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Mid-March update on Faith Action's legislative priorities

It is just past the halfway point of the 2021 legislative session. Bills that were introduced in the House (HB’s) that are still alive are now in the Senate, and bills introduced in the Senate (SB’s) that are still alive are now in the House.


Only about one-fourth of the 2,820 bills that were introduced in the House and Senate are still alive. Based on past experience, only about half of the bills that are still alive will be passed by the Legislature, and the rest will die. Unfortunately, only a few of Faith Action’s legislative priorities are still alive.


Here is an update:


1. REITs Tax: HB 283 and SB 785 apply Hawaii’s corporate tax to REITs. HB 283 deposits the tax revenue to the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund. SB 785 deposits the tax revenue to the general fund. Both bills have died.

Transparency: HB 286 and SB 786 mandate the Hawaii Department of Taxation to require REITs to report their income. SB 786 has died. HB 286 is still alive, but it has been amended to allow, rather than mandate, the Department of Taxation to require REITs to report their income.


2. Living Wage: No bill was introduced raising the minimum wage to Hawaii’s living wage of $17/hr., although some bills increase the minimum wage, but not to $17/hr.


3. Environment: HB 134 and SB 311 (Carbon Cashback) set a fee on fossil fuels, with the revenue generated by the fee returned to the residents of Hawaii in equal shares. Both bills have died.


4. Affordable Housing: HB 607 and SB 1 establish the ALOHA Homes program to provide low-cost, high density leasehold homes for sale to Hawaii residents on state-owned lands within one mile of any public transit station. HB 607 has died, but SB 1 is still alive.

SB 733 implements certain requirements of the ALOHA Homes program by designating

State-owned lands within one mile of any rail station for the development of housing priced at below market rates for owner-occupants who own no other real property. This bill has died.

SB 40 implements certain requirements of the ALOHA Homes program by requiring

housing developed by the Hawaii Housing and Development Corporation to be occupied by the owners who own no other real property. This bill is still alive.

Stadium Affordable Housing: SB 737 requires at least 100,000 housing units to be built on the Aloha Stadium site, as 40% of the site is not needed for the new stadium or affiliated parking. This bill has died.

Empty Homes Fee: HB440 assesses a conveyance tax surcharge on properties that are vacant for more than half of a calendar year. This bill has died.

Increasing Housing Density on Urbanized Land: SB 1278 allows the counties to permit 4-plexes to be built on land currently zoned for single-family homes. This bill has died.

Bottom-Up Planning: SB 779 incentivizes counties to meet specified numerical objectives for authorizing the construction of new housing units by penalizing them if those that do not meet their objectives. This bill has died.

SB 33 requires each county to create a housing supply plan. This bill has died.


5. Long-Term Care: SB 838 and SB 1142 are both bills that give greater flexibility to the Executive Office on Aging as they implement the Kupuna Caregivers Act. A family member would need to work only 20 hours per week, rather than 30, to be eligible for help in caregiving. Both bills are still alive.

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