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Hawaii governor signs domestic workers bill

  • STAR-ADVERTISERGov. Neil Abercrombie signs two measures on donor disclosure and reporting requirements.
    Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs two measures on donor disclosure and reporting requirements.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a domestic workers bill of rights Monday, making Hawaii the second U.S. state to give nannies, housekeepers and others protections on wages and other labor issues.

Abercrombie signed the bill at an afternoon ceremony at the Hawaii Capitol. The legislation was part of a group of bills signed together that address issues including human trafficking, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and breastfeeding.

The domestic workers bill makes it illegal to discriminate against workers based on several factors, including race, gender and sexual orientation. It covers cooks, waiters, butlers and others, including some baby sitters. The protections take effect immediately.

The bill had little opposition in the heavily Democratic chambers.

The National Domestic Workers Alliance praised Hawaii for passing the law and is pushing for similar legislation in other states. New York already has passed a similar law, and bills are being considered in California and Illinois.

Abercrombie also signed bills making soliciting a minor for prostitution a state crime and increasing the statute of limitations on prosecuting cases of coercion into prostitution. Also becoming law in Hawaii is a bill allowing health professionals to prescribe medication to partners of people with sexually transmitted diseases without separate tests or exams for the partners.

Other bills signed by Abercrombie on Monday include:

— Prohibiting family courts from awarding custody or visitation to parents who have been convicted of rape or sexual assault that resulted in the child’s conception.

— Establishing a young adult voluntary foster care program for youth up to age 21. The bill takes effect next year.

— Requiring certain employers to offer reasonable time and privacy for breastfeeding employees to pump breast milk.

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