Maui’s two new freshmen lawmakers, Representatives Tina M.L. Wildberger (Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena) and Troy N. Hashimoto (Kahakuloa, Waihe‘e, Waiehu, Pu‘uohala, Wailuku, Waikapū), introduced their first slate of bills to address issues of top concern to Maui residents. The measures include addressing the minimum wage, sea level rise, invasive species, school capacity and repair, and illegal vacation rentals.
Representative Tina Wildberger
“As both a business owner and an environmentalist, my bill package is comprehensive to address serious issues we face in all of our counties,” said Rep. Wildberger. “A living wage, sea level rise adaptation, remote testimony, statewide polystyrene ban, to name a few; all of these issues help steer the conversation about our collective future.”
Rep. Wildberger’s bill highlights:
- HB1197: Increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 with a robust tip credit for high-tip-earning staff, and indexes future annual increases to Hawaiʻi’s median hourly wage;
- HB635: Allows residents to testify on bills remotely from neighbor islands;
- HB 850: Statewide polystyrene ban, based on the Maui County ordinance;
- HB1577: Adds more detector dogs to freight transfer points to address invasive species and illegal fireworks;
- HB1578: Sea Level Rise: Requires mandatory disclosure upon sale, and adopts Maui County’s setback rules statewide;
- HB1581: Legalizes adult use of cannabis and distributes revenue to the counties and small local farms.
Representative Troy Hashimoto
“Overcrowding in central Maui’s intermediate schools is a big concern,” said Rep. Hashimoto. “With HB1232, the goal is to renovate existing buildings at Iao Intermediate School to increase the school’s capacity.” Rep. Hashimoto also introduced HB400 to address short-term vacation rentals, giving regulation power to the counties. “This bill would give us an avenue to finally regulate illegal vacation rentals since the state has not been able to agree on a method of regulation,” said Rep. Hashimoto. “Allowing each county to decide how best to regulate the platforms is a proven effective method in solving illegal short-term rental situations in other parts of the country.”
Rep. Hashimoto’s bill highlights:
- HB1232: Provides capital improvement funding to expand the capacity of Iao Intermediate School, plan and design new lockers at H.P. Baldwin High School, and renovate Wailuku Public Library;
- HB400: Allows counties to regulate the hosting platforms used for short-term vacation rentals;
- HB398: Requests the University of Hawaiʻi System to create additional distance-learning classes in teaching for students who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in education;
- HB1456: Funds positions for the Maui Food Innovation Center at the University Hawaiʻi Maui College. Hashimoto notes that in previous sessions the Legislature funded renovations UHMC’s multipurpose room to create a state-of-the-art facility to foster agribusiness and food entrepreneurs, and while renovations will be completed in 2019, the program currently does not have full-time staff members to run the center.
The full package of bills introduced by Reps. Wildberger and Hashimoto are available on the Legislature’s website: