2023 Legislative Priorities & Policy Committees
Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s Policy Committees determine the annual legislative priorities under its 4HI pillars: economy, environment, education, entrepreneurship. Committee membership is composed of Chamber members from across the state. Email us to join a committee.
While Hawaii’s economy works to recover since the pandemic, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii is dedicated and determined to find avenues where stakeholders and legislators can discuss and address the business community needs during uncertain times.
In 2023, the Chamber is taking a proactive approach on the issues. We partner with legislators to introduce bills and initiatives that would incentive businesses to hire employees above the living wage, reduce red tape and regulations that inhibit growth, and find solutions to increase our state’s workforce.
Increasing stress on our islands’ natural resources and environment call for a need to balance growth and access with thoughtful, sustainable management and preservation. Hawaii’s natural environment is its most valuable resource for long-term business development. Preservation of the environment is consistent with our mission.
Policy solutions that could affect the business community must not impede or create unintended burdens on businesses and entrepreneurs, but instead provide opportunity and growth.
We invest in K-12 career and technical education. We partner with businesses for sector-driven workforce development solutions, increased certification and high-quality work-based learning (WBL) experiences. Our focus areas are many. They include recruitment and training of employers in high-quality WBL including mentorship programs and internships. We promote STEM/Engineering in a K to Career Pathway project that collaborates with 70+ Hawaii engineering firms to increase career awareness and STEM interest among girls and math readiness. We work with IT employers, including Department of Defense and contractors, and educators to build Hawaii’s IT talent pipeline. We are developing health care career pathways that fill positions and lead to advancement opportunities. Our work aims to provide employment/training support for unemployed and under-employed and support the attainment of industry-recognized credentials.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, there are over 137,000 small businesses statewide. This represents almost 50 percent of Hawaii’s workforce so we must continue to work to ensure that our local entrepreneurs are provided with the resources they need to sustain and expand.
Get Legislative Action Alerts
2023 Bills We are Tracking for You
Contact Trevor at (808) 380-2617 to gain access to our members-only tracker for real-time updates.
HB400 – Establishes an employer-provided or -sponsored child care income tax credit for employers that make available child care services to their employees. Establishes an employer child care property income tax credit for the cost of child care property purchased or acquired by an employer and put into service for employer-provided child care.
HB1384 – Creates an income tax credit to incentivize the food manufacturing industry in the State
HB1203– Establishes an employer child care tax credit for employers who provide or sponsor approved child care.
SB801 – Establishes a qualified internship income tax credit for employers of qualified interns for taxable years beginning after 12/31/2023. Provides that qualified interns shall be paid not less than $12.00 per hour, for a period of at least one hundred fifty hours. Restricts hours worked per week during the academic year and winter, spring, and summer holiday break periods. Requires a report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds.
HB491 – Requires the department of labor and industrial relations to conduct an actuarial study on a leave grant pilot program to help small businesses offer their employees paid family leave and paid sick leave. Appropriates funds.
HB947 HD1 – Establishes a food manufacturer tax credit. Defines “qualified taxpayers” as manufacturers that produce valued-added products.
SB1145 – Requires that Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation housing projects include a restrictive covenant that states that the units designated as affordable housing, as described in the submitted project application, shall remain as affordable housing in perpetuity. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD2)
How to Contact Your Legislator
Change happens when you participate in the legislative process. It only takes a few minutes to voice your concerns and make a difference. One way to participate is to submit testimony on bills when they are scheduled for a hearing. Here’s how you can submit testimony:
Chamber’s Legislative Action Alerts
- Respond to Action Alerts. To sign up to receive Action Alerts, email our Business Advocacy Team.
Submit Online Testimony
- Click here to create an account on the Hawaii State Legislature website.
- After creating an account, search for the bill you want to testify for and follow online steps to attach or write in your testimony.
- Submit testimony via the link provided on the e-version of the hearing notice.
- Fax testimony to the contact information provided on the hearing notice.
- Deliver the specific number of copies of written testimony to the appropriate office listed on the hearing notice.
Testify at Hearing
Nothing is more compelling than having businesses personally state their position to legislators. We can assist by contacting you when bills are scheduled, calling you if a hearing is running late or helping you prepare testimony.
- Prepare oral testimony in advance.
- Introduce yourself, briefly describe your business and state your position.
- Summarize your written testimony at the hearing.
- Be prepared for questions and if you don’t know the answer, just say so. You can get the information to committee members later. It is important to be honest and forthright.
- Express your feelings in a professional manner. Provide examples of how the bill will affect your business.
- Scheduled hearings may run late, so expect long waits.
- Generally, each chair follows the order of the bills listed on the agenda, and the order in which they received the written testimony.
Guidelines to Keep in Mind
- Written testimony should be submitted at least 24 hours prior to the hearing (if not within 24 hours, testimony will be considered LATE).
- Send a copy of your testimony to your own legislator and other legislators you may know.
- In your written testimony, include the following information:
- Chair of the House or Senate Committee
- Name of the House or Senate Committee
- Day and date of hearing
- Your name and company
- Position on the measure
How to Find Your Legislator
- Hawaii State Legislature Website
The Hawaii State Legislature website provides important information on bill status, legislative information, special studies, as well as a legislator’s profile, phone, fax and e-mail. Click on links below to find your legislators. Send a message by clicking on his/her e-mail address or send a letter or fax to the address and number provided.
- State Senator Directory
- State Representative Directory
Writing a Letter or E-mail
- Write on business letterhead (if possible) and include your signature and typed name.
- Address letter to: The Honorable (full name).
- In the salutation, write: “Dear Senator or Representative ”.
- If you are a constituent, mention it in the first paragraph or if sending an e-mail, include it in the subject line.
- Keep the letter to one-page unless you have important data to attach.
- Provide a brief explanation on the bill or issue that affects you.
- In the e-mail subject line, include bill number and name of your company.
Making Phone Calls and Scheduling Meetings
- Don’t hesitate to call legislators.
- When setting up a meeting, ask to speak with the scheduler.
- State your reason(s) for the call/meeting.
- If you are a constituent or have a business in the legislator’s district, mention it.
- Be respectful.
- Avoid making disparaging or rude comments.