Hawaii Legislative Watch: Trivial pursuits

So far, we’ve looked at proposed bills in the 2013 Hawaii Legislative session that affect taxes, education, citizens’ rights, spirited debate, the law on our side, and Native Hawaiian issues. As I wrap up this year’s legislative watch, I thought I’d list some of the minor and even trivial bills that I’ve come across.

Here are 6 kinds of ideas proposed during the 2013 Legislative Session that I think should have a low priority with lawmakers. Isn’t there a way to separate the major bills from the trivial? If I’ve missed any un-important bills, please let me know!

1. “Official” passion: HB293 designates Flavobacterium a’ki’ a’.in’ viv.ens (akiainvivens) as the official State microbe. SB537 designates the Honor and Remember Flag as the State’s emblem of service and sacrifice. SB775 designates the Hawaiian hoary bat as the State land mammal.

2. “Awareness” and “Honor” mania: SB856 establishes January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day. HB1187 designates January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. HB109, HB223, SB409, and SB469 designate February as ’Olelo Hawaii Month. HB1431 designates August 4 as President Barack Obama Day. HB1427 designates September 7 as United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye Day. HB1089 designates October as Kalo Appreciation Month. HB1433. SB1359 designate October as Non-violence and Peace Awareness Month. HB1159 and SB317 re-designate the second Monday of October from Discover’s Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. HB530 designates November as Homeless Awareness Month.

3. “In Honor of” renaming frenzy: HB686 and HB1428 renames the HonoluluInternationalAirport to the Daniel K. Inouye – HonoluluInternationalAirport. HB751 and SB50 rename Saddle Road to the Daniel K. Inouye Legacy Highway. SB100 renames the East-WestCenter to the DanielK.InouyeEast-WestCenter. SB925 renames Mokulele Highway on Maui as the Daniel K. Inouye Veterans Highway.

4. Inscription changing and department renaming: HB1272 renames the Department of Health to the Department of Health and Environmental Services. SB233 changes the inscription on the Queen Lili’uokalani statue to the dates of her coronation and death. SB423 renames the AmericanCollege of Obstetric and Gynecology to the AmericanCollege of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

5. Inconsequential regulations: HB36 converts Hawaii to the metric system. HB1041 restricts the hours that you can use leaf blowers. HB1341 says it is “not unlawful” to own an antique slot machine, if it is not used for gambling. HB1464 establishes “less burdensome licensing requirements” for hair braiding. Are bad braids a fashion crime? SB482 regulates the amount of honey that is sold without a permit.

6. Civil nuisances: HB15 makes it a crime for personal injury or property damage caused by feeding feral birds. HB33 and SB808 prohibit public urination and defecation in downtown Honolulu. But it’s okay everywhere else? SB743 prohibits the keeping, breed, or harboring of feral pigs. Are domestic pigs allowed? SB279 makes it a crime not to maintain your property. How much influence should our neighbors have on the way our homes and lawns look? HB1121 and SB7 prohibit selling dogs and cats in public spaces, except for humane groups. Does this happen a lot? Why is it a crime?

Please think about these issues and how they may affect you and everyone around you. If you feel strongly about an issue, speak out! Talk to your family and friends, let your Hawaii legislators know about it, and write letters to the local newspapers.

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