Ige signs women’s caucus bills and other measures

  • IGE

Gov. David Ige on Thursday signed a slew of bills into law, including legislation from the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus.

“The Women’s Legislative Caucus over the last several years has been one of the most powerful and successful advocacy groups here,” Ige said at the bill signing. “We do know that they advocate for a lot of the values that we have in our community, and that has made them so successful.”

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Thursday morning, Ige signed three measures into law:

— Senate Bill 834, which makes the importation, sale or possession of childlike sex dolls a criminal offense;

— House Bill 887, which specifies, among other provisions, that sex trafficking may be prosecuted at any time and includes advancing or profiting from prostitution by certain means, including through coercion; and

— Senate Bill 828, which removes a six-month residency requirement for those applying for a divorce.

“These measures are important to prevent potential abuses, to assist victims with transition from a hostile situation, and to increase penalties for those who benefit from exploiting others,” Ige said. “These bills help to ensure the safety and well-being of our friends, neighbors and families who are in vulnerable situations. The exploitation of another person is totally unacceptable in our community, and increasing the penalties for such egregious action sends the signal that we will not tolerate it here in our community.”

“We appreciate the fact that we can come together and put together a package that not only is endorsed by our women colleagues but by our male colleagues as well, because we need everybody in the community to understand that actions against women, girls, children, is just not acceptable in our state,” said state Sen. Rosalyn Baker, a co-convener of the Women’s Legislative Caucus. “And governor, by your having us here … it really emphasizes how important these measures are to making sure that women and girls are safe in our community.”

Later Thursday, Ige signed three other measures that support Hawaii’s transition to clean ground transportation.

House Bill 424 requires state agencies, when renting a vehicle on behalf of a state employee conducting official government business, to adopt a preference for renting electric vehicle or hybrid vehicle if suitable for the travel requirements and available.

House Bill 552 establishes a goal for state agencies to transition 100% of light-duty motor vehicles in their fleets to zero-emissions vehicles by Dec. 31, 2035.

Meanwhile, House Bill 1142 allocates funds from the state’s barrel tax to fund the rebate program for the installation of electric vehicle charging systems.

According to the state, the rebate program was created by the Legislature in 2019 and has incentivized the installation of more publicly accessible EV chargers in the state.

“The lack of an adequate network of places to charge an EV remains a barrier to more widespread adoption of EVs in the state,” Kona state Rep. Nicole Lowen, chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, said in a news release from the House of Representatives. “By providing ongoing and substantial funding to incentivize the build out of EV charging infrastructure, we are making EVs a viable option for more people — especially for renters, condo-dwellers, and lower- and middle-income families.

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“The transition to clean transportation has multiple benefits for the people of Hawaii. It reduces our contribution to emissions that cause climate change, reduces local pollution, saves taxpayer dollars, and reduces reliance on imported fuels, which leaves more dollars circulating in our local economy.”

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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