As we near the end of the Hawaii State Legislature’s 2017 session we wanted to give you an update on the issues we’ve been emailing you about all session.
- CPR in Schools legislation
After receiving a hearing and passing unopposed in the Senate Education Committee, SB 193 failed to be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. We believe CPR training is too important to give up on and we plan to continue to pursue adding CPR training to high school health class by working with our state Board of Education.
- Electronic smoking device (ESD) tax and licensing
This piece of legislation passed out of the Senate, and was unopposed in House Health, and Consumer Protection and Commerce committee hearings, but failed to be heard by the House Finance Committee, its final committee assignment. Similar legislation in the House passed out of the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee, but failed to receive a hearing in the House Finance Committee. ESDs are currently the only tobacco product that is not taxed in Hawaii, nor are wholesalers or retailers required to acquire a permit or license to sell them (as all other tobacco products are). That makes it difficult for the State Department of Health to educate those sellers about the State’s law restricting the sale of ESD products to purchasers under age 21, and ensure compliance with that law.
- Sugary drink fee
Bills proposing to establish a fee on beverages containing added sugar failed to receive hearings in either the House or Senate. Sugary drinks continue to be the leading source of sugar consumed by children, and can lead to a myriad of diseases including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and metabolic syndromes. Sugary drink taxes passed in other cities have been shown to reduce consumption of those drinks, while increasing water consumption.
- Stroke awareness communications plan implementation funding
SB 132, requested funding for the State Department of Health to assist in implementing a stroke awareness plan. After passing unopposed through the Senate Health Committee, the bill failed to be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee due to limited funds availability. The AHA and its partners will continue to pursue private implementation funding for the plan. The plan is designed to speed public response to stroke, increase the use of EMS for transport of stroke patients, and improve stroke patient outcomes.
As you can see we had a difficult legislative session but we are not giving up on these important issues and will continue to work on them. Thank you for your support during the session!