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Lawmakers to take up prostitution penalties, shoreline retreat

By Cathy Bussewitz

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:03 p.m. HST, Mar 23, 2014



Hawaii lawmakers will be tackling everything from prostitution to school lunches this week in hearings on bills and resolutions. They are up against a Tuesday deadline to make decisions on concurrent resolutions, which are used to send official state messages that reflect what's on the hearts and minds of lawmakers. As a result, there will be a flurry of hearings on everything from honoring veterans to tackling the issue of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Here's a sampling of some of the issues on tap this week:

>> Prostitution penalties: The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to remove the legal protection that allows undercover police officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations in the version of House Bill 1926 it's taking up Friday. Also at issue in the bill's negotiation is whether people who solicit minors for sex will be added to the sex-offender registry.

>> Pot school: Lawmakers will get an earful about the health effects of marijuana at a hearing Tuesday. They will hear an update on how Colorado and Washington have implemented the legalization of recreational marijuana. The hearing will be led by Project SAM, short for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group opposed to the legalization of marijuana that was founded by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy.

>> Shoreline retreat: The ocean has a way of chipping away at waterfront homes. But when seawalls are built to protect buildings, the nearby beaches may disappear. That dynamic will be explored in a Senate hearing on a resolution Monday when lawmakers will consider creating a multi-island task force to investigate and recommend solutions.

>> Farm fresh schools: The Senate Agriculture and Education committees will debate a resolution Monday urging agencies to develop a farm-to-school program to get healthier lunches into public schools.

>> University regents: Four nominees for the University of Hawaii board of regents will be up for consideration and confirmation with the Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday. Look for Stanford Yuen, Jeffrey Portnoy, Lee Putnam and Michelle Tagorda to be shaping policy at the university in years ahead, pending their making it through the gantlet.

___

Associated Press writer Sam Eifling contributed to this report.






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