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Hawaii News

Final committees must move bills by Friday

Hawaii lawmakers this week will take up clean transportation, disruptive public-records requests and involuntary psychiatric treatment.

They’re also planning to vote on a way to finance cooling schools and a proposal to collect tax revenue due from online vacation rentals.

All bills have to be passed out of their final committees by Friday. Here’s a sampling of what’s on the agenda:

>> Clean transportation: Hawaii has a goal to get all of its utility energy from renewable sources by 2045. Clean-energy advocates want to extend that to the transportation sector, encouraging all cars and trucks to use renewable fuel by 2045. A bill to set that goal is scheduled for a vote Monday in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

>> Questionable records requests: A measure that would have allowed a state agency to declare public-­record requesters “vexatious” if they file excessive requests in bad faith has been changed. It now would allow state agencies to seek relief in an appropriate court. The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday.

>> Involuntary treatment: Some health practitioners want a way to treat patients experiencing acute psychotic symptoms, even when patients don’t agree to treatment. Hawaii law currently requires a judicial hearing to provide psychiatric care over the objection of patients. A bill would set up a way for health practitioners to get an administrative order within the hospital to authorize treatment. That also is on the schedule of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor on Tuesday.

>> Hot schools: There’s still a long way to go to cool Hawaii’s schools. A bill would allow the Department of Education to borrow money from the state Green Infrastructure Loan Program to fund heat abatement and pay back the money with savings achieved through energy efficiency. The measure is scheduled for a vote Tuesday in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

>> Vacation rentals: Lawmakers are looking for ways to collect taxes from vacation rental operators that have not been paying taxes that hotels must pay. A House bill that would allow brokers such as Airbnb to collect taxes on behalf of operators is scheduled for a vote by two Senate committees Tuesday. The bill would also require the broker to ensure the rental complies with state and county land laws.

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