The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus released a package of a few dozen bills on Thursday, Jan. 28. There are 37 bills in their package as of press time–nine of which carried over from the previous session. The bills represent the priorities of the caucus, which is made up of female members of the state House, Senate and local county councils.
“Women’s issues have historically taken a backseat to other legislative priorities even though women in Hawai`i make up nearly half the population,” said Senator Roz Baker, D–South and West Maui, in a Jan. 28 press release from the legislative. “That’s why there has always been a critical need for such a focus–especially in the areas of healthcare and violence against women, where government has been so slow in addressing their particular concerns.”
The bills cover a variety of topics, including crime, access to healthcare and family leave. Here are a few of them to watch over the legislative session:
- HB 449: “Requires each county police department to post its policies relating to domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct on its official website.”
- HB 450: “Amends the composition of the county police commissions to require that three commissioners on each police commission have backgrounds, including equality for women, civil rights, and law enforcement, for the benefit of the public.”
- HB 454: “Amends income tax credit for low-income household renters to adjust for inflation. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015.”
- HB 1895: “Requires insurers to cover a three-month period for the first dispensing of prescription contraceptive supplies to an insured. Requires insurers to cover a twelve-month period for the subsequent dispensing of the same contraceptive supply to the insured.”
- HB 1899: “Establishes licensure requirements for the practice of midwifery. Requires the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to adopt rules regulating the practice of midwifery.”
- HB 1902: “Makes Sex Trafficking a class A felony and a strict liability offense if a minor is the victim of sex trafficking. Provides that the offense of prostitution for a person younger than eighteen years of age is a violation. Expands the Department of the Attorney General’s Statewide Witness Program to include sex trafficking; provides victims with access to criminal injury compensation; and amends laws relating to civil liability for cases of coercion into prostitution. Makes amendments to strengthen enforcement of laws and increase penalties against the sex trafficker.”
Click here to see all of the entire Women’s Legislative Caucus proposed bills.
Photo of Sen. Roz Baker courtesy Hawaii State Legislature