Capital for small businesses: Fund the small business loan program in DBEDT. (HB771, SB1002)
  • Support international student recruitment programs with state funding.
    • Increase funding for DBEDT to market Hawaii’s public and private universities to foreign markets. (HB775, SB1187)
  • Support manufacturing programs.
    • Request funding for manufacturers for training, energy savings and equipment. (SB1001, HB1454, SB1365)
  • Support resources for programs to support the military in Hawaii.
    • The military makes up about 20% of Hawaii’s Gross Domestic Product.  They are vital to both Hawaii’s economy and the security of our nation.

 INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE

  • Support and expand existing early learning programs.
    • Provide additional funding for public programs to provide support to more students. (HB820, SB844)
  • Infrastructure revolving fund.
    • Set up a revolving fund in the state to use public and private funds to provide funding for infrastructure projects. (HB441, SB1026)
  • Address the permitting issue in the Historic Preservation law.
    • Any building, structure or object over 50 years old is considered a historic site and property owners must go through a permit review before any alteration or construction can be done on the site. This results in delay and increased costs for many residential homeowners as many homes in Hawaii are nearing or past the 50-year-old mark. Our proposal would amend the law to minimize the impact to residential homeowners while allowing the continued protection of sites on the historic register. (HB830, SB520)

IMPROVING BUSINESS CLIMATE

  • Workers’ Compensation – Vocational Rehabilitation. Bill to address inefficiencies in the vocational rehabilitation process. (HB855, SB844)
  • Coordinate state and federal law with regards to employer liability for harassment.
    • Coordinate state and federal law when it comes to employer liability for harassment by the employee’s direct supervisor based on sex, race or another protected classification. State law would then encourage employers and employees to prevent and correct harassment, as federal law does, rather than arguing about whether it occurred in the agencies and courts. Furthermore, it would provide that when an employee suffers a tangible employment action resulting from a direct supervisor’s harassment, the employer’s liability is established by proof of the harassment and a resulting tangible employment action. (HB684, SB1012)
  • Improve the Land Use Permitting Process.
    • Improve the process by utilizing the existing county general, growth, community or sustainable plans as the major planning documents for approval in the state LUC process. This would allow for more input at the county level. (HB828, SB685)