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House panel rejects gambling study

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A Hawaii House committee has shot down a resolution asking the state to study the potential social and economic effects of gambling in Hawaii.

Rep. Clift Tsuji (D, Hilo-Wai­akea-Keau­kaha) says the Economic Development Committee on Friday rejected the proposal because the study would be too expensive.

Hawaii is the only U.S. state besides Utah where gambling is illegal.

Proponents say gambling could stimulate Hawaii’s tourism industry. Opponents say they are worried that legalizing gambling would lead to increased crime and other negative societal impacts.

Past attempts at legalization have failed.

The issue is one of several resolutions that House lawmakers were discussing. Resolutions are official statements that do not have the force of law.

The committee moved forward a resolution to use federal funding to research the feasibility of "creating a world-class commercial space launch and control facility in Hawaii." Rep. Angus McKelvey introduced the resolution, which claimed Hawaii’s location and telecommunications infrastructure make it ideal for a space launch facility. The state already invests in aerospace research.

Also on Friday the Senate Education Committee advanced a resolution asking the Board of Education to develop a sexuality health education program. The Hawaii Youth Services Network, which supports the resolution, says Hawaii has the 12th-highest rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S.

Two people submitted testimony opposing the resolution, saying that sexuality education is the job of parents, not teachers.

Sen. Jill Tokuda (D, Kailua-Kaneohe) says the Education Committee also moved forward a resolution to expand the Jump Start program to Maui and Hawaii.

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