Legislative Update: May 14, 2020
May 14, 2020
The Legislature reconvened on Monday, May 11, and the “new normal” at the Capitol includes limited access only for legislators and staff, temperature checks, written committee testimony only, and social distancing throughout the Chambers. All Committee hearings and floor sessions will be live broadcast on Olelo Channel 49 (House) and Channel 55 (Senate).
The Legislature plans to meet for 9 – 10 days on a modified legislative timetable, zeroing in on a handful of bills to cover the anticipated budget shortfall and confirming a number of appointments to boards & commissions, before it recesses and reconvenes again in June. In his opening remarks, Speaker Scott Saiki outlined the intent of the reconvene: “This pandemic has shown us that government is key to reopening Hawaii and protecting our safety net. In the next two weeks, we will stabilize our state budget to avoid drastic cuts and disruption in basic government services.” As anticipated, the Senate temporarily deferred action on our funding bills until the Legislature reconvenes in June.
Please continue to contact your legislators in support of our funding bills.
We are strongly supporting the Legislature’s package of proposed measures to balance the budget, which includes transferring special funds, converting certain appropriations into bonds, allocating federal CARES Act funding to the counties, and seeking funding from the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility, as outlined in S.B. 75 (view HGEA testimony), S.B. 3139 (view HGEA testimony), and the Supplemental Budget Appropriation H.B. 2200.
Additionally, under AFSCME’s leadership, we continue to push for the U.S. Congress to pass a funding bill to assist state and local governments. In case you missed it, earlier this week Speaker Pelosi announced that the House will be voting on its $3 trillion HEROES Act package on Friday which includes approximately $500B for States and $375B for local governments.