2017 Hawai’i State Legislature Round Up


Well, it’s May 5th, which means the Hawai’i State Legislature is in recess until January 2018 (they can and may be called into special session later this year, most likely to pass a funding bill for Honolulu Rail).

Unfortunately the list of good environmental bills that made it into law is short – from pesticides to clean energy, some of our state legislators took a pass on making our environmental future brighter. Our friends who work on affordable housing and other important social issues also saw very little helpful legislation passed.

But on the bright side – we were successful at beating back many bad bills. House Bill 1536 was killed and House Bill 1469 was recommitted to next year’s session, in no small part because of Sierra Club of Hawai’i’s Executive Director Marti Townsend.

There was also some great creative activism around HB1580, a cutting edge bill that set a goal of 100% clean ground transportation by 2045 – #Bananasfor1580. Although HB1580 was eventually killed, it spurred many new and young activists to participate, and we’re excited to see what’s in store for 2018! Learn more about #Bananasfor1580.

Sierra Club Maui Group wants to extend a huge mahalo to all Sierra Club of Hawai’i Chapter Staff and allies in Honolulu who worked tirelessly to pass the good bills and beat back the bad ones!

If you want to get involved more with helping pass good bills in the next legislative session, sign up for Sierra Club of Hawai’i’s Capitol Watch Action Network.

HB 500 HD1 cuts DLNR funding – testify now to restore it

Dirty Dozen 2015

Imagine what would happen to Hawaii’s finite natural and cultural resources if DLNR’s funding is cut….
Well – that has happened.
While all eyes were on the Senate,
The House passed the budget HB 500 HD1
WITHOUT funding for DLNR 2016 programs.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee (WAM) will hold a hearing on HB 500 HD1 on Wed. April 1.

Hearing notice:


Ask Senators to restore and increase funding to DLNR programs which are essential for protecting Hawaii’s natural resources, land, water and cultural sites that are held in trust for present and future generations.

Submit testimony:


If this is your first time submitting testimony, you need to register.  Use this link:     http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/login.aspx

Click on Register in the top right hand corner of the page, and follow instructions.

Ways and Means Committee members:   WAM 

Find your Senator:    Senators

Contact all Senators:   sens@hawaii.capitol.gov 

 Share on social media above 

For your late-night reading pleasure, the State budget HB 500 HD1

Cut from DLNR’s budget:

Natural Area Reserve Fund (NAR) – Governor’s FY2016 request of $13m spending authority;
House reduced to $0 (FY2015 spending authority for NAR Fund had been $8m)

Legacy Land Conservation Fund – Governor’s FY2016 request of $6.8m spending authority;
House reduced to $0 (FY2015 spending authority had been $5.1m)

Forest Stewardship Fund – Governor’s FY2016 request of $6.3m spending authority;
House reduced to $5m (same level as the FY2015)

Hawai?i Invasive Species Council programs – Governor’s FY2016 request of $4m general funds;
House reduced to $0 (FY2015 Legislature provided $5.75m to HISC programs)

Native Resources & Fire Protection – Governor’s request for $750,000 in general funds for wildfire and emergency response equipment was cut from the budget.

DOCARE (Department of Conservation and Resource Enforcement– NO funding was included in the House budget for:

  • Community Fisheries Enforcement Unitson Kaua`i, O`ahu,
  • Makai Watch Coordinator on Maui, Hawai`i island

Division of Aquatic Resources – NO funding was included in the House budget for:

  • Humpback Whale Sanctuary State Co-Manager
  •  Community-based Subsistence Fisheries Area Planner and Marine Regulation and Policy Specialist to support community-based marine management like H?`ena, Pupukea, Mo`omomi, Ka`upulehu, etc.

The NAR Fund and Forest Stewardship Fund use conveyance tax revenue to manage forest and watershed resources through the State Natural Area Reserves (mostly ceded lands), Forest Reserves, Watershed Partnerships, Natural Area and Forest Stewardship partnerships with private landowners, and the Hawai`i Youth Conservation Corps.

The Legacy Land Fund provides State-matching funds to purchase and protect cultural, natural, agricultural, historical, and recreational resource lands. 

The Hawai’i Invasive Species Council provides funding for critical invasive species prevention, eradication, control, research, and education programs.