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Saiki: Statewide ‘Safe Travels’ bills shelved

House Speaker Scott Saiki said Wednesday that both House and Senate versions of the ‘Safe Travels’ bill were deferred.

The House version of the bill, intended to create a statewide Safe Travels policy and reverse Gov. David Ige’s county-by-county approach to COVID-19 testing of travelers, was shelved March 22 by the Senate Health Committee.

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The Senate version, which was moving through the House, was deferred Wednesday by the House Finance Committee.

The bill, while popular with those who wanted a consistent statewide policy, was less popular with the counties’ mayors.

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While acknowledging the different policies in each county “was and continues to cause confusion for residents and visitors traveling to Hawaii and between our islands,” Saiki said he instructed Rep. Sylvia Luke, the House Finance chairwoman, to shelve the measure because of “changing circumstances.”

Two of those circumstances, Saiki said, are improved screening, contract tracing and testing, and the increasing availability of vaccinations for those who want them.

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