Lawmakers take up smoking, cramming, other bills
HONOLULU — Committee hearings are slowing at the Hawaii state Legislature, so in the coming four-day week, the usual monsoon of public debate will taper to a fine mist.
That’s not to say the hearings won’t stir some curiosity. On Wednesday, a House committee will consider the merits of locking up “graffiti materials,” like spray paint, such that anyone wanting a can of Krylon will have to flag down a store employee to access it. And a bill in a hearing Thursday could grant breast-feeding mothers a year reprieve from jury duty.
Here are five other things to watch for this week at the statehouse.
PUBLIC HOUSING SMOKING: A bill that would ban smoking in and near public housing under penalty of eviction for a third offense (SB 651, SD1) goes before a joint committee Thursday. The debate pits public health advocates against the real-world prospect of evicting older or lower-income people from their homes for lighting up.
PHONE CRAMMING: Not sure where those charges on your phone bill came from, or why they’re so high? A proposed measure (SB 2748) would restrict telecom companies to billing for services that the customer specifically requests. It’ll also be in committee on Thursday.
TRANSPORTING INVASIVES: Nurseries or landscapers who move plants infested with little fire ants or coqui frogs, both pernicious invasive species, would face the prospect of paying for extermination costs if those pests infest other properties under a bill (SB 2347) up for consideration Thursday.
PRISON UPKEEP: The Department of Public Safety will offer an informational briefing Wednesday about maintaining, building and improving prisons and jails in Hawaii.
DRONE PRIVACY: A bill (SB 2608) aimed at ensuring that unmanned aircraft aren’t used to impinge on the privacy of Hawaii residents will be in committee on Tuesday. It will prohibit anyone but law enforcement to use drones to gather information and curtails law enforcement’s latitude to do so.