2017 Legislative Highlights


• Family leave expanded to include siblings (HB 213/Act 128)
Permits an employee to take four weeks of family leave in order to care for the employee’s sibling with a serious health condition.

• Funding provided for salary increases and Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) benefits for HGEA’s bargaining units (SB 914/Act 022; SB 915/Act 023; SB 918/Act 025; SB 926/Act 028)
Funded arbitration awards for employees in Bargaining Units 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 13 and funded ratified contract for employees in Bargaining Unit 6; funded EUTF costs for employees in Bargaining Unit 14.

• Severance benefit provided for employees affected by Maui Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC) privatization (SB 207/Act 018)
Funding for one-time severance benefits was secured for employees affected by the transition of operations of Maui region hospital facilities from HHSC to Maui Health Systems (MHS), a Kaiser Hospital.

• Exempt Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) employees converted to civil service (SB 935/Act 145)
Forty-nine employees of the Hawaii EUTF, a State agency administratively attached to the State of Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance, are no longer exempt from civil service and now have the same rights and benefits as civil service employees.

• Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) included in workers’ compensation (SB 984/Act 153)
The Workers’ Compensation Law amended the definition of “physician” to include an APRN as a primary care provider for injured workers in workers’ compensation cases.

• Special duty for deputy sheriffs (HB 1129/Act 075)
Requires the Department of Public Safety to develop policies and procedures to govern the processing of requests for special duty and to establish a compensation schedule for law enforcement services provided by deputy sheriffs performing special duty work.

• Public Utilities Commission: Structure and operations updated, management audit required (SB 382/Act 198)
Makes various updates to the structure and operations of the PUC in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness (such as updating the composition of the Commission, specifying training requirements, and clarifying commissioners’ ability to appoint and employ staff), and requires a management audit of the commission.


• Collective bargaining negotiations (SB 410)
HGEA supported this measure, which made necessary amendments to Chapter 89-9, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to clarify the scope of bargaining between public sector employees and the exclusive representative by requiring negotiations on the implementation of terms and conditions of employment, including making these violations grievable by employees who disagree with such working conditions. The amendments ensured fairness in the process of negotiations. This bill was vetoed by Governor Ige in July 2017.

• Liability protections for county lifeguards (SB 562)
This measure would have made the limited liability protections for county lifeguards permanent. The liability protection, which enables lifeguard services to be provided by the counties without the threat of costly litigation, expired on June 30, 2017. This bill was vetoed by Governor Ige in July 2017.