The Hawaiʻi State Legislature’s Environmental Legislative Caucus this week introduced a package of policy proposals to address the state’s pressing environmental issues.
The caucus is a coalition of legislators that works in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies on topics including climate change, energy and conservation.
In addition to championing the bills that were selected for this year’s package, the caucus will be working together to support additional measures as the legislative session progresses.
This year’s package includes bills to:
- Establish green fees
- Create a tax credit for cesspool conversion and to require that buyers of properties with cesspools are informed about state laws regarding cesspool conversion
- Implement a soil health initiative to support regenerative agriculture
- Fund an assessment of social vulnerability to climate change to address equity concerns
- Add a Green Amendment to the constitution to give Hawaiʻi’s residents the right to a healthy environment
This package is a collaborative effort of the caucus’ members and complements the bill packages of other caucuses and committee chairs.
1. Green Fees (HB442 / SB636)
Establishes a visitor impact fee to collect set fees from nonresidents to fund the protection and management of Hawaiʻi’s natural resources.
2. Social Vulnerability to Climate Change Assessment (HB441 / SB657)
Funds an assessment of social vulnerability to climate change to better understand vulnerable populations to ensure that equity considerations are integrated into policy.
3. Cesspool Disclosure and Tax Credit (HB440 / SB947)
Hawaiʻi has more than 80,000 cesspools that release more than 50 million gallons of raw sewage into the state’s groundwater and surface waters every day. This measure would re-establish the Cesspool Conversion Tax Credit and require that home transactions must disclose if the property has a cesspool to convert and the date by which it is mandated to be converted so that buyers are informed about the existence of a cesspool and state laws pertaining to it. Hawaiʻi’s cesspools harm reefs and pollute ocean and freshwater resources.
4. Healthy Soils (HB443 / SB660)
Establishes a Healthy Soils Program to promote agricultural practices that improve soil health, sequester more carbon, increase water infiltration and improve water and pollinator habitats while harvesting better profits and often better yields.
5. Green Amendment (HB444 / SB635)
Proposes a constitutional amendment that ensures and protects the fundamental right of the people, including future generations, to clean water and air, a healthful environment and climate, healthy native ecosystems and beaches.
For more information regarding the membership of the Environmental Legislative Caucus, please contact:
- Rep. Nicole E. Lowen, Co-Chair Replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov
- Sen. Mike Gabbard, Co-Chair Sengabbard@capitol.hawaii.gov
To follow these bills during the 2023 Legislative Session, see here.