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Legislative preview: Elections, PLDC, pot

February 11, 2013
By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER , The Associated Press

HONOLULU - Hawaii lawmakers will make decisions on several key bills this week as deadlines for bills looms ahead.

All bills referred to more than one committee have to be referred to their final committee by the end of the week or they're off the table.

House committees on water and land and finance plan today to decide on six bills related to the Public Land Development Corp., including a bill to repeal the agency. The decisions will come two days after a Saurday hearing where lawmakers heard significant opposition to the agency created in 2011.

House judiciary committee Chair Karl Rhoads said the committee will decide Tuesday whether to advance a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use. He said he pushed decision-making back until Tuesday to give the committee more time to add amendments to the proposed bill.

Lawmakers plan to consider a bill today that would require massage parlors, emergency rooms, large farms and certain drinking establishments to post signs with information about resources for human trafficking victims.

Also today, the Senate committee on health will decide whether to push forward with several bills aimed at limiting youth smoking.

The same committee will decide Tuesday whether to move forward with a bill adding a fee to sugary drinks.

Lawmakers on the Senate committee on the environment will make decisions Tuesday about whether to move forward with a bill decreasing renewable energy tax credits.

The House committee advanced a bill last week that gradually decreases the tax credits to 15 percent by 2018.

Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate committee on the environment, says he expects to pass a similar proposal.

Also on Tuesday, senators plan to decide whether to advance a bill that would increase the conveyance tax for high-end property sales to fund environmental preservation.

On Friday, lawmakers in the Senate judiciary committee will make decisions about proposed reforms to the election commission.

Several proposals reforming the election commission cropped up after the 2012 elections, when polling places opened late and some ran out of ballots.



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