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5 things in week ahead for Hawaii Legislature

February 2, 2014 - 10:46pm

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers this week will consider a bill that could make lying to police illegal, and another that would give adopted children full access to their birth records once they turn 18.

The highlights of the third full week of the legislative session, however, will focus on Hawaii’s position as a place susceptible to the ravages of heat, aging and climate change. Here are five bills to keep an eye on in the coming days:

• SCHOOLS A/C: A bill before the House Education Committee on Monday (HB2596) would allocate $25 million for air conditioning upgrades in Hawaii public schools. Last week, the Senate shelved a similar measure that within five years would have made air conditioning mandatory in schools.

• AGING: The state would spend $500,000 to conduct and evaluate a public education campaign about long-term care if a bill (SB2346) in the Senate becomes law. By 2035, the bill says, one-third of Hawaii’s population will be older than 60 and should plan ahead to pay for long-term care.

• HERITAGE ANIMALS: While the state fends off invasive species constantly, it does not, according to a House bill (HB2633), have a full understanding of its native livestock breeds. The bill would direct the University of Hawaii to identify heritage breed sheep and goats — with an eye toward breeding them, on the assumption that those animals are best-suited for long-term survival in Hawaii.

• CLIMATE CHANGE: Calling climate change “the paramount challenge of this century,” a Senate bill (SB2344) would create a wide-reaching interagency climate council to study climate change and come up with a plan to adapt to its effects.

• LIQUOR TAXES: Hawaii’s small breweries, brew pubs, wineries and distilleries would pay lower taxes on all their spirits under a Senate bill (SB3041) that goes before the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee on Wednesday. The measure is aimed at bolstering the state’s craft beverage industry.

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