Update Our Ports or Miss the Boat
By Bob Stallman
President, American Farm Bureau
Someone once said that it’s not leaving port, but coming in, that determines the success of a voyage. While this has some truth to it, the port that one departs from is just as important to a successful endeavor.
It may surprise many that if the planned expansion of the Panama Canal was completed tomorrow, the United States, one of the world’s largest trading powers, would only have six ports deep enough to handle the new larger ships that will pass. Yet, we are competing with all other parts of the world that are updating their ports. Since agriculture goods play a significant role in U.S. trade, modernizing our ports is extremely important for farmers and ranchers to be able to continue to thrive in the world market.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Even more surprising than the U.S. only having six large ports is the fact that all these ports are i
Read the complete article Ag Agenda – The Voice of Agriculture – American Farm Bureau.
Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Bill is Back
Please submit testimony this bill will affect every business in Hawaii!
The Senate Judicary and Labor Committee has taken a bill from last session as a vehicle to put the mandatory sick leave language back on the table (earlier versions of this session’s house and senate bills died).
A hearing on HB 341 HD4 Proposed SD1 is scheduled for this Wednesday, March 28, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 016 of the State Capitol. Because this bill has a single referral, it is the only senate committee that will hear the bill, thus the last hearing. If it passes, the measure will go for a full vote by the Senate.
Some of the requirements of the measure include:
1) Requires businesses of all sizes to provide employees (ie. FT, PT, temps) to provide a minimum amount of paid and safe leave to employees to be used to care for themselves or a family member who is ill or a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
2) Small employers with less than 100 employees who do not provide paid time off will need to give up to an unspecified number of days off.
3) For employers who already provide the benefit, it adds another layer of adminstrative burden.
4) Prohibits employers from requiring reasonable documentation unless the “sick and safe leave” exceeds three days of absence.
5) Penalizes employers for asking to verify whether someone is sick by requiring the employer to pay for the doctor’s note.
6) Paid sick leave accrues at the commencement of employment.
We know it’s a daunting task to monitor new bills…Every year the Hawaii Farm Bureau, its volunteers, staff and County & district leaders, volunteer thousands of hours to read, monitor and testify on behalf of agriculture in Hawaii….Just one of the huge services that the Farm Bureau provides to its members. Big Island Farm Bureau contributes approximately 300 hours each session to this process. This year it is my intention to expand our voice, and distribute the information further and in a manner we haven’t tried before; We’ve gone social!
Soon I will have a synopsis on the bills that will impact Hawaii Island and the State…Sorry the bills are still being read and classified; were talking on average we read and compile between 3000 & 4000 bills or pieces of legislation, some are 1 page and some feel like their 100 pages of regulations!
I need your input and stories on….Ag theft, regulations…Any thing that can help tell us how it affects the producer is important. We wont necessarily ask you to testify before the House or Senate but on some occasions it is needed….Help me, help you. Give us your thoughts, stories and whatever your experience is on the bills that impact you.
Until then I thought you might be interested in the changes that have happened at the State Website…All for the better! Yay to Hawaii for being progressive and helpful in this process..Kudos to all involved.
If you’re a beginner to the legislative process I recommend that you begin with this handy-dandy guide…Same place I did many years ago only we couldn’t read it online.
Yesterday was the bill cutoff deadline…Today is the first recess but that does not mean that work isn’t happening. Things are a feverish pace for the next several weeks as we strive to keep our heads above the tidal wave of bills….
Testimony. Beginning this session, Senate hearing notices will no longer list specific information on Senate testimony policies and procedures. This information has been replaced with a link that will take users that access hearing notices electronically to the Legislature’s website, where policies and procedures are outlined. This information is also displayed wherever hearing notices are posted within the Capitol building for users that view printed hearing notices. Copies of this informational sheet are also available in the Legislative Reference Bureau’s Public Access Room, located at the State Capitol building, to members of the public who are interested in learning how to submit testimony to Senate committees.
Testimony procedures have remained largely unchanged; members of the public can still submit testimony in the same ways – using the Legislature’s website, Senate committee e-mails or fax, or hand-delivering copies to the committee clerks.
The most notable change in Senate procedures is that the deadline to submit testimony to Senate committees has been changed from 4:00pm of the day prior to the hearing to 24 hours prior to the hearing. Testimony received after the 24 hour deadline may be considered late, and may not be posted online prior to the hearing or otherwise made available during the hearing.
Website. The Hawaii State Legislature‘s website is the key portal for those wishing to get informed and involved in the legislative process. The website was recently redesigned to enhance citizen engagement and includes:
- Contact information for current members of the Senate and House of Representatives
- Bill and resolution text and current status information
- List of upcoming committee hearings
- Daily downloads of bills, resolutions, committee reports, and other documents
- Online testimony submittal
- Downloadable bill status reports (i.e., all bills or resolutions introduced, bills signed into law, all committee reports filed, etc.)
You can also create an account with the Legislature and as a registered user, you can track your own personalized list of bills and get e-mail notifications for legislative committee hearings.Create an Account
I recommend creating an account and placing the bills in your own list. Although I will be posting our lists and RSS feeds soon. The system is user-friendly and easy to navigate. By placing bills in your own list you can generate a report that shows their status and all information in a brief format that is easy to read.
The Legislature will continue streaming selected committee hearings live over the Internet. A new feature this session will be live streams of the daily House and Senate floor sessions, beginning with today’s opening day sessions in both chambers. Links to the live and archived audio and video streams are accessible from the website.
Thank you for your interest and participation in the legislative process. If you have any questions and concerns, please contact the Senate Clerk’s office at (808) 586-6720 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org