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Governor signs bill to strengthen penalties for assaulting firefighters

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed bills into law measures that strengthen penalties for assaulting firefighters and support the spread of fire-safe cigarettes.

The Democratic governor signed the measures this week before a Tuesday deadline to decide on pending bills.

Under the new laws, attacking a firefighter or water safety officer is a crime of assault in the second degree. The previous offense for assaulting firefighters and water safety officers was a misdemeanor.

The other measure deals with fire-safe cigarettes, which are rolled with low-ignition paper that goes out on its own if left untended.

The legislation establishes a fund to be used by the State Fire Council to pay for administrative staff jobs responsible for receiving certifications of 600 brands and styles of cigarettes and verifying tax stamp compliance.

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