HRA Legislative Report March, 2014 by Max Cooper, HRA Legislative Liaison

The Hawaii State Legislature is at half-time. Bills not passed by the originating body are dead. The rest “cross” to the opposite body and are again referred to committees for hearings.

Your HRA has tracked over 34 bills of interest and submitted testimony to 23 committee hearings.

Bills for apprentice hunting, prohibition of digitally manufactured firearms, law enforcement officers carrying firearms while drinking, firearms registration amnesty, shall issue, and accepting military training for handgun permits are all dead and not likely to be resurrected.

Your HRA supports a number of good bills that remain alive. Please send testimony when you receive alerts on hearings. Attend in person when you can.

These firearms bills are alive:

Bill number Description and HRA position
SB2021 SD1 Snatching a policeman’s gun becomes a Class C felony. SUPPORT
HB2246 HD1 Provides a mechanism for court relief from mental health disability resulting from involuntary commitment and requires AG to keep records of involuntary commitments and report to NICS and county PD’s for permitting purposes. Privacy safeguards. SUPPORT with amendments.
SB2270 SD2 Allows neighbors to sue directly over zoning issues. Originally opposed because nuisance suits over firing ranges would be enabled, but Sen Hee’s JDL committee amended it to apply to vacation rentals only, so HRA has no opinion. WATCH
SB2420 SD1 Allows criminal background checks on state & co. employees in sensitive areas, including handling guns. SUPPORT
SB2938 SD2 Online firearms registration system to be established. Sen Espero’s Public Safety Committee amended this bill to require a system set up and managed by HI Attorney General. Passed Ways And Means Committee unanimously over PD’s objections. No AG testimony yet. STRONG SUPPORT
HB849 HD2 Re-do of the Governor’s emergency powers. Carryover bill from 2013. WATCH to make sure seizure of private firearms remains unlawful.
HB1975 HD1 Background checks on govt. employees handling firearms. SUPPORT. Same as SB2420.
HB1499 HD1 House JUD Chair Rhoads proposes a constitutional amendment that expending money to elect a public official is not protected by the 1st Amendment. Amended to eliminate “lobbying” as not protected. WATCH for language limiting grass roots lobbying.

These hunting bills are alive:

Bill number Description and HRA position
HB1902 HD2 Prohibits loss of public hunting area. Evans. FIN Chair Sylvia Luke recommended passage with amendments. Creates a hunters’ Advisory Commission to DLNR. DLNR shall make “reasonable efforts to prevent the loss….” Governor appoints 3 members. STRONG SUPPORT
HB1907 HD1 Disabled Veterans can get lifetime free hunting license, Evans, SUPPORT
SB3065 SD1 Exchange 9000 acres for recreational activity including hunting in Oahu central valley. Introduced by Sens. Dela Cruz, Chun Oakland, and 16 others. SUPPORT
SB3090 SD1 $3million for Hunter Ed and range development. Introduced by Sen. Kahele, and Solomon. SUPPORT