Legislatively Speaking

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It’s the month of February and we are one month into the 2017 legislative session. The Hawaii State Capitol is buzzing with constituents and advocacy groups going to hearings to testify. We are discussing new ideas, fixing regulations that cause problems and trying to address the aging of our infrastructure.

I would like to bring one bill to your attention. HB 1244 will require all cesspools within the state to be upgraded or converted to septic or aerobic treatment unit systems or connected to a sewer system, by the year 2050. In the State of Hawaii there are roughly 90,000 cesspools. Nearly 50,000 are located on Hawaii Island.

The Hawaii State Department of Health is requesting the mandate to upgrade cesspools, as they can contaminate groundwater, drinking water sources, streams and oceans.

Legislators recognize the cost can be a burden, and HB 1244 includes a grant program to help with the cost of upgrades and a tax credit that can be issued to those that meet the qualifications. At the time of writing this column, the House Health committee and the House Energy and Environmental protection committee have passed this bill onto the House Finance committee to address the financial impact it will have on our economy.

I understand the importance of protecting our water and agree we need to help those who are affected by this mandate. I encourage each and every one of you to take part in the legislative process. To view the numerous of bills that were introduced in the House of Representatives and the Hawaii Senate, go to www.capitol.hawaii.gov. From the Hawaii State Capitol website you are able to track legislation and submit testimony in support or not in support of bills.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at 586-8510. My staff is here to help you. You may also email me at repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov.

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