Hawaii Legislature begins 4-month session

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii state lawmakers are returning to the Capitol for the start of a 4-month legislative session where the budget and preschool education are expected to be top priorities.

House and Senate lawmakers on Wednesday plan to start considering bills on a wide range of issues - everything from green energy to government transparency. Lawmakers have filed paperwork on bills to legalize casual marijuana use and make kindergarten mandatory.

And the process is taking place against the backdrop of midterm elections, which find several state lawmakers in key races and some voters angry over last year's special session to pass gay marriage.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim says she expects lawmakers to consider bills on genetically-modified foods, geothermal and solar energy and defending Hawaii's fragile environment from invasive species.

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