More than 3,000 bills were introduced this session and, in the end, only a couple of hundred passed. The Chamber tracked more than 200 bills throughout session. However, we closely monitored and advocated our position on several bills, one of which was the minimum wage increase. The bill made its way to the conference committees led by Labor Chairs, Senator Taniguchi and Representative Johanson, who deliberated on a compromise. However, in the end, the bill was deferred indefinitely. This measure garnered advocates from both sides to argue the justification of passing or not passing the bill. The Chamber’s position has always been that minimum wage is not a living wage and that the focus should be on factors driving the cost of living. Merely increasing the wage level, we believe, would not have moved the needle on affordability. Additionally, an increase was just implemented this past year.
On behalf of the Chamber team and our Board of Directors, we thank the legislators for their hard work and thoughtfulness in considering each bill’s merit and impact this session, including minimum wage.
Our members recognize that employees are a big part of what make their businesses a success and do everything they can to take care of them and keep them through both wages and benefits. Living wage is a complex issue with no singular answer. Rather, the focus should be on the drivers of our high cost of living.
We’d also like to extend our appreciation to the local business owners and those in the non-profit community who took the time to respond to Action Alerts, testified in hearings at the Capitol and attended our policy committee meetings. The voice of business was also strengthened and elevated due to the collaborative efforts of our Alliance and neighbor island Chamber partners.
A full legislative report will be provided in the next couple of weeks.
Laulima & mahalo,
President & CEO
Many hands working together in collaboration and striving for a common goal.
Advocating for Business
Chamber Priorities Pass Final Reading
Below were some of the other bills that the Business Advocacy team were tracking that were passed by the State Legislature this session and now head to the Governor for his signature:
SB522 – Creates the plastic source reduction working group to make recommendations to reuse, reduce, recycle and recover plastic waste.
HB340 – Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation for the Small Business Innovation Research Program, Manufacturing Assistance Program and Excelerator Program.
SB390 – Requires the Department of Agriculture to create a dollar-for-dollar matching program for beneficiaries of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to purchase Hawaii-grown produce.
Supporting our Military
May Is Military Appreciation Month
May marks Military Appreciation Month to honor, remember, recognize and appreciate the men and women in uniform who have served and those currently serving our nation. The Chamber, through its Military Affairs Council (MAC), works with the military, government, community organizations and businesses to coordinate an entire month of events and offers that convey Hawaii’s appreciation for our military members and their families.
Building our Membership
Celebrate Educators During Teacher Appreciation Week
Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up on May 6-10. If your business is providing Teacher Appreciation Week discounts or other offers, please contact Ahlinn Yamane at email@example.com.